Richards is Columbus poker champion


Ante Up Magazine Midwest Poker

Columbus local Kwynn Richards captured the $550 main event of the Columbus Summer Classic for $57K-plus at Hollywood Casino in Columbus, Ohio.

The series ran Aug. 27-Sept. 8 and featured $500K in guarantees. Jacob Ross came in second for $35,387 and third place went to Connor Burchwell ($25,876). 

Other event winners included Steven Hollis in the opener ($150 NLHE, $2,600); Barbara Walston ($350 deepstack, $26,800); John Madden ($200 seniors, $3,010 in a chop); Tori Todd ($200 PLO, $8,120); Eric Usselman ($150 NLHE, $2,278); Bryan Wellmann ($200 NLHE, $4,010), and Linda Woltz (green-chip bounty, $3,572).

Looking ahead, the Ohio Poker Championship series will be Dec. 3-15. For details, go to

JACK CLEVELAND CASINO: The annual November Nickel tournament returns with three Day 1 flights Nov. 14-16 and finishing with Day 2 Nov. 17. The buy-in is $500 with a guarantee of $100K.

HOLLYWOOD TOLEDO: There’s a $70 HORSE tournament Nov. 16 at 3:15 p.m. Late entry and unlimited re-entry are allowed until the end of Level 6. Players get 6K chips and can get 3K more with a $10 optional staff add-on.


CANTERBURY PARK: Michael Esquivel of Claredon Hills, Ill., took home $98,113 after winning the Mid-States Poker Tour in Shakopee. This was Esquivel’s largest career cash, bringing his career earnings to $300K. 

Much of the talk during the final table was whether Matt Kirby would earn his fourth MSPT main-event title. He is tied with Blake Bohn and Carl Carodenuto at three victories each. Kirby was able to take the lead during heads-up play, but it wasn’t held for long. Esquivel rallied to earn his first MSPT victory and second MSPT cash.  

Esquivel kept things light at the table, occasionally donning a mask of a crying baby after taking a bad beat.  After the final hand was dealt and Esquivel’s A-2 held against Kirby’s K-10, Esquivel cried, displaying how much winning this tournament meant to him.

The $1,100 event drew 472 entrants for a $456,340 prize pool. Mark Hodge of Fernandina Beach, Fla., earned his 25th MSPT cash which, along with his 2015 MSPT Player of the Year title, has earned him a spot as the fourth member of the MSPT Hall of Fame, joining Kou Vang, Richard Alsup and Aaron Johnson.

RUNNING ACES: The Midwest Poker Classic returned to Columbus as Allan Secord of Duluth, Minn., pocketed $34,589 for winning the main event. Secord had a victory earlier in the series in Event 9, the $100 freezeout.  

The $500 main event had 283 entries for a $123,529 prize pool. Nathan Heller won Event 12, the $290 Optimum, for $9,701 after besting the 170-player field.


Josh Reichard came out on top of 579 entries to win the Heartland Poker Tour main event at Ameristar East Chicago, good for nearly $187K and a $3,500 HPT Championship package.

Reichard started heads-up with a 2-to-1 chip lead over local pro Dave McDermott. It took less than an hour to complete with a few back-and-forth conflicts as the Wisconsin pro notched his second HPT main-event win here in 2019.

Henry Zou made the final table but finished sixth. Local notables who cashed were Mike Puccio, Paul Fisher, Nick Pupillo and Nadya Magnus. The prize pool was almost $834K.

Here were some of the other winners: Frank Martello (Event 7, six-max, $5,130); James Golding and Rodger Gill (Event 8, Tag Team, $2,282 each); Adam Ziegenthaler  (Event 9, seniors, $8,367); Andres German (Event 10, PLO, $4,712); Joseph Saltanovitz (Event 12, deepstack bounty, $6,111), and Andrzej Rogowski (Event 13, Labor Day deepstack, $3,325).

HOLLYWOOD AURORA: The year-ending Tournament of Champions will be Dec. 18. Also, the bad-beat jackpot was nearing $340K (quad fives) at press time.


GRAND FALLS CASINO: Jesse Rockowitz of Fairmont, Minn., topped the 175-player field to claim the MSPT title Sept. 8 in northwest region of the state. Rockowitz won $45,425 when his A-K beat Gary Germann’s Q-9 on the final hand when neither player connected with the board. 

The eighth annual Fall Poker Series runs Nov. 14-17 with a $100 bounty event, a $200 event and the $500 main event.

MESKWAKI CASINO: The MSPT returns Nov. 1-3 for a $300K guarantee main event. 

PRAIRIE MEADOWS: The Altoona room hosts a $200 event Nov. 17.

HORSESHOE COUNCIL BLUFFS: Every Friday in November at
7 p.m., there will be $50 satellites for the annual Horseshoe Holiday Classic, which runs from just after Christmas into 2020.


FIREKEEPERS CASINO: There’s a $350 event Nov. 3 at noon. Players start with 20K chips and get 30-minute levels. The $100 women’s event is 2 p.m. Nov. 16 (12K chips, 20-minute levels). 

The next Fifth Sunday Five Hundred is noon Dec. 29. The $500 event gives players 40K chips and 30-minute levels as registration is open through Level 8. Registration opens a week in advance. 

GUN LAKE CASINO: At press time, the bad-beat jackpot was $176K. 


Josh Reichard, hot off winning the aforementioned HPT event, he won Event 9 ($400 NLHE) at the WSOP Circuit at Potawatomi in Milwaukee for $12,921 and his 12th ring. It was the fourth straight year he won a ring at the stop.

Other Wisconsin players to get rings at the Potawatomi stop were Jacob Rich (Event 2, $52,680); Craig Trost (Event 3, $14,834); Bradley Jansen (Event 4, $12,065); Sam Rameshk (senior, $11,856); Dan Dombrowski (Event 5, $11,652); John Sun (Event 6, $14,190); Jeremy Jacobs (Event 12, $11,529), and Steve Buell (Event 13, $15,339).

Meet Kevin Lange

Kevin Lange, 34, was born and raised in Wauwatosa, a suburb of Milwaukee. He’s the proud father of two daughters, Emma and Charlotte. Living just a few miles away, Lange is a regular in cash games and tournaments at Potawatomi Casino.

He learned to play in high school and college when he used to stay up late to watch NBC’s Poker after Dark. Along with his brother and friends, they started a small home game.

“Winning was more about bragging rights than a big prize pool,” he said “But for me, it was start of a lifelong love of the game. I found the game of poker fascinating from the very beginning.”

His proudest accomplishment came in July when he chopped the MSPT Potawatomi’s $250 Last Chance for $3,687. “I got into it through a $65 satellite I won the day before,” he said. “I was able to have a friend come rail during the final table. It was a really fun table with a great group of guys.”

He’s also a fan of Doug Polk: “I love his YouTube videos,” Lange said. “They combine technical aspects of the game with news and current events from the world of poker.”

Lange’s hobbies off the felt include collecting coins and metal-detecting. 

“Collecting coins has helped me learn a lot about American history that I probably otherwise wouldn’t have taken much interest in,” he said. “Being able to hold a coin that’s 100 years old or researching places to metal-detect motivates me to spend time learning more about history, especially the local history of the area I’m searching.” — Chad Holloway

Chris Cosenza

Chris Cosenza