Iowa - Prairie Meadows Racetrack Casino Hotel Recap
Raymer Grabs Triple Crown at Prairie Meadows
Altoona, IA (October 22, 2012) – Stop us if you’ve heard this before: Greg “Fossilman” Raymer won an HPT championship today. The 2004 World Series of Poker Main Event Champion is on a roll in the Heartland. For the third time in three months, the poker icon from Raleigh, North Carolina found himself on the set of Heartland Poker Tour’s nationally-syndicated TV show. Appropriately, he earned his triple crown at Prairie Meadows Racetrack Casino Hotel just outside of Des Moines in Altoona, Iowa.
Raymer, a longtime friend of HPT, won his first title July 30th at Route 66 Casino Hotel in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In October, he made headlines by doing it again at River City Casino in St Louis, Missouri. His $72,089 score in Iowa brings his winnings on HPT to $265,937 and his lifetime winnings to over $7 million. He is the first person to win three HPT championships in one season. Minnesota’s Jeremy Dresch is the only other three-time champ, earning his titles in 2009 and 2011.
The championship didn’t come without a fight. Raymer fired five bullets in the Main Event before advancing to the Final Table with HPT’s all-time money leader, Craig Casino of Winfield, Illinois. One of HPT’s most-accomplished players, Casino was second in chips to Raymer’s lead going into the Final Table.
Raymer eliminated the threat of another Casino win, knocking him out in third place for $26,275. The event was Casino’s seventh cash on HPT since 2010, bringing his record winnings to $347,207.
Neither Raymer nor Casino anticipated the obstacle that was Chad Lawson, a local pipefitter and single father from Pleasant Hill, Iowa. Lawson had no previous career winnings and invested just $300 into the HPT event compared to Raymer’s investment of $8250 and Casino’s three buy-ins totaling $4950.
“This is what HPT is all about”, said pro Bryan “Devo” Devonshire, who hosted the live stream of the action on HPTpoker.com.
With Casino’s elimination in third place, Lawson faced the world champion heads up with an even stack. Drama on the first hand crippled Lawson but he continued to rally, doubling up several times. Ultimately, his ace-five failed to improve against Raymer’s ace-king, and the local favorite collected $41,771 as the runner-up.
Aside from Raymer and Casino, the other four players at the televised Final Table reported no previous winnings before Monday. Like Lawson, Ed Sinnett got a lot of bang for his buck in his first HPT event. The Clive, Iowa man turned $270 into a fifth-place finish worth $16,978. Sixth-place finisher Josh Birkenbuel of Hamilton, Indiana is celebrating his $14,526 payday. His plan for the prize money is to “have a party.”
For the Prairie Meadows team, the Final Table capped off a thrilling week at the property. “Our employees have been looking forward to the HPT ever since we were selected to host it, and we’re already starting to plan for next year,” said Gary Palmer, Prairie Meadows President and CEO. “Prairie Meadows is thrilled to showcase Heartland Poker Tour, grow our poker fan base, and have the opportunity to work with the terrific team at HPT.”
The busy HPT crew will head next to Route 66 Casino Hotel in Albuquerque, New Mexico, then finish the year with events at the Palms in Las Vegas and Belterra Casino Resort in Florence, Indiana.
When HPT returns to Prairie Meadows in 2013, Ben Stroh of Waterloo, Iowa will likely be in the field. The fourth-place finisher collected $22,233 after following his own advice, "You just got to get in there and play."