While most eyes were on South Florida this week for the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open $10 Million Guarantee Main Event and the inaugural World Poker Tour $100,000 buy-in Alpha8 event, another tournament series was playing out in Council Bluffs, Iowa – the 2013 Horseshoe Poker Classic.
The five-event series may not have been on the same scale as the one in Florida, but there was a connection between the two. In the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Classic Main Event, Blair Hinkle finished in first place for more than $1.7 million. Four months earlier, Hinkle won the 2012-2013 World Series of Poker Circuit Horseshoe Council Bluffs for $121,177, which was the second time he’d won that event in three years!
While Hinkle was busy in Florida, plenty of players flocked to Council Bluffs, which is just on the other side of the river from Omaha, Nebraska. From Aug. 17-21, the Horseshoe hosted five tournaments with buy-ins ranging from $150 to $1,000, culminating with the Horseshoe Poker Classic $1,000 Main Event.
"I was bummed that we overlapped with Florida," Horseshoe Council Bluffs Poker Room Manager Andrew Brock told PokerNews. "We have a good base of players in the Midwest — Kansas City, South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota — so we focus on those first, but we're always looking to attract other players to the area. Our new AGM/VP of Ops is cousins with Brandon Steven and he was going to come and bring a $25/$50 no-limit hold'em game with him, but he picked the $10 million guarantee over us!"
Despite the overlap, Brock was pleased to attracted well-known poker player and nearby farmer Phil Mader, who finished 43rd in this year's World Series of Poker Main Event for $185,694. Brock was also excited about the cash games inspired by the tournament. "Cash games were good," Brock explained. "We had multiple $2/$5 games and $1/$3 PLO/PLO/8. The PLO ROE is running on Friday nights and the action was off the charts. The $1-$3 blinds might seem small to some players but with the 75% max buy in it plays big!"
As far as the Main Event was concerned, the tournament attracted 126 runners, and after two full days of play, Richard Thousand of Ankeny, Iowa emerged victorious to capture the $30,798 first-place prize and a Horseshoe Poker Classic trophy.
"I was real pleased on the turnouts. We increased attendance by 30% from last year," Brock concluded. "In 2012 the HPC Main Event was $900 and had 97 entries. This year the buy in was $1000 and had 126 players."
Here’s a look at the results from all the 2013 Horseshoe Poker Classic events:
Horseshoe Poker Classic $1,000 Main Event
|1st||Richard Thousand||Ankeny, IA||$30,798|
|2nd||Thomas Lutjens||Columbus, NE||$19,036|
|3rd||Daniel Jensen||Gretna, NE||$13,741|
|4th||Darin Miller||Owatonna, MN||$10,097|
|5th||Mark Turner||Omaha, NE||$7,548|
|6th||Michelle Hiers||Council Bluffs, IA||$5,739|
|7th||Mark Fink||Sioux Falls, SD||$4,436|
|8th||Dewane Blaha||Bellevue, NE||$3,485|
|9th||Daniel Thomas||Lincoln, NE||$2,782|
Horseshoe Poker Classic Event #1 $250 No-Limit Hold’em
Horseshoe Poker Classic Event #2 $150 No-Limit Hold’em Bounty
*Denotes seven-handed deal
Horseshoe Poker Classic Event #3 $200 Omaha Eight or Better
*Denotes three-handed deal
Horseshoe Poker Classic Event #4 $550 No-Limit Hold’em
|3rd||Hiew Thanh Giap||$5,306|
*Denotes heads-up deal
From October 7-14, the Horseshoe Council Bluffs will also play host to the Omaha Poker Open, which will feature events such as $150 Omaha/8, $200 PLO Triple Chance, $150 NLH Bounty and a $550 NLH Main Event.