Michelle Chin took down the World Series of Poker Circuit Main Event at the Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on April 20, besting a field of 235 players. She claimed not only the top prize of nearly $90K, but she made history by becoming the first female WSOPC main-event champion in the circuit’s 11-year history.
Chin’s journey began 12 years ago when she left Taiwan to come to the United States. She calls Wichita, Kan., home
and is a recreational cash player. She entered the tournament to “try something different” and said this was probably her 10th tournament she had played. Chin had lead when she and the other three remaining players returned for Day 3. Chin then eliminated each one over the next 45 minutes.
When Chin was asked how it felt to be the first female champion she said, “It means a lot to me. There aren’t too many women in the poker community. We like to see more and more women play because it is a fun game. No matter what sex you are, you should be able to enjoy it. It means a lot to me. I hope I encourage a lot of other girls to come out and play.”
This WSOPC event spanned 10 days and also awarded championship rings to a dozen players in total.
Faces are changing all over the region. A month removed from Jason Newman departing Horseshoe Cincinnati, John Constantino of the Hollywood Columbus and Ken Lambert of Hollywood Toledo have left.
Constantino has taken a position as a casino manager out of the state. He was well-respected in Columbus and did many good things for the region’s poker scene, including opening the gates to running it twice, and he did a great job building bigger games and growing the pot-limit Omaha business. During his tenure, Columbus has continued to grow its tournament success and host meaningful events.
Lambert left Toledo to become the director of operations for the Heartland Poker Tour, joining another former Ohio poker room manager, Jeremy Smith, who is tournament director of the series. Toledo was underperforming when Lambert arrived in Toledo. Under his leadership, Hollywood Toledo became a real player on the tournament scene, drawing players from Detroit, Cleveland and all over the region.
We’ll keep you up-to-date on the filling of those positions as information becomes available.
AMERISTAR EAST CHICAGO: Bob Chow won the monthly $150 noon seniors tournament.
MAJESTIC STAR: WPT DeepStacks will be in town July 25-Aug. 2. The $1K main event, which has a $100K prize pool, is July 31-Aug, 2.
Also, Indiana lawmakers have opened the door for riverboat casinos to relocate on land adjacent to their docks.
Majestic Star is planning a 36-month project, costing $95M-$135M next to its hotel, but Gov. Mike Pence still hadn’t signed the bill as of press time.
HORSESHOE HAMMOND: Woonsin Cho won the $210 WSOP Warm-Up opener, winning $22K by defeating nearly 700 players competing for a $122K prize pool.
WINDY CITY POKER CHAMPIONSHIP: Al Cluver beat David Wexler by two points to win the spring league’s points championship. The next 10-week league starts in September.
WCPC’s $550 main event is July 18, plus the $3K televised tournament is July 19 and limited to 20 players. A $1K freeroll is July 11, awarding two seats to the main event.
RUNNING ACES: Tom Marsland of Maple Grove, Minn., took down the inaugural Check Shove Poker Tour Main Event at Running Aces Park in Columbus, Minn., taking home $31,855. The event drew 118 entries despite being inadvertently scheduled on Easter weekend. The series offered three events and was generally well-received by players. The CSPT plans to announce more events this year.
Local poker pro Kou Vang won the Spring Poker Classic Main Event for $41,847. Vang won after only three hands heads-up against Vladimir Revniaga. This was Vang’s sixth cash and second victory this year in major tournament series. The $1,100 main event drew 94 entrants and offered a $125K prize pool.
Daniel Buckley of Eden Prairie, Minn., won the $500 deepstack, taking home $18K-plus. Brady Roth and James Adams won the $200 tag-team event for $2,876 each.
CANTERBURY PARK: “DQ” Dan Hendrickson of Faribault, Minn., scored his biggest cash by taking down the April Mid-States Poker Tour event in Shakopee, Minn. Hendrickson earned $106,182 of the $415,600 prize pool after outlasting 430 entrants.
It was nearly 3 a.m. before the final table concluded.
HO-CHUNK GAMING WISCONSIN DELLS: The PPC will host the Ho-Chunk Midwest Poker Classic from Aug. 4-9. Series will feature $350 buy-in, $50K guarantee main event. Mark “P0ker H0” Kroon will serve as featured pro.
“We are excited to bring the popular PPC Poker Tour to Ho-Chunk Gaming,” Ho-Chunk pit supervisor Samantha Thomas said. “We are expecting a huge turnout for the main event and look forward to a great series.”
HO-CHUNK GAMING NEKOOSA: In March, HCG-Nekoosa held its annual Poker Polar Blast, a tournament that attracted 61 players and two rebuys, which was an increase of 9 percent over last year. An additional $500 was put into the prize pool, which brought it to $20,660. Just 21 players made it to Day 2, of which eight were paid.
The final five chopped for $3K each, with $1K and $1,561 left on the table for the runner-up and winner, respectively. In the end, Shane Slover ($4,561) defeated Mark Soik ($4K) in heads-up play.
“It’s good to see that there is a gradual increase from year to year and we look forward to an even bigger turnout this fall for our annual Pulse Pounding Poker Tournament on Sept. 26-27,” poker room manager Adam Estes said.
POTAWATOMI CASINO: In April, local pro Jason Mirza won the MSPT Potawatomi main event, a tournament that set a state record by attracting 635 entries, the second largest event in MSPT history. Mirza earned $147,529.
Meet Samantha Thomas
Samantha Thomas has been a familiar face at Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells for the past 22 years. She’s had many different roles and while her official title is “pit supervisor,” she essentially is the poker room manager. Thomas, who has two children, Alyssa and Jonathan, was kind enough to tell us a little about herself.
How did you find yourself working in the poker industry? Ho-Chunk Gaming management wanted someone to directly oversee the poker room so they asked if I would be interested. I am always up for a new challenge so I said yes.
What makes your poker room different/special? Our staff takes the time to chat with our regulars and goes out of their way to make everyone feel welcome. The floor supervisors are always thinking of new, fun ideas to promote the tournaments. We had a great turnout for our Ugly Christmas Sweater Tournaments in December.
— Chad Holloway