RCG has busy year planned for 2016

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It’s going to be another busy year for Rockford Charitable Games as it anticipates 300-plus events for 2016. “We help over 100 charities yearly raise money,” said Jim Kasputis Sr., who runs tournaments and cash games six days a week in the Chicagoland area.

Recently, last-longer pools have become popular in tournaments with buy-ins of $20, $40, $60, $100 and $200. World Series of Poker satellites start in March with single and multiple tables offered at select events. For more information, go to rcgpoker.com.

WINDY CITY POKER CHAMPIONSHIP: On Feb. 5 at 8 p.m. ($100) and Feb. 6 at 2 p.m. ($70) and 7 p.m. ($44) at Shady Oaks Camp in Homer Glen, bring two canned goods and receive 5K additional chips as part of the Restock the Shelves initiative. Also on Feb. 6, WCPC will televise a $3K sit-n-go, a $1-$2-$5 cash game and a $580 main event. Contact kirk@windycitypokerchampionshi p.com for details. The 11th annual One Step Charity No-Limit Texas Hold’em Tournament is Feb. 18 at the Montgomery Club in Chicago with proceeds benefitting Children’s Oncology Services. For more info or to register for the event, go to onestepcamp.org/events/poker.

HOLLYWOOD AURORA: Jim Schmitt won the Tournament of Champions and $6,166 after going heads-up with Ryan Sully.Cash-game rake has been reduced to $5 plus $1 for the promotional fund. Also, Hollywood Poker Open Sunday qualifying tournaments will be running until May 1.Buy-in is $120 or play a minimum of 15 hours of live poker per week.The latest information can be found on Bravo Poker Live.

MAJESTIC STAR: Two longtime local pros locked horns in the monthly senior tournament. Bobby Brown came out on top vs. Floyd Roberts, winning $1,908. The 51 entries had notables Bob Chow and Pete Falco in the field.

AMERISTAR EAST CHICAGO: The Heartland Poker Tour returns April 21-May 2.

Minnesota

CANTERBURY PARK: Carl Carodenuto of Orono, Minn., bested a record field to win the Mid-States Poker Tour in December. The $116,103 prize was Carodenuto’s first MSPT cash and largest of his career. Carodenuto beat Kirby Rogers of Eden Prairie, Minn., heads-up for almost 45 minutes before Carodenuto’s A-K held against Rogers’ flush draw. The 470 entries made up the largest field in Minnesota history for a $1K or larger buy-in event. The live stream featured Allen “Chainsaw” Kessler and Matt Alexander as commentators.

Mark Hodge of Corcoran, Minn., won MSPT Player of the Year with 3,540 points. The race went down to the wire as second-place finisher Richard Alsup made the Canterbury Park final table, but the ninth-place finish wasn’t enough to overtake Hodge, who had eight MSPT cashes, three final tables and earnings of $62,492.

RUNNING ACES: Michael Mernin of Robbinsdale, Minn., won the Cold Hard Cash Main Event, a Running Aces signature series. The tournament ended with a three-way chop between Mernin, Will Sweetman and David Vogelgesang as Mernin agreed to take $20K for his sizable lead. The $280 event drew 543 entrants and generated a $119,610 prize pool. This event was live-streamed on twitch.tv and is available for replay on YouTube.

Running Aces also held a $5K-added freeroll the day after Christmas. Rich Cockrell, John Grawien, Tom Celski and Peter Creese chopped for $1,394 each. The event drew 285 entrants and generated a $14,055 prize pool.

Iowa

HORSESHOE COUNCIL BLUFFS: Jeffery Banghart won the $550 Holiday Poker Classic, which always draws a good crowd for the multiple events and the great cash games that surround them.

He took home $18,386 after beating runner-up Jose Mendoza ($11,363). Some well-known names were in the field, including fourth-place finisher Brandon Fish, who has two World Series of Poker Circuit rings and four WSOP cashes for nearly $225K. “Farmer” Phil Mader also was on the board with an 11th-place finish. He has nearly $300K in WSOP winnings.

The Horseshoe also has made a couple of changes to its regular tournament schedule. The first three Saturdays of each month will be a $150 Fat Stack (10K chips). On the fourth Saturday, the event becomes a $250 Fatter Stack with 15K chips.
MESKWAKI CASINO: Satellites begin this month for March’s $300K guarantee Mid-States Poker Tour.

Ohio-Western Pennsylvania

HOLLYWOOD TOLEDO: The Hollywood Poker Open regional is Feb. 25-March 6. The 28-event series has multiple satellites to the $1,125 main event, which has its Day 1s on March 4-5 and has a $150K guarantee. The winner also gets a seat to the HPO final in Las Vegas this summer. See the ad on Page 31 of the February issue.

RIVERS CASINO: The Three Rivers Challenge is Feb. 21, featuring 19 events and a $1K two-day main event, which has drawn 200-plus players. The main event is Feb. 27 at noon.

HORSESHOE CLEVELAND: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Harley-Davidson Championship has four starting days, each at 10:15 a.m. Feb. 19 is Day 1A, Day 1B is Feb. 20, Day 1C is Feb. 21 and Day 1D is Feb. 26. The event features a $300K guarantee with $100K guaranteed for first. Day 2 will be Feb. 27, followed by Day 3 on Feb. 28. In addition to the top three players from the Friday, Saturday and Sunday tournaments winning seats into the tournament, the poker room will put in the top 63 players with the most hours for the first two weeks of February. Each day has a 250-player cap, so make sure to register early for the huge event.

Wisconsin

HO-CHUNK GAMING WISCONSIN DELLS: On Dec. 6, the annual Holiday Celebrity Bounty event attracted 155 entries for a $37,200 prize pool and raised $1,550 for the local fire departments. John Brunner, who won a seat via 94.1 WJJO, finished 15th for $521. Doug Berry, Zach Tabak, Cole Tautges, Ryan Page and Robert Kalteux worked a five-way chop that saw them all take home $5,245.

HO-CHUNK GAMING: Wisconsin Dells and Nekoosa separated their shared bad-beat-jackpot to create their own jackpots, each taking the portion it had deposited into the joint fund.

HO-CHUNK GAMING NEKOOSA: The annual Polar Poker Blast, a $330 event with a $20 optional add-on and a required bounty of $20, runs March 5-6.

POTAWATOMI HOTEL & CASINO: The Heart of Canal Street event drew 142 entrants. An eight-way chop saw Steven Berensten, Michael Lewis, Andrew Bevernitz, Vicente Hinog, Jay Pink, Frank Cerminara, Michael Brennan and Andrija Solovjev each take home $4,820.

Meet Chris Lichman

Originally from Portage, Wis., where his parents and sister still are, dealer Chris Lichman lives in nearby Reedsburg with his fiancée and two children while working at Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells. He began there in 1997 and has been in the poker room since it opened in 2004.

How did you get involved working in the poker industry? When Ho-Chunk Gaming expanded table games to offer craps, poker and other various games, I jumped at the chance to be included in the room since one of our favorite family past times was to get everyone together on the holidays, sit around the kitchen table and play cards while catching up on each other’s lives. It was always enjoyable to sit with the adults and listen to all the stories.

What’s you favorite part about working in the poker industry? I enjoy getting what’s basically a total group of strangers and get them talking, telling stories, telling jokes, all while waiting for the possibility of pulling in that monster pot.

What’s your most memorable experience working in the poker industry? Dealing the final table of an MSPT event. The thrill of it being broadcast across the web along with the buzz from the players who made it to the final table was just an overwhelming experience that will not be forgotten any time soon. — Chad Holloway