Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel-Tama, IA Recap

Reisner On a Roll Through the Heartland

Tama, Iowa-   The last week of March will go down in history as the best week ever for Bryan Reisner.  Just seven days ago, the 25-year-old student took second place at a televised Heartland Poker Tour event in Minnesota, winning more than $24,000.  The trip was profitable for Reisner before he even got out of the car.   While en route to Shooting Star Casino in Mahnomen, Minnesota, he won an online tournament, securing $8,000.   Taking some advice from his dad, he didn’t quit while he was ahead. 

“My dad encouraged me to not be content with second place,” Reisner said, “he told me to keep pushing myself.”  Reisner’s winning week proves that father does indeed know best. 

As he made his way to the next HPT tournament at Meskwaki Casino Hotel in Tama, Iowa, Reisner picked up $37,000 in another online tourney. “It’s already been the best week ever,” Reisner said before taping began of the final six players Sunday night.  Another $75,938 made it even better.  Heads up against Dave Rutledge, Reisner went all in with king-queen.  Rutledge, of North Mankato, Minnesota, had him beat with pocket nines until the river delivered a king and a crown for Reisner. 

Back-to-back success stories are becoming the standard for the two events on the Heartland Poker Tour scheduled a week apart.  In 2009, Minnesotan Jeremy Dresch became the first two-time champion of the HPT, winning at Shooting Star and again at Meskwaki a week later.  “The only thing better than winning life-changing money on national TV,” said HPT President Todd Anderson, “is winning life-changing money on national TV again.”

Bryan Reisner wasn’t content with second place and he’s not content with two back-to-back HPT final tables.  He’ll head to the HPT’s next stop at Golden Gates Casino & Poker Parlour to try for a hat trick.  Reisner will have plenty of company.  Typically offering the largest prize pools on the HPT, regulars of the tour will begin to descend on Black Hawk, Colorado next week.  Reisner may find himself across the felt again from fifth-place finisher Darren Attebery from Overland Park, Kansas.  A newcomer to tournament play, Attebery now plans to use his$15,188 prize to play more events.

Now filming its sixth season, Heartland Poker Tour crisscrosses the United States each year with a surging number of loyal followers.  “We’re having the time of our lives,” Anderson says, “Every stop is like a reunion of old friends.”    Reisner agrees. “Playing the HPT is like playing a home game,” he says.  That’s exactly what Anderson and Executive Producer Greg Lang were striving for when they founded Heartland Poker Tour in the Midwest five years ago.   “We wanted to provide an opportunity that isn’t intimidating to the casual player,” Lang says, noting the HPT motto, “Real People, Unreal Money.” 

When cameras rolled Sunday, America’s Heartland was well-represented in tiny Tama, Iowa.  The final six players to make the televised final table were from Kansas, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Illinois.  “This event marks the tenth time we’ve hosted the HPT” said Meskwaki General Manager Dan Stromer.  “We know we can count on it to be a solid event attracting a lot of players.”  The HPT’s 268 players in the Main Event helped sell out the hotel both Friday and Saturday night. 

South Dakota farmer Ryan Skluzak made it to the final table after playing fifteen previous HPT events.  His $22,782 payout in third place will help with a new house for his young family.   Fourth-place finisher Jason Fish has been there, done that.  The Urbana, Iowa man took down the HPT at Meskwaki in 2007 and used the prize money towards his wedding and a home.   This time, he gets to splurge on a vacation with his $17,719. 

Sixth-place finisher Ken Rosheisen, Janesville, Wisconsin, is also spending his prize on plane tickets, but he’s not going anywhere.  With $12,656, the retired machinist will treat his wife to a trip overseas and have enough left over to stay behind and play more poker.   


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