When the poker craze was in full swing a decade ago, the game was an unlikely component of mainstream entertainment world wide. Its popularity was fueled by innovations which made it a perfect fit for television, the most significant of which were mini table top cameras that revealed player’s hands to the viewing audience.
Although its widespread pop culture presence has waned in recent years, poker remains the most high profile form of gambling. The annual World Series of Poker in Las Vegas has been embraced by sports fans as a spectacle worthy of hours of coverage on ESPN throughout the year.
In the wake of the recent World Series of Poker Circuit Event held at the Horseshoe, big time professional poker has returned to the Chicago area at Majestic Star Casino. The Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) is currently hosting a tournament at the Gary property that will continue through Dec. 8.
The Heartland Poker Tour, founded in 2005, was designed to capitalize on the popularity of poker by making high stakes tournament play affordable to average players. The lure of giving card playing enthusiasts the opportunity to showcase their skills in a spotlight outside of the poker room norm has proved to be a highly successful formula.
Majestic Star has partnered with HPT by hosting tournaments every year since 2006. More than $7 million has been awarded to participants in the 13 tournaments that have been held there. A record Main Event prize pool of $835,200 was distributed at the tournament held in December of 2007. The winner, Leon Morford, took home $233,016.
In August of this year, the HPT Main Event at Majestic Star lured a record 520 entrants. It was captured by Schaumberg, Illinois resident Bob Chow who collected a $171,534 paycheck.
Even though HPT prides itself on giving average players a shot at glory, the tournament has not been without established stars. Greg “Fossilman” Raymer, winner of the 2004 World Series of Poker, won three Heartland Poker Tour events in as many months in 2012 to secure Player of the Year honors.
The current tournament at Majestic Star will be the first event to count towards points for Season X, the second year under which play is conducted according to a new tournament structure designed by one of the top professional poker stars of all time, Daniel Negreanu.
The Main Event competition will be held Dec. 5 – 8 with the televised Final Table set to begin at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 9. Two one-hour television episodes will be produced from the event which will be televised locally on Comcast and syndicated throughout the United States and countries around the world.
For information regarding daily HPT tournament action and start times please visit www.hptpoker.com or the poker room at Majestic Star casino.
BLUE CHIP: B Connected player’s club members who earn 2,000 base points between 7:00 a.m. and midnight on Wednesdays in December may swipe their card at a kiosk to receive a voucher redeemable for a Pepsi holiday plush animal giveaway.
FOUR WINDS: The New Year celebration starts early with $50,000 in cash prizes to be given away on Sunday, Dec. 29. Drawings begin at 1:00 p.m. (EST) with a $10,000 winner and continue hourly until 7:00 p.m. when one guest will be randomly selected for a $15,000 prize. W Club members receive one free entry daily starting Dec. 24 at Four Winds New Buffalo, Four Winds Hartford, or Four Winds Dowagiac.
HORSESHOE: The poker room will be hosting a $100,000 guaranteed tournament tomorrow and Saturday (Nov. 29 & 30). The 34-table venue features poker action daily with games in a range of limits. Tournaments are held every week. High stakes gamblers are invited into Benny’s Back Room, a private area named for the founder of the original Horseshoe Casino in downtown Las Vegas, Benny Binion. Contact the poker room at 219-473-6065 for information.
RIVERS: Visitors who sign up for a player’s club card now through Dec. 29 are eligible to receive a complimentary buffet or a $15 food credit voucher when they earn 10 slot points. The offer ramps up to $50 toward a meal at Hugo’s Frog Bar & Chop House when 100 points are earned. The points must be earned by 11:59 p.m. on the day following sign-up. Visit Rush Player’s Club for more information.