Shooting Star Casino-Mahnomen, MN

Shooting Star Casino
Mahnomen, Minnesota
March 13-21, 2010
Total Prize Pool: $164,736
526 Players in the Qualifiers; 172 in the Main Event
Congratulations To Matt Alexander for taking home the
 HPT Championship Jacket and $48,521!

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Shooting Star Casino-Mahnomen, MN Quick Summary

Please check out the full event write up below.

Shooting Star Casino-Mahnomen, MN Top 6

First Place

Matthew Alexander
Robbinsdale, MN

Second Place

Bryan Reisner
Channahon, IL

Third Place

Todd Larson
Bagley, MN

Fourth Place

Wesley Gronhord
Nekoma, ND

Fifth Place

Tom Stambaugh
Nevis, MN

Sixth Place

Steven Madsen
Hillsboro, ND


Shooting Star Casino-Mahnomen, MN Top 30 Finishers

PlacePlayerCashPoints Earned
1. Matthew Alexander $48,521 1,000
2. Bryan Reisner $24,260 750
3. Todd Larson $14,556 600
4. Wesley Gronhord $11,322 450
5. Tom Stambaugh $9,704 400
6. Steven Madsen $8,087 350
7. Bruce Luick $5,661 300
8. Jim Lucke $4,852 250
9. Joseph Guglielmo $4,043 200
10. Casey Conway $3,235 150
11. Eric Hanson $2,750 100
12. Anthony Moses $2,426 95
13. Jason Kramer $2,103 90
14. Trevor Torgerson $1,779 85
15. Aaron Johnson $1,617 80
16. Kory Misialek $1,375 75
17. George Cariveau $1,375 70
18. Michael Torgerson $1,375 65
19. Brian Quam $1,375 60
20. Chris Pierce $1,375 55
21. Bradley Pauly $1,100 50
22. Bryan Pena $1,100 45
23. Mike Cluever $1,100 40
24. Kimberly Pauly $1,100 35
25. Brian Lueck $1,100 30
26. Steve Olson $889 25
27. Harold Anderson $889 20
28. James Gibson $889 15
29. Nick Merts $889 10
30. Michael Marek $889 5

Shooting Star Casino-Mahnomen, MN Recap

MN Man Bets on Himself, Wins $48k

Mahnomen, MN- It’s not uncommon for superstitious poker players to have wallet-sized photos of their kids or grandkids next to their chip stacks for good luck.  Matt Alexander of Robbinsdale, Minnesota relied on himself.  A framed four-by-six glossy of the 28-year-old player did the trick Sunday night during the latest taping of Heartland Poker Tour.


“Right after I had my picture taken, I started running good,” Alexander said.  As the Main Event kicked off Saturday, an HPT staff photographer snapped souvenir photos of players in the field.  Sensing a good vibe, Alexander purchased the photo for ten dollars, finishing out the tournament with his framed headshot propped in front of him.  It turned out to be a good investment.  Alexander, who works as a restaurant host, won $48,521 in first place with pocket aces.


“Matt seemed destined for second place,” said HPT On-Air Tournament Director, Jaymz Larson.  Low on chips when he went heads up against Bryan Reisner of Channahon, Illinois, Alexander doubled up multiple times just before his aces ended the match.  Reisner, finishing second, took home $24,260.   “I have absolutely no plans for the money,” said the 25-year-old self-described “professional student.”  When asked what he’s studying in college, Reisner answered with the same uncertainty, “I have no idea what I want to do with my life.”  One thing he is certain of, he said, is “if you play enough tourneys, eventually you will win one.”  Reisner is planning to play the HPT tournament next weekend at Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel in Tama, Iowa. 


North Dakota farmer Wes Gronhovd played his first-ever HPT tournament, claiming luck got him to the final table.  His luck ran out when he shoved on a board of jack-jack-five with pocket tens and ran into quad jacks.    A month from planting his crops, Gronhovd will use his $11,322 fourth-place prize to play more poker.


Longtime HPT player Tom Stambaugh hoped Sunday’s tournament at Shooting Star would finally be his turn to win.  Since playing in the first-ever Heartland tournament in Minnesota five years ago, the sixth-grade teacher made two previous final tables.  His hopes were crushed when he moved all in with ace-jack and ran into ace-queen, yet Stambaugh left smiling.  “One of the most important rules of poker,” the Nevis, Minnesota man said, “is to leave your ego at the door.”  In fifth place, Stambaugh walked out the door $9,704 richer.


Todd “Tyrone” Larson has also been a regular at HPT events since the tour’s humble beginning in Minnesota, making the televised final table for the first time Sunday.  The live bait broker from the Land of 10,000 Lakes was short-stacked when he moved all in with seven-eight suited.  When a ten came on the flop for Reisner’s king-ten, Larson left in third place.  Not satisfied with his $14,556 prize, he also declared he will try again next week when Heartland Poker Tour goes to Iowa.


The Heartland Poker Tour aims to give “everyday people” a chance to play for life-changing money on a nationally-televised stage.   Now filming season six, Executive Producer Greg Lang credits “real people” for making the show compelling.  “With serious money at stake,” he says, “the players face intense pressure under the lights and in front of the cameras.  The TV audience gets to see how they hold up.” 


Black jack dealer Steve Madsen made his most agonizing decision before stepping into Shooting Star Casino.  He regrettably passed up the opportunity to take his two-year-old daughter to the circus for the first time, instead playing for a chance at life-changing cash.  The prize money could replenish the family’s nest egg at a time when they need it most.  After the economy claimed his wife’s job, the Madsen’s savings dwindled.  Paying just $250 to play, the Hillsboro, North Dakota man scored some chips early in the tournament when his aces held up against kings.   “If I win, I’m going to have to buy my daughter an elephant for the backyard I think.”  Madsen isn’t fencing the yard just yet.  He shoved all in with ace-king against Stambaugh’s pocket queens, leaving him in sixth place.  Winning $8,087, Madsen settled on a more practical gift for his daughter from the HPT merchandise booth.