What is the HPT?
The Heartland Poker Tour was created for what we like to call “regular” poker enthusiasts. You won’t find any $10,000 buy in tournaments here. Conversely, HPT events are built around relatively inexpensive “qualifiers” that feed the main event. In most cases, 80% of the main event fields get their seat by advancing in one of the popular qualifiers. These qualifiers are essentially large field satellites where players start with 10,000 chips and a decent structure with the goal of winning a seat into the main event. In 2009, all HPT events will have several Qualifiers that will advance either 20% or 30% of the field. Also in 2009, we’re going to start running what we call Super Qualifiers. These “supers” will be even less expensive and will advance either 10% or 15% to the main event.
In describing the Heartland Poker Tour, we often times refer to it as a “fishing trip.” That may sound strange but when you come to an HPT event, you’ll know why. Our events are very casual and a great atmosphere to make friends and have a good time. We call it a fishing trip because it’s a chance to spend your weekend with some buddies, relax, play some cards and in general have a good time. At the end of every event, our goal is that everyone who played had a good time, win or lose.
How it All Started?
The Heartland Poker Tour sprang from the imagination of long-time friends and business associates Greg Lang and Todd Anderson. Four years ago these Fargo ND natives were taking an interest in tournament poker and one night were lamenting the fact there were very few tournament opportunities in their area and certainly nothing with a shot at playing on TV. They estimated there were many people who felt as they did and there was a market for a TV show that catered to “regular” poker players. So in February of 2005, the Heartland Poker Tour was born. In October of that same year the first episode of the Heartland Poker Tour aired on stations in Chicago, Minneapolis, Fargo, and Duluth. The growth of the show exploded and within months, more and more TV stations had picked up the syndicated show. Today, the show airs on over 100 TV stations nationwide and is available in 75 Million U.S. households.
While the HPT has matured into a national brand as well as a “big time” poker tour, the founders of the HPT are constantly working to not only make a better TV show, but to provide a great experience for the players as well as the hosting casinos. As it was in the early days, both Anderson and Lang can be found mingling among the players at every HPT event (and losing money at the cash tables!). Tournament schedules and structures are constantly scrutinized to provide the best possible experience for the tournament goers. Thousands of players across the country have experienced an HPT event and by the looks of things, thousands more will have a chance to play in the years to come.