Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel-Tama, IA Recap

Vietnam Vet Scores HPT Championship, $90K


Tama, Iowa (November 7, 2011) - Just days before the nation observes Veterans’ Day, Heartland Poker Tour honored Vietnam Vet Ken Rosheisen as the latest champion of the nationally-televised poker show.  The weekend tournament was Rosheisen’s 10th HPT attempt, second TV table, and his most profitable.  Investing just $360 to play, the retiree takes home $90,598 to Janesville, Wisconsin.

HPT has a long history of supporting veterans through a commitment to the non-profit organization, Disabled American Veterans.  The tour donates one percent of each prize pool to DAV and airs public service announcements in the show 52 weeks each year.


“The sacrifices of our servicemen and women are very much on our minds throughout the year,” said HPT co-founder Greg Lang, “but thanking our vets is especially important to us this week.”  HPT fans can make a donation to DAV in honor of Veterans’ Day by texting the word “champ” to 90999.  Participants will see a five dollar donation applied to their cell phone bills.  “Ken’s victory is well-timed and well-deserved,” Lang added.


In the final hand, runner-up Tim Thompson was short and forced all in with six-seven offsuit against seven-nine suited.  A six on the flop looked promising for Thompson, but Rosheisen rivered a flush for the win.  The plumbing contractor from Illinois will use part of the $45,299 he won to buy his wife a new car.


“I’m happy for Ken and glad he won,” said Thompson, who played HPT for the first time, “He is a great guy and I am happy with the way I played.”


Another HPT first-timer, Jon Lapczenski of Urbandale, Iowa, invested just $45 to play.  The finance student scored an enviable ROI with $21,139 in fourth place.  Fellow Iowan Steve Wilbur turned $360 into $15,100 in sixth place.

A third-place finish for Bret Dolin will keep the 20-year-old grounded.  The University of Iowa student planned to skydive if he won.  The chip leader when filming began, Dolin freefell at the Final Table, but was able to double up once before crash landing.  “It was just a blast,” said Dolin of “the biggest tournament I have ever played.”


Among the new faces on the tour, viewers will recognize HPT regular Ray “Stingray” Bendijo.  The contractor from Minnesota made his 4th HPT TV table.  “It’s always great seeing the HPT family,” he said as his own family supported him from the rail as usual.  “I just wish I could win an HPT championship.”  The fourth time was not a charm for Bendijo, who finished fifth for$18,120.


Several familiar faces in the field were chasing more than the cash.  Champions from 2011 were making one of their final attempts at securing the coveted Player of the Year title.  All players who cash in an HPT Main Event receive points towards POY based on the place they finish.  Michigan champ Jordan Jayne began the weekend a close second to Craig Casino of Illinois after Casino finished 12th at HPT’s last stop in Oklahoma.  Both were upstaged by Oklahoma champ Scott Hastings, who finished 11th to lead the race by five points.


When Hastings won $100,011 last month, he revealed he hadn’t played a single hand of poker in several years.  Before playing HPT, he had only played in two small tournaments previously.  In one, he finished fourth, in the other, he won.  If he becomes HPT’s Player of the Year, he will gain plenty of live tournament experience; the POY receives buy ins to every HPT stop in 2012.


Players have one final chance at the Player of the Year title later this month at HPT’s Championship Open hosted by Soaring Eagle Casino Resort in Mt Pleasant, Michigan.  Any player who can exceed 1100 points in Michigan could become POY, including the latest champ, Ken Rosheisen.  “I’ve been to Soaring Eagle for the HPT and I’m looking forward to heading back,” he said.