The Grand Series at Grand Casino Mille Lacs

"The Grand Series" at the Grand Casino Mille Lacs
Onamia, Minnesota
February 17-24, 2008
 Total Prize Pool: $251,806
Congrats to Dusty Hamers taking home the "HPT Champion Jacket" and $74,642!

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The Grand Series at Grand Casino Mille Lacs Top 6

First Place

Dustin Hamers
Waite Park, MN

Second Place

Ray Bendijo
Ramsey, MN

Third Place

Brad Flanagan
Brainerd, MN

Fourth Place

Gabe Schultz
Faribault, MN

Fifth Place

Brian Midtling
Brownton, MN

Sixth Place

Justin Filtz
Stevens Point, WI


The Grand Series at Grand Casino Mille Lacs Top 30 Finishers

PlacePlayerCashPoints Earned
1. Dustin Hamers $74,642 1,000
2. Ray Bendijo $37,321 750
3. Brad Flanagan $22,393 600
4. Gabe Schultz $17,416 450
5. Brian Midtling $14,928 400
6. Justin Filtz $12,440 350
7. Mike Hackenberger $8,708 300
8. Justin McNicholas $7,464 250
9. Ernest Thomas $6,220 200
10. Paul Ratajczyk $4,976 150
11. Dave Westrum $4,230 100
12. Duane Marquardt $3,732 95
13. Pete Baker $3,234 90
14. Brad Springer $2,737 85
15. Todd Becker $2,488 80
16. Beau Carey $2,115 75
17. Brandon Lamrock $2,115 70
18. Mitch Augeson $2,115 65
19. Brandon Tweeton $2,115 60
20. Chris Olander $2,115 55
21. Robert Lamrock $1,692 50
22. Eric Ramynke $1,692 45
23. Bob Eigenhoer $1,692 40
24. Nik Meuangsaksith $1,692 35
25. Shatara Roehrich $1,692 30
26. Dianna Moder $1,368 25
27. Derek McMaster $1,368 20
28. Joe Moelter $1,368 15
29. Mark DeSec $1,368 10
30. Steven Qualley $1,368 5

The Grand Series at Grand Casino Mille Lacs Recap

The Heartland Poker Tour’s fourth season got under way last week as players traveled from the four corners of the U.S. to play in the “real people” poker tour. Grand Casino Mille Lacs, a regular HPT tour stop and located 90 miles north of Minneapolis, was the host of 2008’s first HPT event. In all, there were five no-limit events and over a 1400 entries for the week’s tournaments.

The main event got under way Sunday morning with 176 players, eager to be the first champion of 2008. All but 36 of those players were able to earn their $1650 seat through the HPT qualifying rounds on Thursday through Saturday. At 1AM Monday morning, a champion was crowned when Dusty Hamers, a 28 year old machine operator from Waite Park, MN, watched a beautiful Ace hit the board, allowing his AQ to prevail over second place finisher Ray Bendijo’s pocket two’s. Hamers, who is a self proclaimed “poker fanatic” took home the $74,642 first place prize (plus a $3000 champions package).

“I told everyone I know that I was going to win this thing”, chuckled Hamers. “I guess I had to do what I said.”

Hamers, who has a full time job at a wood craft company in St. Cloud, MN, admits that his passion for poker has been raging since he was 8 years old. His hobbies include “watching poker”, “reading about poker” and “going on-line to study and read about poker.” His passion paid off this week with his biggest cash to date.

“I definitely think I have the skills to be a pro poker player” said Hamers during his pre-final table interview. “Right now, the only thing stopping me is bankroll. Winning this tournament could put me in the right direction. “

Once again this week the Heartland Poker Tour lived up to its reputation as the only TV poker tour that caters to the smaller buy in, “regular” American poker player. Included on the final table was a plumber, a contractor, a retail home improvement store manager, and an ex-marine.

“We’re thrilled to get the new season under way and to have another diverse and interesting final table” said HPT co-founder Greg Lang. “I know we made a lot of new friends this week that we’ll be seeing down the road. It’s going to be a great year.”

The Heartland Poker Tour will be back on the road March 2nd when the tour makes another stop to Meskwaki Casino in central Iowa. In all there are 16 total tour stops for the HPT in 2008 as far east as New York and as far west as Colorado.