Michigan State Poker Championship is Oct. 10-13


Ante Up Magazine Midwest Poker

The Michigan State Championship runs Oct. 10-13 at FireKeepers Casino Hotel in Battle Creek. 

The $70 super-satellites are Fridays at noon and 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays at noon. The top 20 percent advance to main-event qualifier, which costs $260 Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. The top 20 percent of that qualifier advance to main event Day 1A or 1B. Looking ahead, there’s a black-chip bounty Nov. 3 at noon for $350. Players start with 20K chips and 30-minute levels. Also, there’s a $100 women’s event Nov. 16 at 2 p.m. (12K chips, 20-minute levels).


CANTERBURY PARK: Alan Ahmann of Marshall, Minn., took home $48,015 after chopping heads-up with Saad Ghanem at the MSPT regional event in Shakopee. This was Ahmann’s third MSPT cash and it almost doubled his career earnings to $100K-plus, according to Hendon Mob.  The $350 tourney drew 1,015 entrants for a $294,365 prize pool.

The Fall Classic is Oct. 4-20  

RUNNING ACES: Jeffery Petronack of Hugo, Minn., earned $34,059 after winning the Great MN Poker Tournament in Columbus. This is Petronack’s largest career cash since his second-place MSPT finish in 2012 and it increases his lifetime earnings to $289K. The $150 event had 839 entrants for a $137K prize pool.

HO-CHUNK: The Ho-Chunk Nation is awaiting a decision from the government on whether it can build a casino in Beloit. Time is of the essence as Illinois has approved a casino across the border just 17 miles away in Rockford.


RIVERS CASINO PITTSBURGH: WPT DeepStacks visits Oct. 17-28. The $1,100 main event has a $300K guarantee and satellites.

JACK CLEVELAND: The Best of the Best Tournament Series will award $45K-plus and qualifying runs through Nov. 1. 

You can earn tournament points in these daily tournaments: Monday, noon; Tuesday, 5 p.m.; Wednesday, 7 p.m.; Thursday, 3 p.m., and Friday, 7 p.m. See a supervisor for more details.

JACK CINCINNATI: The poker room has a remarkable amount of daily tournaments, many with guarantees, plus there are a lot of promotions, especially tied to NFL games. All tournaments have late and re-entry registration through the first break, unless noted. For more info, be sure to check our Where to Play section.

PRESQUE ISLE DOWNS & CASINO: Oct. 19 is a $6K guarantee at 12:30 p.m. for $240. Oct. 20 is Cards for a Cure at 12:30 for $50. The charity event has $1K added to the prize pool and you can get 2K in chips with a $10 donation. 

THE MEADOWS RACETRACK AND CASINO: The Heartland Poker Tour is in town until Oct. 7. The $1,100 main event features a $250K guarantee. Two Day 1 flights run Oct. 4-5; Day 2 is on Oct. 6 and the final table Oct. 7. Other events include a $200 short-deck event Oct. 3. The schedule is at hptpoker.com.


Hao “John” Sun captured his second Mid-States Poker Tour main event, winning almost $72K, at Majestic Star Casino in Gary, Ind.

The Milwaukee native faced a loaded field of well-known players that included locals Aaron and Ralph Massey, Jill Bryant, Nick Pupillo, Jeremy Smith and Joel Casper, who won Indiana’s first televised tournament, held here in 2006. The prize pool was almost $313K with 324 entries.

In other news, Majestic Star has been approved to move to a land-based site adjacent to the Borman Expressway at Burr Street. It will be rebranded as the Hard Rock Casino, with a planned opening of Dec. 31, 2020.

AMERISTAR EAST CHICAGO: The Heartland Poker Tour’s $350 Monster Stack ended in a six-way deal: Michael Tullia, $30,435; Matthew Porter, $30,283; Mike Younan, $27,572; Brandon Casto, $25,250 (plus trophy); James Calvo, $24,426, and David Oppenheim, $16,810. The prize pool was $287K-plus with 957 entries.

Here were some of the other winners: Event 2, David Stoneburner, $8,031 (seniors); Event 3, John Tobias, $3,763 (deepstack); Event 4, Bala Iyer, $2,511 (short stack); Event 5, Yuryi Moskovoy (bounty), and Event 6, Scotty Brooks $3,137 (seven-game mix).

TROPICANA EVANSVILLE: Frank Covich defeated 266 entries, winning the Indiana State Poker Championship for almost $63K. The Murfreesboro, Tenn., resident owns a WSOPC ring from a Horseshoe Southern Indiana win in 2015. The prize pool was $256K-plus.

After the victory, Covich revealed a simple strategy to solving the puzzle of a unique final table. “It was a long tough final table,” he said. “I just let other people knock each other out and tried to catch cards. 

Heads-up I was just trying not bluff my stack off and catch good hands. All I can say is I’m feeling good!” 


HORSESHOE CASINO COUNCIL BLUFFS: Geoffrey Gross of South Dakota won the $350 Horseshoe Poker Classic on Aug. 25. He earned $29,223 and the title after beating runner-up Henry Gingerich ($18,065). The event had 503 runners for a $136K prize pool.

Looking ahead, the RunGood Series returns to Council Bluffs on Oct. 8-13, kicking off with a popular $135 pro bounty event and culminating in a $100K guarantee main event.

RIVERSIDE CASINO: Mitchell Bank won $15,046 at the 13th annual $500 Poker Classic on Aug. 25.

MESKWAKI CASINO: During the last few days of October running through to Nov. 3, the Mid-States Poker Tour returns here with its third $300K guarantee main event of the season for Iowa. These events draw a big crowd, including for cash games. It is a unique event for Iowa because it’s open to players 18 years and older.


Milwaukee’s Mike Shin topped a 480-entry field to win the Heartland Poker Tour main event in St. Louis for $160,632. That win gave him MSPT and HPT titles in the same year.

WSOPC BOUND: Ben Freeman and John Haneke won $5K prize packages to November’s WSOP Circuit Aruba via a Madison Poker Community $200 satellite tournament. Mark “P0ker H0” Kroon finished third for $2K.

Meet Hayley Hochstetler

A small-stakes cash grinder from Council Bluffs, Iowa, Hayley Hochstetler is vice president of media at RunGoodGear and lives in Kansas City, Mo.

How’d you get into poker? I was actually working at a casino. I was a cocktail waitress at Horseshoe Council Bluffs and started to play the free WSOP app. Around the time that I started to have enough courage to play live is around the same time I met the president of RunGood and the rest of the RunGood gang. It eventually turned into me taking days off when I knew they were going to be in town because I liked the people and the friendships, and was learning a lot about poker. I quit working at the casino in 2018 and have worked with RunGood Series ever since.

How often do you play poker? When I’m at home, I play around three days a week. When I’m on tour, I’ll play once a week depending on where I am. I play a lot of cash in my home poker rooms, which I consider to be Horseshoe Council Bluffs and Harrah’s North Kansas City. When I’m on the road, I play when I get the chance.

Do you see yourself getting more involved in the poker scene as your experience grows? Yeah, I do. I really like the community and can see this turning into long term for me. — Jo Kim

Chris Cosenza

Chris Cosenza