Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort-Mt. Pleasant, MI Recap
20-Year-Old Online Pro Wins $165K in First Live Tournament
Mount Pleasant, Michigan (5/15/11) – Since the Department of Justice cracked down on online poker last month, the future was uncertain for 20-year-old Jordan Jayne. The Lisle, IL poker pro has amassed $70,000 online, but he’s not old enough to play most major live tournaments. “Black Friday has completely changed my life,” he said, “I used to play eight to ten hours per day, five or six days each week.” Since losing his livelihood, Jayne was contemplating finding a job or enrolling in college. After playing his first-ever live tournament at a Heartland Poker Tour stop at Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort, he has time to consider his options. Besting a field of 386 grinders, some three times his age, Jayne took down the tournament for $165,462 with ace-nine over ace-seven. When HPT’s Jaymz Larson invited Jayne to celebrate with a drink, Jayne reminded him, “I’m not old enough.”
A celebratory drink just became legal for runner up Max Weinberg of Northbrook, IL, another pro. Until what is commonly known as poker’s “Black Friday”, 21-year-old Weinberg typically played most often online. He adds $82,732 to $300,000 in career winnings.
“We’re happy to see online players discover HPT for the first time,” said Executive Producer Greg Lang, “but ultimately, we all want to see the laws change for poker players.”
Traveling to central Michigan for HPT’s event, some of poker’s most-established stars couldn’t avoid questions about Black Friday. HPT producers filmed a round-table discussion on site with three World Series of Poker champs to air this summer. Greg “Fossilman” Raymer, 2004 WSOP Main Event champion, had a worthwhile trip winning a bounty tournament Friday for $9K, although he failed to cash in the Main. Two other WSOP champs also played the Main Event, including Michigan native Tom McEvoy (1983) and 2007 champ Jerry Yang. None of the champions made it to day two. Yang was knocked out early in day one with top pair against a straight on the river.
In sharp contrast to the young guns at the table was 68-year-old Stan Miller of Brant, Michigan. “I don’t play online. I don’t have a computer. I hate computers,” he said. Instead, the great-grandfather, who’s been fine-tuning his game for over half a century, plays seven days a week in local casinos. All in with ace-queen against pocket tens, a ten on the flop meant third place for Miller. With his prize money, he plans to buy his wife a new car. “She’s been bugging me for one for weeks,” said the retired auto worker. The couple, married 46 years, now have $49,639 to take to the car lot.
Nail technician Doung “Johnny” Nguyen’s girlfriend is the beneficiary of his poker profits, requesting a new computer and some money for bills. “I can’t see myself playing poker forever because my girlfriend doesn’t like it,” said the 31-year-old from Grand Blanc, Michigan before filming began at the final table. Finishing in fifth place with ace-ten against ace-queen, Nguyen earned approval for his hobby and $33,093 for his girlfriend.
Poker’s sweetheart, Lacey Jones, charmed HPT players at the felt throughout the weekend. The TV host, model, and pro player tweeted “First time in Michigan and playing the @HPTpokertour. Lovin' how excited I'm feeling about tomorrow's main event!” The excitement turned to disappointment when she bubbled the money Sunday afternoon. All in with a pair of eights pre-flop in the big blind, Jones caught Brad Albrinck bluffing with ten-eight off suit in the small blind. The Cincinnati, OH engineer rivered a four flush with his ten of spades, knocking Jones out just short of the money. Albrinck went on to win $38,608 in fourth place. Always gracious, Jones stuck around to award the cash to Jayne for the TV audience.
The event will be produced into a pair of hour-long episodes and broadcast on a syndicated network this summer. HPT is available in over 100 million US households, throughout Europe, the Middle East, and the Caribbean, airing 52 weeks each year. Broadcast information and schedules for all upcoming events are available at HPTpoker.com.
“My family will be very surprised to see me on TV instead of my son,” said 49-year-old Jim Casement of St. Charles, IL. The lawyer/CPA learned to play poker from his son, accomplished pro Jimmy Casement Jr. With ace-six against ace-queen, Jim Sr. earned $27,577 in sixth place. Unable to make the Michigan tournament, Jimmy Jr. will play HPT next weekend in Reno, Nevada with aspirations to be the first father-son pair to make back-to-back TV tables. The Nevada State Poker Championship is May 13-23 at Peppermill Casino.