Jewell shines at HPT in East Chicago

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Steve Jewell from Dyersville, Iowa, won the Heartland Poker Tour Main Event at Ameristar East Chicago, earning $212K after surviving 670 entries, a HPT record field for Chicagoland. Some notables in the event included World Series of Poker Main Event winners Greg Raymer and Joe Cada (28th), Vanessa Rousso, Bob Chow, Allen Kessler, Steve Foutty and Craig Casino, who made the final table.

Jewell became the first at East Chicago to capture multiple tournaments in a HPT event, winning $4K in an earlier tournament. Michael Sible won $8K in the $200 seniors event and Agissilaos Haitas won $5K in the $150 buy-in.
The Monster Stack opener blew away the $100K guarantee with $298K as Aaron Nickeas won $50K to top a record field of 1,170.

BELTERRA: The HPT will be in town March 10-21, opening with the Monster Stack with a $75K guarantee and three Day 1s. The $1,100 main event starts March 17 with three Day 1s.

“The last visit here was 2013,” HPT tournament director Jeremy Smith said. “This one is highly anticipated.”
Two senior tournaments are scheduled with the first March 13 ($200) and the second March 16 ($150). For more details, go to hptpoker.com.

HORSESHOE HAMMOND: Marlon Dee won the Chicago Poker Classic’s warm-up main event, earning $22K and a CPC main-event seat.

MAJESTIC STAR: The monthly seniors tournament had 47 entries with Carrie Lundy winning $1,748. Tournaments run on the last Sunday of the month starting at noon ($135).

TROPICANA EVANSVILLE: Adam Thomas won the inaugural Mid-States Poker Tour regional that drew 416 entries, defeating Eddie Shade heads-up for the title.The regional returns May 14-22 with a $350 buy-in and $50K guaranteed. The main tour returns Aug. 13-21 with a $250K guarantee.

WINDY CITY POKER CHAMPIONSHIP: Veteran horse racing handicapper David Gutfreund, who recently finished fifth in the three-day National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas, switched to his poker pro skills to win the televised main event at Shady Oaks Camp in Homer Glen. He pocketed $14K against a star-studded field that included Richard Roeper, runner-up Ben Ponzio and Jerry Gumila, who won a televised event in 2009. The prize pool was $23K and this show will air on Comcast Sports Net in early spring.

In 2014, Gutfreund won an HPT tournament at Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort in Michigan and is 12th on the HPT’s money list.

Western Pennsylvania/Ohio

RIVERS CASINO: The poker room has brought on pro Matt Glantz as ambassador.As producer and event manager of Poker Night in America, Glantz plans to bring the star-studded cast of the show here in April and again in the fall.

The poker room is on Twitter @RiversPokerPitt and expect a big series this month with the expanded Pittsburgh Poker Open.

HORSESHOE CLEVELAND: The popular Last Sunday of the Month $500 deepstack is March 27. The tournament features added seats throughout the month from each 7:15 p.m. tournament on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

Also, look for results for the Rock ‘N’ Roll Harley-Davidson championship in the April edition of Ante Up.

HOLLYWOOD TOLEDO: The Hollywood Poker Open qualifier wraps up in early March, so if you see this in time, be sure to enter the $150K guaranteed main event March 4. This is your chance to win a seat to the HPO Championship in Las Vegas this summer. Call the poker room for details.

Minnesota

CANTERBURY PARK: Kou Vang of St. Paul, Minn., came from behind to win the iNinja Poker Tour event at Canterbury Park in Minnesota that ran Jan. 7-10. Vang came to the final table sixth in chips and was the short stack when play reached five-handed. Once three-handed, Vang eliminated Rajaee “Robbie” Wazwaz with a set vs. two pair. Vang then made a deal with short-stacked Robert Van Syckle to end the tournament. Vang, an iNinja pro, took home the iNinja Ring and $28K. The event generated a $154,626 prize pool and drew 268 entrants.

“Soni” Penh Lo of Bloomington, Minn., earned $42,369 for winning the Great Minnesota Freeze Out. Several of the state’s top names made the final table, including Blake Bohn, Jonathan Hanner and Mark Hodge. The $1,100 event attracted 168 entrants and offered a $162,960 prize pool.

RUNNING ACES: Robert O’Connell of St. Louis Park, Minn., earned $76,387 after taking down the $500 Big Stack Avalanche. O’Connell held a large lead for much of the final table and took about 10 minutes of heads-up play to beat Robert Burzillo for the title. The event drew 175 entrants for a $76,387 prize pool.

GRAND CASINO MILLE LACS: The MSPT held a regional $350 event in Onamia, Minn., on Jan. 28-31. It drew 517 players across three Day 1s despite having room to seat just 120 people at a time as some flights had as many as 80 alternates. Michael Kane of Brandon, Minn., took home the title and $31,270.

Iowa

MESKWAKI CASINO: The MSPT has a $300K guarantee as satellites run throughout the month until the $1,100 main event’s starting flights March 18-19. Remaining players will return March 20. The final table will be on msptpoker.com starting around 7 p.m. Also, there’s a regular Wednesday hold’em-Omaha-Omaha/8 game with great promotions. This is a $4-$8 game with half-kill starting at noon. First 10 players get a $10 food voucher and there’s a $50 high-hand bonus every hour.

PRAIRIE MEADOWS: The Altoona property hosts a WSOP main-event satellite March 20. The entry is $200 and the winner receives the $10K seat and $2K for expenses.

HORSESHOE COUNCIL BLUFFS: An interesting high-hand promotion runs March 17-18 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The high hand every hour in hold’em receives $200. Everyone dealt into that hand will receive $25.

Wisconsin

POTAWATOMI HOTEL & CASINO: In January, the MSPT’s $350 regional drew 904 runners, a record for such an event. Oscar Arndt of West Allis, Wis., took home $58,964 for the victory. Plenty of notables cashed, including David Gonia (third, $20,965), Nicholas Revello (fifth, $14,414), Travis Lauson (18th, $1,493) and Harry Finnimore (36th, $1,073).

HO CHUNK WISCONSIN DELLS: St. Paddy’s Open is March 17-20.

AUSSIE MILLIONS: Tony Dunst, originally from Madison, navigated a field of 732 players to finish runner-up in the main event for $700K. Dunst is third on Wisconsin’s all-time money list.

Meet David Downing

David Downing is a dealer and former tournament director at Ho-Chunk Gaming Nekoosa known for his hard work and dedication to the poker room.

Downing, who has been married to his wife Judy for 33 years, was born and raised in Nekoosa, Wis., graduating from the town’s high school in 1978.

From there, he began working in his mother’s local business before starting in the count department at Ho-Chunk in 2006. Nine months later, he switched to table games.

How did you get involved working in the poker industry? At that time, the poker room here in Nekoosa was just starting up.

What’s you favorite part about working in the poker industry? I really enjoy the players. Listening to their stories.

What’s your most memorable experience working in the poker industry? Being a part of a team that helped set the tournament format that we have here and being tournament director. Also, following the run of local player Nik Stone, who made the 2012 World Series of Poker national championship and finished runner-up to Ryan Eriquezzo. — Chad Holloway