Grand Falls
Kimo Sabe
Running Aces
Golden Gates Casino
Grand Casino, Mille Lacs
Tropicana Evansville

Harvest the Cash – Structure Change

Change – The Harvest the Cash tournament will no longer have a $10K guarantee for 1st place.

Canterbury Park has added their own Harvest the Cash tournament on Sunday, November 14.  The buy-in will be $500+$50+$10 optional add-on.  Tournament starts at 10:30 am, registration starts at 8:00 am.

Not All Complaints

Bad beat stories are rampant.  I suppose it’s because it’s easier to remember our losses, and nice to receive a little sympathy when we do come up short.

But I thought, since I’m typically ranting about some mundane detail of poker etiquette, that I’d give recognition to the positive things.  Aside from a few minor setbacks, I’ve been running quite well since early July.  In fact, between early July and mid-October, I hadn’t had a losing session.  I’d like to attribute this success solely to skill and intelligence… but let’s be real.  You need to have cards fall your way in this game to go on winning streaks, particularly undefeated steaks over a three-month period.

This hand will be evidence of my recent good fortune.

The game was 15-30 limit hold’em.  A middle-position player raises and the button calls.  I call in the big-blind with Q-10 of diamonds, and we take the flop three-handed.

The flop is 2-3-7, with two diamonds.  I check.  The pre-flop raiser bets, and gets called by the button.  I too make the call.

The turn is the Q- of spades.  This time, I bet.  The pre-flop raiser calls as does the button.

The river is the J- of clubs.  I think for a moment, and once again bet.  The pre-flop raiser groans, flashes his cards to his neighbor, and mucks.  The button, equally irritated, turns up his A-8 of diamonds as he folds.  I took the pot without showing my hand, as the original raiser bemoans his poor luck with pocket 10’s.

A three-outer!  How gorgeous!  I not only should have lost the hand, but I could easily have been squeezed for a large sum of money.  Imagine how much money I’d lose if a diamond hit!  I not only lose the pot, but give an additional three large bets (or more) to the man with the nut-flush.

It’s true, complaining about losses and socially awkward rubes is an enjoyable hobby of mine; but I’d also like to recognize the good luck, the rare moments that remind me of how much I love this game!

Josh “Chipcollecta” Barnes wins for 3rd time this year

Story by MN Poker League

It’s hard to believe, but Bloomington, MN, resident Josh the “Chipcollecta” Barnes managed to win his THIRD ONLINE championship package this past Sunday, October 24 during our last FPN Online Gold Rush 2 National Qualifier. Not only is this Barnes’ third online win, but it is also his THIRD ONLINE WIN within the LAST YEAR! Obviously with this kind of online record, Barnes is no stranger to the online poker world. In fact, he has played more than 1,000 tournaments this year alone between FPN Online, Poker Stars and Full Tilt. For a 30-year-old Research and Development Engineer who learned how to play poker as a kid, this is quite the accomplishment, and after hearing how he won for the third time it is clear that not only was skill involved in all of his big wins, but lady luck as well.

Since Barnes’ move to the Bloomington area, he hasn’t been able to catch as many league nights as he used to. But, that hasn’t stopped him from using up the bronze, silver and gold tokens he’s won through our online site. That’s how he managed to qualify for Sunday’s tournament, where more than 65 players took a comfy seat in front of their computers in hopes they would be the next big winner. When we asked Barnes about how he managed to take down Sunday’s event he told us the story was a bit embarrassing. Well, Josh we’ve all had those “embarrassing” poker moments ourselves! Here’s how he explained the action went down.

“I was short-stacked not long after the tournament began,” he said. “In fact, at one point I was down to only 2k in chips. I couldn’t seem to catch anything. But I battled through and soon ended up winning three big hands in a row with a A/K, Q/Q and 10/10 pre-flop. By the time the final table started I was back up to 20k, but the chip leader had nearly 50k. Again, I hung on and before I knew it I was heads up with Bill Madison, AKA “Donkey0820” from Fergus Falls, MN. We were pretty much dead even with around 150k in chips each and battled back and forth for more than 20 minutes.

“Before long though, Madison had won five hands in a row while I had junk, and I was down to 38k with 6k/12k blinds. Knowing I wasn’t going to last much longer at that level, I knew I had to start catching some cards and playing more aggressively. Luckily, I picked up a few decent hands to even out our stacks and then we were in what would become the final hand. I held a Qh/5h pre-flop and min raised him to make it 24k. He responded with an all-in shove and I called because I knew I had him covered. He showed a Ah/Kh for a 2 to 1 favorite, but I still felt like it was the right call. Turns out it was because the board flopped 3 to the straight and I ended up catching a Q on the river to win.”

Embarrassing or not, in poker anything can happen and you don’t win big if you don’t play big — regardless of your hand. We got your back on this one Josh! Fortunately, Madison didn’t leave the table empty-handed. For his outstanding play we’re sending him an iPod shuffle!

Congratulations to the both of you! We’re sure looking forward to seeing Josh again20k final this December 19th at the Golden Nugget!

(Pictured: Josh Barnes at this summer’s Destination Las Vegas WSOP 2010 National Championship Event at Caesar’s Palace.)

Watch MN’s Jason Senti and the November Nine on ESPN

The Rio’s Penn and Teller Theater will be at max capacity with 1,500 people on hand to watch the Final Table, so it’s a good thing that ESPN will be there to capture every check, raise, call and fold. With over $29 million on the line, tune in on Tuesday, November 9th at 10pm EST / 9pm CST to find out who will be this year’s World Champion and take home 8.9 million big ones

Five MN Gold Rush 2 Winners Crowned

Story by MN Poker League 

If you weren’t at Running Aces Harness Park in Columbus, MN, this past Saturday, October 23rd for the Minnesota Gold Rush 2 state championship, you seriously missed out on one of the best finals we’ve ever had! With only a handful of qualifiers who couldn’t make the event, nearly 215 players flooded the Atrium to see who would end the day with the FIVE national championship prize packages. So … who were the big winners? You’ll have to read the rest of the story to find out!

Of course all players started the day thinking of the end result: a Minnesota State Championship title and a free trip to the Golden Nugget for our $20k national final this December. When the first player went out after only 15 minutes of play, a collective sigh of relief could be felt throughout the room. At that point, a few sly players — including two of our past champions Nels Peterson and Clay Lipke — thought it would be wise to help ensure their odds of winning by buying tournament director and league Administrator Pete Bushey a shot and a drink. Ironically, two of the three actually made the final table and went on to win! You just might want to keep this little trick in mind during your next state final appearance.

As blind level after blind level went by and we made it to supper break, only 108 players remained — including one of the chip leaders (and soon-to-be bubble boy) Andy Lagarde from the White Bear Bar in White Bear Lake. And with three-time state champ Clay Lipke (Prime Time in Breezy Point), two-time champ Nels Peterson (Ultimate Sports Bar in Waite Park) and overall Gold Rush 2 point leader Dave Hendershot (Golden Valley VFW) all still in the running, there were many viable players left to contend with. But, no one backed down to the challenge after play resumed, even though many more were eliminated.

By the time the clock neared 8 pm, our final 20 were battling it out for a seat at the final table. The lone female remaining — Kari Davis (pictured right) from the Kandi Bowl in Willmar — did her best to stay in with the support of her boyfriend and current Gold Rush 2 online winner Matt Wolff. Unfortunately, she was knocked out shortly after we were down to 15 players or less. Thankfully, she’ll still be headed to Las Vegas in December as his guest.

Before we knew it we had our final ten and the skillful players headed to the main poker room to take their seats. Joining Running Aces Tournament Director Nessa Kunkel to begin the action were:

1. Andy Lagarde, White Bear Bar in White Bear Lake
2. Gary Tomhave, Mabel Murphy’s in Fergus Falls
3. Nels Peterson, Ultimate Sports Bar in Waite Park
4. Tom Wesseloh, Ultimate Sports Bar in Waite Park
5. Buddy Stafford, A & T Tap in Worthington
6. Steve Millsop, Patch Restaurant in Warroad
7. Anthony Thompson, Blue Fox in Arden Hills
8. Bruce Fenn, Blue Heron Grill in Hugo
9. Dave Hendershot, Golden Valley VFW in Golden Valley
10. Doug Roberts, Gary’s Place in Staples

To comply with Minnesota gaming laws, the action had to restart at this point in the Main Room with Running Aces taking over and awarding the prizes to the final five. Each player also had to start fresh with a 10k chip stack. Needless to say with so much on the line, not one of the final 10 was willing to shove, and the action ground out for quite some time. It took more than two hours to lose two players, with Gary Tomhave being the first to bust and Doug Roberts, Dave Hendershot and Tom Wesseloh following. Heartbreakingly, Andy Lagarde, who had been one of the chip leaders throughout the day, ended up bubbling in 6th place at nearly 1 am.
But for the those final FIVE, the celebration had begun and a few new records had been set. Nels Peterson became the first player to win 3 out of 6 state championship events, joining Clay Lipke as one of only two three-time state champions! Anthony Thompson also accomplished a notable feat, being one of the youngest state camps in the history of the league. For Buddy Stafford, this win now affords him the chance to see Vegas and be in the circle of MN state champs. And for Bruce Fenn this was his first state championship appearance, meaning he can now say he is one for one! For Steve Millsop this means the opportunity to win some cold hard cash in Las Vegas this December.

Congratulations to our winners and thank you to everyone who came out and made this tournament so much fun! Of course, none of this would be possible without the support of our bar partners and your patronage, so be sure to say thanks for the opportunity during your next league night! Also be sure to check out our facebook page within the next few days for pictures taken troughout the event.

(Pictured L to R: The new MN State Champions Bruce Fenn, Nels Peterson, Buddy Stafford, Steve Millsop and Anthony Thompson).

Heggem and Jenkinson win $7K NAPT Prize Packages

The first of four satellites for the NAPT was held on October 21 at Canterbury Park.  Andrew Heggem (black sweatshirt) and Gerald Jenkinson (red shirt) took it down and will both receive a $7,000 prize package that includes entry to the NAPT main event at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles, CA, held Nov. 12 – 17.

Harvest of Cash Poker Tournament

Until the MSPT hits during Thanksgiving week, November is a fairly light month for poker tournaments as players wind down from a hectic October.  For those of you looking for an opportunity to play at a reasonable buy-in, Jackpot Junction is hosting their Harvest of Cash Poker Tournament on Saturday, November 20th.  Play begins at 2:00.  $200+$25 buy-in.

Players will start with $8,000 in tournament chips with an optional $10 add-on for an additional $2,000 in chips.

Satellites will also be held on Wednesdays, November 3rd, 10th and 17th at 4pm.  $40+$10 buy-in.

Single table satellites on Fridays, November 5th, 12th and 19th at 4pm.  $25+$5 buy-in.

Don’t Let Them Bully You!

To the “professional,” poker is about making money.  Certainly it is entertaining as well, but this entertainment is only a valuable motivation if it does not conflict with the true goal of making a profit.

Casual players, however, will play for any number of reasons.  Fun, of course, is atop this list, as well it should be.  But a number of players, particularly men, like to play poker strictly for the competition.  (I say men, by the way, because we unfortunately suffer more abundantly from “macho bullshit syndrome.”  I definitely do not view this as a compliment)

Don’t misunderstand me.  All good, hard-working, profit-motivated professionals love competition.  There is absolutely a thrill to victory, particularly if this victory is achieved because of one’s skill and experience.  Though both professionals and amateurs crave competition, the difference, I believe, is this: professionals love to win, while amateurs love to see their opponents lose.

Do you see the difference?

Let’s take an example.  In a limit hold’em game, our player in question is in the big-blind.  A maniac, a man who has been raising far too often with far too weak of holdings, raises in middle position.  Three players call, and our player looks down at 10-3.

Professional:  Muck.  “How can I play this total trash, even if my opponent does raise light?  There is very little value in this hand, and I don’t figure to improve enough to beat four opponents.”

Amateur:  Call.  “I’m so sick of this guy raising my blind.  Even if this hand is crap, and I know it is, I’m going to call because I’m tired of folding.  I want to give this maniac as many opponents as possible.  He’s not going to bully ME!”

The professional is focusing on himself, and his personal successes.  He knows 10-3 is awful, so he won’t put any more money into the pot.  If he isn’t going to win the pot, who cares who does?

The amateur, of course, isn’t focusing on himself.  He’s zeroing in on the maniac, and is making this game of nine players into a one-on-one battle of anger and vengeance.  He doesn’t know if he’s going to win this hand, but he sure as hell wants to see the nut-job lose.  He’s taking a stand!

I’ve heard this silly “strategy” outwardly discussed at the poker table, as though there is actual validity to the argument.  “Don’t let him bully you,” is essentially the message.  It isn’t about him, nerd!  It’s about you!  Why take a stand with the 10-3 when you figure to have a much better hand in the future?  This nut-job IS frustrating, I understand that.  But there will be a time when YOUR hand is good enough to punish him.  Don’t worry about his losses.  They don’t pay your bills.

Running Aces adjusts Weekly Tournament Schedule

Running Aces has announced they will be adjusting their tournament schedule starting this upcoming week.  For those of you who typically attend on Tuesday nights for the MN Poker Mag POY points, we will be moving the POY eligible tournament to a different day and time, TBD.  Here is the new upcoming weekly schedule.

Sunday:  10:30am $40
Monday: 6:00pm freeroll
Tuesday: 2:00pm $40
Wednesday: 10:30am $40
Thursday: 10:30am $40 and 6:00pm $125
Friday: 10:30am $65
Saturday: 10:30am $65 and 2pm $235

$100,000 Guarantee and $59 Rooms

Not only is the Minnesota State Poker Tour posting a $100K Guaranteed prize pool for the MSPT Grand Casino Hinckley Main Event (and all future MSPT events for that matter) but Hinckley is also offering rooms for $59.

There is a block of 100 rooms set aside on Saturday night, November 27th for ONLY $59 each.  You must mention the Minnesota State Poker Tour Block to receive this discounted room rate.

See you all there!

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