Indiana-Belterra Casino Resort Recap

Harris Back in the Saddle on HPT

Rancher takes down Belterra event for $95k

Florence, IN (March 25, 2013) – It’s hard to miss Mike Harris in a poker room.  The rancher from New Castle, Wyoming is usually wearing the only cowboy hat in the room and is often sitting behind the biggest stack of chips.  A regular on Heartland Poker Tour, he has three top ten finishes under his belt, including the championship he picked up at Belterra Casino Resort in Florence, Indiana on Monday.  He earned $95,663 and moved to third on HPT’s all-time money list.  Known as much for his kindness as for his hat, Harris graciously thanked HPT, Belterra, and supporters after eliminating Matt James of Hamilton, Ohio.


“We congratulate Mike Harris and look forward to hosting HPT in the future," said Sue Ascanio, Vice President and General Manager of Belterra. HPT will name another champion at the property in a nationally-televised event this October.


Harris, known as “Cowboy” on the tour, took down one of HPT’s biggest fields six months ago for over $245k.  Harris is only the third player to win multiple titles in HPT’s eight-year history.  World champion Greg “Fossilman” Raymer went on a roll late last year and won four titles in four months.  He made an attempt at a fifth title over the weekend at Belterra but didn’t advance to Day 2.  Minnesota’s Jeremy Dresch has three HPT titles to his credit.


New to HPT, James of Hamilton, Ohio invested just $500 in the tournament and walked away with $58,990.  Much of the top prize money will go to Ohio with six of the nine players at the TV table being from the Buckeye State.  Casey Yontz of Columbus takes home $39,858 in third place.  Yontz eliminated Ryan Ashman of Hubbard in fifth place for $21,922.


James took out Robert Matthews of Shelbyville in sixth place with kings and paired kings for the seventh-place elimination of John Michalak of Cleveland.  Matthews returns to Ohio with $17,936, while Michalak made $14,947 off a $360 investment.  It was nines that eliminated Ryan Austin of Westerville as the ninth-place finisher for $10,363.


Although Ohio dominated the Final Table, players travelled from nearly every state to Belterra, a popular gaming resort near Louisville and Cincinnati.  "We are happy to have hosted another highly successful HPT event,” said Ascanio.


Ben Grise of Indianapolis eliminated Crystal Utley of Morganfield, Kentucky in eighth place with queens.  While she took home $12,555, he took her chips all the way to fourth place for $28,299.  In addition to the cash, Utley scored something nearly as valuable: bragging rights at home.  Her husband, John, made day two of the tournament but failed to cash.  Mr. Utley’s next chance to capture the HPT glory is at River City Casino in St. Louis, Missouri next month.