Shooting Star Casino-Mahnomen, MN Recap
Dresch Does It Again
Minnesota Man Becomes HPT’s First Three-Time Champ
Mahnomen, MN (March 20, 2011)- Sunday’s final table at Shooting Star Casino Hotel & Event Center will look like a rerun when the latest episode of Heartland Poker Tour airs. Four of the six players won big previously on the nationally-televised poker show, but no one has accomplished more than Jeremy Dresch. The 36-year-old gas station owner from Fridley, Minnesota made headlines when he became the first player to win two HPT championships, scoring the wins back-to-back. Cashing multiple times on HPT, Dresch secured 2009’s coveted Player of the Year award. Dresch entered unchartered territory again Sunday, winning another $47,429 as HPT’s first three-time champion.
Runner up Heidi Roggenkamp has played with Dresch at other tournaments, although she is new to HPT. “Heidi brings a smile to my face,” said the champ, “She is fun and unpredictable.” The Glenwood, Minnesota woman nearly gave up going into the second day of the two-day main event. Dangerously low on chips, the 37-year-old office manager and mother of two said, “I didn’t think I’d be around much longer.” Instead, Roggenkamp doubled up in chips twice early on, eventually joining the final table as the chip leader. Her rally to second-place earned her $23,713.
Jaymz Larson, HPT’s on-air floor director, called the taping, “the all-star show.” Dresch made the trip to Shooting Star with a couple of poker buddies who also made repeat appearances at Sunday’s final table. Matt Alexander won HPT’s Shooting Star event one year ago, and his cousin, Tony Moses, finished third at HPT’s Iowa stop in November. “Sitting at the final table with these two is incredible…almost inconceivable,” said Dresch. “If one of them takes me out,” he said before the action started, “he’ll have bragging rights forever.”
Dan Sun of Cedar Rapids, Iowa made sure that didn’t happen, knocking out both cousins. A full house on the river against a flush took out Alexander in fifth place for $9,485. A straight draw on the river took out Moses in fourth for $11,066. Sun is no stranger to HPT’s TV table either. The computer programmer is fresh from a fourth-place finish at HPT’s last stop in Oklahoma just three weeks ago. Finishing third Sunday for $14,228, he said, “I’m working my way up I guess.”
Repeat offender Dan Zogman just missed another opportunity to play on TV. The Illinois man finished seventh, adding another $5,533 to his six previous cashes. He and his wife, Mary Jo Belcore-Zogman, have amassed just under $400,000, and four TV tables, playing HPT events across the U.S. With seven cashes of her own, Belcore-Zogman was 2008’s Player of the Year.
Sam Wagner, 43, of Moorhead, Minnesota was not intimidated to sit down with the HPT heavyweights while playing his first main event. The 43-year-old salesman said, “There’s a lot of experience there, but we all know how to play poker.” Wagner had magic on his side with some lucky sprinkle dust from his nine-year-old daughter. “It seemed to be working,” he said. The magic ended when Wagner’s flopped pair ran into Sun’s flush, sending him home with $7,904 in sixth place.
HPT will roll next into Tama, Iowa for a televised event at Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel March 27 to April 3rd. The Iowa and Minnesota stops have a combined history of establishing the tour’s Player of the Year. Dresch made his back-to-back run at the two casinos in 2009. A year later, 2010’s POY Brian Reisner was the runner up in Minnesota, then won the championship in Iowa a week later. “I’ll see you in Iowa,” said Dresch.