Iowa-Prairie Meadows Racetrack Casino Hotel Recap

Persistence Pays at Prairie Meadows

Des Moines Insurance Salesman Wins $57k on HPT

Altoona, IA (March 18, 2013) – If at first he doesn’t succeed, insurance salesman Matt Hennig will try, try again.  The Des Moines, Iowa man has six or seven unsuccessful Heartland Poker Tour attempts under his belt.  When the nationally-televised HPT returned to Prairie Meadows Racetrack Casino Hotel over the weekend, Hennig had extra motivation to come out on top: his upcoming wedding.  He cleared his path to the altar by single-handedly eliminating seven of his eight opponents at the Final Table, turning a $780 investment into an HPT title worth $57,709.


Runner-up Dale Berger also had unfinished business with HPT.  When the nationally-televised tour visited Prairie Meadows for the first time last October, the 58-year old plant manager from Humboldt finished outside the money in 51stplace.  He came back with a vengeance, turning his $600 investment into $35,908 in second place. 


Like Hennig, Samuel Overlien of Baraboo, Wisconsin was also working on his wedding fund at the Final Table.  He scored $16,030 for the big day after finishing in fourth place with jacks against kings


In addition to the competition at the Final Table, Hennig had to get through a field of some of HPT’s most-accomplished players.  HPT’s reigning Player of the Year and four-time champ Greg Raymer survived to day two but was eliminated short of the money.  Three-time champ Jeremy Dresch and Craig Casino, second all-time money leader, suffered similar fates.


The first to fall at the Final Table was well-known pro Allen “Chainsaw” Kessler.  Short-stacked, Kessler made his move with ace-nine against ace-seven.  A couple of sevens on the board sent Kessler to the slot machines for the rest of the afternoon.  He added $1,735 in slot winnings over the weekend to the $6,412 he earned for ninth place.


Hennig’s aces ended Dave Daughton’s tournament life in eighth place.  The superintendent from Corydon, Iowa took home $7,588 after investing just $85.  Randy Perkins suffered a similar fate but enjoyed a similar return on investment.  The equipment operator from Davenport, Iowa made his way into the Main Event for $100.  His sixes ran into Hennig’s jacks for an $8,565 payday in seventh place.


Hennig’s path of destruction continued with a full house to eliminate Cody Griffin of West Fargo, North Dakota in sixth place for $9,832.  Other victims included Dominic Giorango in fifth place for $11,969 and Zal Irani in third place for $21,801, both from the Chicago area.


HPT added some glamour to the Heartland with guest host Tiffany Michelle.  The TV and poker star made the trip from Los Angeles to Altoona, joining her pal Maria Ho at Prairie Meadows.  Ho, a professional player, is a new addition to HPT’s broadcast team in 2013.  Although the pair traveled the world together in an Emmy-award winning season of Amazing Race, they appreciated the Midwest hospitality.  I felt right at home and the HPT gang always makes me feel like family,” said Michelle.


Getting off the beaten path was one of the draws for pros like Kessler, who made the trip from Las Vegas. “Playing HPT takes me to places I wouldn’t normally get to go to, like Iowa, Missouri or Albuquerque” said Kessler, “I’d never go to any of those places if it weren’t for HPT.”


HPT’s next event is already underway in Florence, Indiana at Belterra Casino Resort.  Participation numbers for early events are up over two hundred percent at the popular stop an hour outside of Louisville, Kentucky. A new Main Event champ will be named on Monday.