The Hollywood Aurora Tournament of Champions is one of Chicagoland’s most unique tournaments, as weekly tournament winners and the runners-up advance to the TOC every December.
Ryan Scully, who has been a familiar sight at these final tables, recently won $7K-plus and the huge TOC trophy.
In other tourney news, every Wednesday at noon Holly.wood runs its $160 tournament, which is Chicagoland’s longest running tournament, starting in March 2005.
INDIANA NEWS: Penn National Gaming has acquired Ameristar East Chicago and Belterra Casino, along with 14 other Pinnacle Entertainment gaming and entertainment facilities in 10 states for $2.8B.
Penn National Gaming, which owns Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg, sold Belterra to Boyd Gaming, overcoming a regularity hurdle in Indiana. Boyd Gaming, which owns Blue Chip, will have two poker rooms in Indiana.
MAJESTIC STAR: There’s a new weekly tournament lineup with improved blind structures. See the Where to Play section in the back of this issue for more info. Also, the bad-beat jackpot at press time was nearly $70K (aces full of kings).
FIREKEEPERS CASINO: The poker room has a few exciting changes for 2018. The Fifth Sunday Four Hundred will be.come the Fifth Sunday Five Hundred. The tournament will be 10 a.m. on April 29, July 29, Sept. 30 and Dec. 30. Registration will open seven days in advance of each tournament.
The Thursday 6:30 tournament has changed to $60 (PLO-NLHE) and the Saturday noon event is a $60 Survivor. Both
have one re-entry and 20-minute levels.
On Feb. 17, the poker room hosts its third annual Valentine’s Mixed Doubles tournament at 2 p.m. ($50 per player, 8K stack). One re-entry is allowed through Level 4. The teams will combine chips at the break and will alternate play beginning with the fifth level.
On Feb. 18, there’s a $350 Black Chip Bounty event at 11 a.m. (20K chips, one re-entry through Level 4). Registration opens Feb. 11. There’s also $100 hot seats every 30 minutes Feb. 19 (11 a.m.-11 p.m.).
MGM DETROIT: The poker room hosts two bounty tournaments each week: a $220 event on Saturdays at 2 and a $120 event on Sundays at 2.
MOTOR CITY: A $250 event is at 4 p.m. every first Sunday of the month and $150 tournaments are the other Sundays. The bad-beat jackpot (quads) hit for a U.S.-record $1.06M at press time. The “loser” got a whopping $427K, the winner $213K and four other players at the table got $106K each.
JACK CASINO CLEVELAND: The MSPT held its $1,100 event Jan. 25-28; look for a recap in next month’s issue.
HOLLYWOOD CASINO TOLEDO: The Hollywood Spring Poker Open runs March 15-25. The Irish Derby hold’em event features a $50K guarantee for $130. Eight starting flights will be played March 15-17, with the tournament wrapping up March 18. The $350 main event features a robust $100K guarantee, with six starting flights (three each on March 23 and 24) and the conclusion March 25. Other events include a $110 HORSE (March 18), an $80 PLO with $15 bounties (March 20) and a $110 senior event with a $10K guarantee (March 25).
Ben Marsh of Duluth, Minn., won his second Mid-States Poker Tour title after besting a record-setting field of 493 entries at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minn.
Marsh, a 32-year-old pro, took home his largest career cash of $102,493 from the $476,710 prize pool. He beat the largest field in a $1K-plus event in Minnesota history. Marsh also became the ninth player to win more than one MSPT title, winning his first at Treasure Island Resort and Casino in 2011.
“I am feeling pretty great,” said Marsh, who spends most of his time playing online. “I haven’t played a ton of live poker this year and didn’t have any luck when I did. This is only my second tournament since the World Series in Las Vegas.”
Marsh faced a tough final table filled with local pros and tough amateurs, including Jonathan Hanner, Rajaee Wazwaz, Brian Berthiaume, Vladimir Revniaga and David Gonia. Marsh got heads-up with Hanner with roughly even stacks, but Marsh quickly pulled ahead with a decent lead.
RUNNING ACES: Zachary Waldvogel of Minneapolis won $13,106 and the trophy at the Cold Hard Cash tournament. The event featured six $280 Day 1 flights and offered a $1,200 buy-back of small stacks if a player made it to Day 2 with multiple stacks. There was an eight-way chop, at which time Waldvogel was the shortest stack, leaving a little money and the trophy for first place.offered a hesitantly called off his remaining stack.
Robert Van Syckle of St. Paul took second. The event drew 703 players and generated a $143,031 prize pool.
HORSESHOE COUNCIL BLUFFS: The RunGood Poker Series runs Feb. 20-25. There will be a mix of NLHE events, including satellites, bounty, deepstacks, turbo and the main event.
PRAIRIE MEADOWS CASINO: World Series of Poker Main Event satellites are running again. If you’d like a chance at winning the $10K seat along with $2K for expenses, the next satellite is Feb. 18 with a $200 buy-in. While there, join in a cash game for your chance at the $162K bad-beat jackpot.
RIVERSIDE CASINO: The poker room also had an enviable $171,177 bad-beat jackpot that fell in the wee hours on Jan. 11. Dave Raduechel was never so happy to lose a pot with the second nuts when his quad sixes got smashed by a royal. He took home $85,591 for the loss.
DIAMOND JO WORTH: The bad-beat jackpot was $160K-plus at press time.
WSOPC: The World Series of Poker Circuit returns Feb. 1-12 to Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in downtown Milwaukee. The stop, which marks the second time at the venue, will feature 12 ring events, including a $365 buy-in, $150K guarantee Feb. 2-4.
Other highlights include Event 7 ($365 Monster Stack, $100K guarantee) on Feb. 7; $2,200 High Roller on Feb. 8; and the four-day $1,675 main event ($750K guarantee) beginning Feb. 9.
In addition, there will be two $250 senior events (Feb. 4, 10 a.m. and Feb. 11, 10 a.m.). On Feb. 9 at 5 p.m., there’s a $135 women’s event. Those events are not ring events.
In the inaugural WSOPC at Potawatomi, Josh Reichard, Travis Lauson, Nadya Magnus, Alex Aqel and Byron Ziebell were among those to take home rings.
POKER FOR A GOOD CAUSE: On Dec. 10, Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells hosted a $300 Holiday Bounty event. The tournament had 63 entries and resulted in a seven-way chop with Dan Crawford, Aaron Olson, Derek Harvey, Jason Raymer, Jon Driver, Brandon Olstad and Matthew Anderson each receiving $2,160. In addition, $630 was raised for the Lake Delton Fire Department.
Meet Brandon Temple
Before moving to Wisconsin, 32-year-old Brandon Temple spent a decade playing and dealing poker in Kentucky.
Nowadays, he runs local bar tournaments in Madison while serving as a live reporter for the Mid-States Poker Tour.
When and how did you learn to play poker? When I was 10, my dad had a bunch of his work friends come play five-card draw for loose change in his garage. I asked to play and quickly made $30 before Dad kicked me out. I was instantly hooked, and that little garage game was a major catalyst for where I’m at and what I’m doing now.
What’s your proudest poker accomplishment? I recently did live reporting for the 2017 MSPT Wisconsin State Poker Championship, and afterward, the amount of people that have come up to me has just been nothing short of amazing. It’s incredibly fulfilling to know that my writing is appreciated, especially by people I interact with on a daily
What’s your poker goal or something on your bucket list? I don’t get to play as much as I used to, but I want to play a few WSOP bracelet events next year, mainly PLO/8 and dealer’s choice. I like to pretend that I’m pretty decent at nontraditional games, so it’ll be fun to take my home-game talents to Vegas and see how I stack up. — Chad Holloway