Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel-Tama, IA

Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel
Tama, Iowa
March 27-April 3, 2011
Total Prize Pool: $262.656
184 Players in the Main Event

Congratulations to Tom Hujda for taking home the
 HPT Championship Jacket and $77,897!

View the Photos from this Event

Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel-Tama, IA Top 6

First Place

Tom Hujda
Mokena, IL

Second Place

Jesse Green
Harcourt, IA

Third Place

Dan Stromer
Glenvil , NE

Fourth Place

John Joachim
Waverly, IA

Fifth Place

William Liss
Park Ridge, IL

Sixth Place

Everett Carlton
St. Paul, MN


Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel-Tama, IA Top 30 Finishers

PlacePlayerCashPoints Earned
1. Tom Hujda $77,897 1,000
2. Jesse Green $38,948 750
3. Dan Stromer $23,369 600
4. John Joachim $18,176 450
5. William Liss $15,579 400
6. Everett Carlton $12,983 350
7. Bryan Mileski $9,088 300
8. David Gutfreund $7,790 250
9. Penelope True $6,491 200
10. Larry Ormson $5,193 150
11. Gary Zigler $4,414 100
12. Jason Brin $3,895 95
13. Joe Anderson $3,376 90
14. Jeffery Abbas $2,856 85
15. Derek Webb $2,597 80
16. Jason Baker $2,207 75
17. Thomas Dean $2,207 70
18. Steve Sloan $2,207 65
19. Brent Tomlin $2,207 60
20. David Rutledge $2,207 55
21. Joe Bangart $1,766 50
22. Ronald Lacina $1,766 45
23. Jerry Chedester $1,766 40
24. Lawrence Bauer $1,766 35
25. Austin Winter $1,766 30
26. Dashiell Saenz $1,428 25
27. Joshua Andrews $1,428 20
28. Ray Babb $1,428 15
29. Marty Faldet $1,428 10
30. Nicolas Marsh $1,428 5

Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel-Tama, IA Recap

Persistence Pays Family Man $77K


Tama, Iowa (April 4, 2011) - Family man Tom Hujda made the weekend trip alone from Illinois to Iowa’s Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel with one goal: to win enough playing Heartland Poker Tour to buy his two young children a swing set.  After several unsuccessful HPT attempts over the years, any amount would be cause for a family celebration.  Often bringing his wife and kids along on his poker excursions, the 46-year-old Hujda always left empty-handed, never before cashing on HPT.  Hujda persisted, grateful to his supportive wife and enjoying the game despite his losses.  Persistence paid off Sunday night for Hujda, HPT’s newest champ, who left with $77,897, likely enough to buy the best swing set in New Lenox, Illinois.


Hujda, a small business owner, had one of those days that just seemed like destiny.  After making the final table as chip leader, he eliminated a player on the second hand when his ace-king outdrew the pocket jacks of pro player Everett Carlton, sending him home to Minnesota with $12,983 in sixth place. 


“I had such a great time today,” said Hujda, recalling his chip lead throughout the night.


Ultimately heads up with former HPT champion Jesse Green, Hujda seemed to have complete control holding a 4.5- to-1 chip lead.  In the kind of drama HPT’s television audience craves, local farmer Green was able to turn the tables on Hujda and take over the lead.  Tension escalated after an all in re-raise by Hujda, with Green spending several minutes contemplating before making the call.  Green’s pocket sevens dominated the ace-four of Hujda and it looked to be déjŕ vu for Green, who won an HPT event at Meskwaki in 2008.    A river away from his second championship, Green’s sevens held up until a dramatic ace hit the board.


“It just happens,” said Green showing no signs of disappointment.  “Every poker player can tell a story.  I’m just very happy to have come this close.”  Another $38,948 propels his lifetime HPT winnings to six figures.

Green was responsible for another early elimination in the televised final table. In the fourth hand, William Liss, a part-time poker player and full-time college student, lost a race with pocket eights against ace-king.  The fifth-place finish means $15,579 for books or bankroll.


In fourth place was math teacher and basketball coach John Joachim from Waverly, Iowa.  Joachim, who has an impressive HPT record of previous cashes, struggled as the short stack throughout the final table.  After flopping middle pair, he pushed his chips into the middle, only to run into Hujda’s pocket tens on a seven-five-two board.  The 28-year-old adds another $18,176 to his HPT profits.


Sunday’s final table was a homecoming for crowd-favorite Dan Stromer.  Until resigning last fall, Stromer was the well-respected General Manager of Meskwaki for several years.  Now caring full-time for his ailing mother in Nebraska, he returned to his casino home to do something he could never do while on the payroll, play the HPT.  Cheered on by many former employees, his run ended in third place for $23,369 when Hujda’s pocket eights edged out his pocket sevens.


“Dan always made us look good by running great tournaments at Meskwaki,” said HPT Executive Producer Greg Lang, “Now it’s our turn to make him look good on national TV.”  The Iowa event will be produced into two one-hour episodes and aired nationwide in early May.  Station information is available at


Projected to award over one million dollars this month, HPT heads to Golden Gates Casino & Poker Parlour in Black Hawk, Colorado for another televised main event next weekend.  Just a week later, another huge turnout is expected at Majestic Star Casinos in Gary, Indiana as momentum continues to escalate among HPT’s loyal players.


“I’ll be back,” said runner up Jesse Green.


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