Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel - Tama, IA Recap
HPT Pays Out in the Heartland
Tama, Iowa –The Heartland Poker Tour was true to its mission of “Real
People, Unreal Money” Sunday night when a 23-year-old farmer from Baylis, IL
won the latest showdown in the heart of the nation’s heartland. John
Kurfman became the last man standing with a king high at the televised final
table at Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel in Tama, Iowa.
When the flop failed to produce for his opponent’s suited Jack-Ten, Kurfman
thanked Mother Nature. "I'm glad it was raining this weekend, so I could
come up and play," he said, adding that when he is not farming with his
father he’s playing poker.
The tiny Midwestern Tama, situated on the nation’s first automobile road
across America, is one of hundreds of towns historically known to prosper
along Lincoln Highway. The “Main Street Across America” proved especially
prosperous for Kurfman, who earned an $83,916 payday.
“It was a climatic end to a thrilling week,” said HPT Executive Producer
Greg Lang. Earlier in the week, Heartland Poker Tour executives announced a
title sponsorship deal with PokerStars.NET. The partnership with “the
world’s largest poker site” drew attention throughout the industry, as did
news of a deal with Poker VT, the official training site of pro Daniel
It was an impressive culmination for second-place finisher Tim Peters as
well. The 38-year-old business owner road-tripped with his father from
Bloomington, MN, gambling along the way. Although winning enough to buy
into the main event, Peters nearly missed his chance when learned upon
arrival that the event was sold out. Determined, he walked through the
poker room begging to purchase a seat on the open market. Fortunately, he
found a seller, turning his $1100 into $41,958.
Coincidentally, retired iron worker Ron Utley considered selling his main
event seat. The 61-year-old from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, invested just $175 in
a satellite tournament and won a spot in the main event. Although a suited
queen-jack eventually failed him against an Ace high at the final table,
Utley made the right decision to play, netting $25,175 in third place.
Forty-year-old Matt Kaldenberg would have found himself in hot water with
his son if he sold his seat to the main event. The eight-year-old traded a
lucky toy car to his dad for the promise of a vacation if he won.
Kaldenberg’s $19,580 fourth-place finish should land him in salt water if he
pays on his promise to “swim with the dolphins”. The Johnston, IA,
landscaper could have upgraded to first class if Kurfman’s pair of jacks
hadn’t upstaged his Ace-Nine after going all in pre-flop.
After ten main event attempts since season one, Glen Bucholz finally earned
his way onto the HPT set. Being knocked out in fifth place by a flush
against Queen top pair wasn’t all bad for the technical college instructor.
After claiming his $16,783 prize, the 43-year-old faced an eight-hour drive
to make it to his morning class in Detroit Lakes, MN.
Bucholz may boast to his students about outlasting another Minnesotan.
Short stack Kat Day-Coen of St. Croix was the first to go when Tim Peters’
full house defeated her pair of 5's. Day-Coen learned the game at the age
of thirteen by serving as “hands” for her father, a quadriplegic. The
knowledge she gained showing cards to her dad as a child earned the
44-year-old artist a coveted seat at the final table Sunday night. Despite
finishing in sixth place, her $13,986 prize beats the pot typically at stake
at the family poker table. Her husband and two children usually play for