Hey-eyyy, come out and play!  This is going to be a great weekend of poker, while raising money for the H Foundation. There will be WSOP and WPT Champions and Players of the Year on hand, along with other poker and Chicago personalities.  Click "read more" to get all the details.

Televised 2011 Charity Poker Championship


Winner Take All Table'Twas quite a weekend for Chicago Poker.  Those of you who read regularly, or follow us on Facebook, or on Twitter, know that this past weekend featured the Main Event Charity Games Deep Stack Event, along with the Heads Up Championship, and "Winner Take All" invitational.  These three events generated crowds of hundreds of poker players, and tens of thousands of dollars in cash and prizes.

Local poker enthusiasts, including Richard Roeper, movie critic, TV personality, and co-host of WLS-AM's The Roe Conn Show with Richard Roeper, were joined by 2007 WSOP Main Event winner Jerry Yang, current WPT Player of the Year, Faraz Jaka (a Chicago resident), Mark "Poker Ho" Kroon, WPT Boot Camp instructor Nick Brancato, St. Louis News Anchor Larry Conners (KMOV Channel 4), and our good buddy and new favorite blogger Scotty Clark.

Over the next couple of weeks, we'll share stories, pictures, and results from the series, beginning with this gallery of the Deep Stack final table competitors.


Leonid Sagalovsky Dee Korycki Steven Pedlow Michael Sabbia

Kevin Boyd

Ted Leahy

Jerry Ulrich

Leroy Carver

And the Deep Stack winner?  Nearly $15,000 in cash and prizes went to....


Joliet, IL Rumors are beginning surface that Harrah’s will be opening an eight table poker room in January. Since acquiring the WSOP name Harrah’s has been committed to having poker rooms at all their properties. Over the past few years Harrah’s had lobbied lawmakers to increase gaming positions at Illinois casinos. Harrah’s had plans to open a 20+ poker room in Joliet until lawmakers passed laws allowing business to have slot machines.

Illinois has been experiencing a boom in casino poker rooms during the past few years. To combat declining revenues casinos have been opening small poker rooms. Harrah’s Joliet will be the state's seventh poker room, a notable increase from having just three rooms in 2007. Illinois had experienced an odd trend with state poker room revenues increasing every year since the start of the recession.

Empress reopening to Hollywood Joliet is set for December 28th. Walking through the halls of the site of biggest fire in Joliet history, you can now see the new look of Hollywood Joliet. Elgin with Grand Victoria was the state's leading city for poker room revenues. Joliet, with Harrah’s and Hollywood, could challenge Elgin for top honors.


If you're not in the Deep Stack event, fret not, there's still two days of action, including cash games and satellites to Sunday's $1500 "Winner Take All".

The prize pool for Main Event Charity Game's Deep Stack, the featured event of Windy City Poker Championship's Season 2,  approached $50,000 based on today's Flights G & H.  12 players will advance to Day 2 tonight, joining the 24 players who qualified previously.  Action begins tomorrow noon.  The second bracket of the Head's Up event begins at 3pm, and Winner Take All satellites and undercard tournaments will be running all day.

The Feature Table

Michael Lapidus Shows off his Chips, and his Q BBQ hat

Champs, POYs, Pros, and Hosts

Flight 1f of the MECG $100,000 Deep Stack event, planned to be the flagship tournament of Season 2 of the Windy City Poker Championship was this past Sunday, November 14, at the Irish American Heritage Center.

The current prize pool is $24,948 and growing.  Day 1 Flights G, H, and I are this Friday at the Golden Bear in Alsip, IL, followed by Day 2, Day 3, and several other tournaments on Saturday and Sunday.  Three of the events, including the Deep Stack will be televised.

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WSOP Chanmpion Jerry YangJoin Main Event Charity Games (MECG) and Windy City Poker Championship for three days of televised poker action.  MECG will be running their last three Deep Stack Tournament flights on Friday - Day 1F, 1G, and 1I will be running at Noon, 2pm, and 5pm respectively.  The 5pm flight is already full!

There will be three televised events - the three day Deep Stack Tournament, projecting a $50,000+ prize pool (it is already about $25k and climbing), a Winner-Take-All single table tournament, featuring a $1500 buy-in, and a 16-runner Heads Up Tournament.  These three events will be featured in the Windy City Poker Championship's 11-episode Season 2 - broadcast in 14 states. 

The three-day series will be star-studded, packed with name poker personalities and local celebrities as well. 

Scheduled to appear will be WSOP Main Event Champion (2007) Jerry Yang, WPT Player of the Year (2009/2010) Faraz Jaka, the Poker Ho himself, Mark Kroon, our good friend, STLPoker author, and 2010 Circuit Ring Winner (H.O.R.S.E.) Scotty Clark, WPT Boot Camp professional Nick Brancato, and Chicago Sun-Times Columnist, Movie Critic, and co-host of the Roe Conn Show with Richard Roeper, Richard Roeper.

The schedule of the weekends events looks like this (below).  And the detailed schedule of events, plus registration can be found here.

Complete Weekend Tournament Lineup
Beginning Friday 11/19/10
3 Separate Tournaments will be filmed for TV*

Flights 1G, 1H, 1I Fri 11/19
Heads-Up Tournament- Start Bracket #1 Fri 11/19
Satellites for Deep Stack TV Tournament Fri 11/19
Deep Stack Tournament continuation for
   those advancing in the Flights -
   start at level 9
Sat 11/20 -Feat Table - TV
Heads-Up Tournament- Start Bracket #2 Sat 11/20
Heads-Up Tournament Bracket #1 Final Sat 11/20 - Filmed for TV
Heads-Up Tournament Bracket #2 Final Sat 11/20 - Filmed for TV
Heads-Up Tournament - Final 2 Players Sat 11/20 - Filmed for TV
SNG Qualifiers for "Winner Take All" filmed event Sat 11/20
MTT Qualifiers for "Winner Take All" filmed event Sat 11/20
Regular Early Bird MTT Sat 11/20
Regular Early Evening Deep Stack MTT Sat 11/20
Cash Games Sat 11/20
Final Table Deep Stack Tournament Sun 11/21 - Filmed for TV
MTT Qualifiers for "Winner Take All" filmed
Sun 11/21
"Winner Take All" SNG Tournament.
Sun 11/21 - Filmed for TV
Regular Early Bird MTT Sun 11/21
Regular Early Evening Deep Stack MTT Sun 11/21
Cash Games Sun 11/21

Tonight at 9PM Central on ESPN one young poker player takes down the most coveted bracelet in all of poker, and almost $9 Million.  If you want to be surprised when you watch the broadcast, stop reading now (and avert your gaze from the picture that follows).  If you're like this enthusiast and author, you just couldn't wait, and took in chunks of the nine-handed action, right through head's up play, on ESPN3.com.  The final table played from 9 down to 2 on Saturday afternoon, evening, and night for about 14 hours.  Then, last night, Florida Pro John Racener and French Canadian Jonathan Duhamel sat down to play for all the marbles. 

What follows, text and images, is courtesy of our friends at WSOP.com.



Jonathan Duhamel is the winner of the 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event Championship.

Duhamel, from Boucherville, Quebec became the first Canadian citizen in history to win poker’s world championship.  Two Canadians had previously finished in the runner-up spot in the 41-year-history of poker's undisputed world championship.  Tuan Lam took second place in 2007, to Jerry Yang.  Fellow Canadian Howard Goldfarb did the same in 1995, losing to Dan Harrington.

Duhamel, a 23-year-old poker pro, collected a whopping $8,944,310 in prize money.  He was also presented with the widely-cherished and universally-revered gold and diamond-encrusted gold bracelet, representing the game’s sterling achievement.

The triumph was both a mental and physical marathon.  Duhamel overcame a huge field of 7,319 entrants who entered what was the second-largest WSOP Main Event in history.  The No-Limit Hold’em tournament began on July 5th, and took more than four months to complete, including the customary recess prior to the November Nine.

Re-printed courtesy of our content partner Ante Up Magazine.

In a $1-$2 no-limit hold’em cash game a player raises to $13. Next player wasn’t paying attention and says, “$20,” throwing out $20 in chips. The dealer says it was already $13 so this is a no-raise, giving him back his change. After the hand, I asked the dealer about it. I told him it was my understanding that if somebody raises more than half the previous raise, then they need to make a full raise (in this case, it would have been $11 more than the $13, so $24). He said that’s only in a limit game. Upon further discussion, he agreed if the second player had just said “raise” and put out $20, he would have had to increase it to $24, but saying $20 made it a call. — Crackpot One, via anteupmagazine.com/forum

The “Half Bet” rule deals with half or more bets in limit games when there is an all-in. This is not the case here. In situations involving half a bet or more from a player who isn’t all-in, the player should be required to complete the bet to the minimum raise regardless of whether the game is limit or no-limit. It is important to know the only options are to leave the $20 in the pot and fold, or complete the raise to $24. Taking back the $20 and folding, or raising more than the minimum amount would not be correct.

There is a huge problem with not requiring players in this situation to complete the raise. It opens the door for shot-takers. A good example would be: Player A bets $200, Player B puts $399 in the pot and gets reraised by Player A. At this point Player B declares he didn’t raise, pulls back $199 and folds.

The mistake this dealer made is a common error in this situation. He was trying to apply the “Half Bet” rule in a situation it doesn’t address. This is why it’s important to always ask for a floor person. This dealer had the opportunity to learn the correct rule from a competent floor person if someone had simply asked for a ruling at the table. A lot of people are reluctant to ask for decisions for a variety of reasons, such as being unpopular or looked at as trouble makers. Folks, you are playing for a lot of money these days. You deserve to have the best trained and most well-informed dealers. Assisting in their training on a day-to-day basis by calling for rulings is an enormous help that only you, the player, can give.

— Jody Russell is a veteran poker room manager in Nevada who also runs the Ante Up Poker Room. Email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Get yourself one of these while they last!