Classic win propels 'Fast Eddie' to Poker World Series

2014-05-29T02:00:00Z Classic win propels 'Fast Eddie' to Poker World SeriesJohn G. Brokopp
May 29, 2014 2:00 am  • 

Edward “Fast Eddie” Ochana, who proved early on that he has what it takes to be a star in the competitive world of professional poker, won’t have to worry about coming up with the $10,000 entry fee for a seat in the Main Event at this year’s World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.

He was awarded a seat plus a prize of $217,810 for winning the Main Event at the sixth annual Chicago Poker Classic which was held earlier this month at Horseshoe Casino.

Ochana’s impressive victory, his second in a major tournament in Northwest Indiana in less than six months, gives him the momentum he needs to compete in the world’s most high-profile poker tournament which began on Tuesday (May 27) at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino. The 65-event competition will continue through July 14.

The 39-year-old Ochana, who calls Elgin, Illinois home, has his sights set on the $10-million first-place prize in the coveted World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event which includes three starting flights beginning on July 5.

Ochana has competed in the last seven WSOP Main Events, boasting one finish that brought him enticingly close to the Final Table: 34th-place in 2010 that was worth $255,242 in prize money. He earned $50,752 last year for a 160th-place finish. The competition draws thousands of poker players from around the globe.

Prior to winning the Chicago Poker Classic, Ochana captured the Heartland Poker Tour Main Event Championship at Majestic Star Casino Hotel in December of last year. He earned $152,477 for the victory.

There is no doubt Fast Eddie has a particular affinity for Horseshoe. Well known among regulars in the property’s plush poker room, Ochana made the Chicago Poker Classic his seventh “cash” at the Shoe, accounting for $379,853 of his more than $1.2 million in reported tournament winnings.

Although he finished third ($108,268) in the 2012 edition of the Chicago Poker Classic, it was the Chicago native’s victory in a World Series of Poker Circuit Event at Horseshoe three years earlier that stamped him a bona fide star. He won $44,281 but more importantly took home a coveted WSOP Circuit Event championship gold ring.

Ochana’s 2014 Chicago Poker Classic main event championship was impressive. The $1,500 no-limit hold’em tournament attracted 745 entries which generated a whopping $990,031 prize pool. In just six years the tournament, which was held in The Venue, has become widely recognized as the largest non-branded series in the United States.

Fast Eddie’s victory was sealed late in final table action when he found himself with more than 14 million of the 18.6 million chips in play. He defeated Richard Bai in heads-up play.

Bai, a Horseshoe regular who plays in $1/2 pot-limit Omaha games, earned his way into the Chicago Poker Classic’s main event during one of the property’s $500 Satellite Saturday promotions. It translated into a $135,040 pay day.


FOUR WINDS: The property is giving away yet another sleek set of wheels on Saturday, July 5, in the $125,000 Hot Summer Ride event. This time the grand prize is a 2014 Maserati Ghibli or a share of $55,000 in cash prizes. Hourly drawings will begin at 1:00 p.m. (EDT) with a $10,000 winner. The car will be given away at 9:00 p.m. plus there’ll be a last chance cash drawing for $15,000 at 10:00 p.m. W Club members receive one free entry daily now through July 5 by visiting the W Players Club. Earn additional entries by playing slots or table games.

HOLLYWOOD JOLIET: If the slots and table games you play are located in the casino’s high limits room, you won’t want to miss being there on Thursday, June 12, from 6:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. Hit a jackpot on the slots or be dealt a blackjack (Ace plus Jack of Clubs, or Ace plus Jack of Spades) at the tables and you’ll receive a scratch-off card worth up to $1,000 in cash. Visit the player’s club booth for complete details.

The opinions expressed are solely the writer's. Reach him at

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