Changes Being Made to Heartland Poker TourTuesday, January 15th, 2013 by Ryan
The Heartland Poker Tour had one heck of a year in 2012, and while the season was strong, they’ve decided not to sit back and just be content with a strong season. The tour decided that they were going to take things to the next level and make a few changes to Season Nine that could potentially take it to a whole different level. The changes feature a few different things, and the idea is that they are going to soon become one of the most talked about and popular “minor league” poker tournament circuits out there, and could end up taking them to another level.
One of the first changes that was made to the Heartland Poker Tour for 2013 is the layout and blind structure that is done for the Main Event. They’ve brought in one of the most talked about and popular poker players in the game for this in Daniel Negreanu. The blind structure at the HPT has been changed multiple times in the past, including one back in 2011 from Annie Duke, but the changes in this one were handed over to Negreanu, and as the Executive Producer of the HPT, Fred Bevill said that they wanted to have the “best possible structure”, so they “went to the best.”
When creating the new blind structure for the Heartland Poker Tour, Negreanu took a few different things into account, and first off the tournament series makes sure that their events can be played over a single weekend. Unlike many other poker tournaments that have events that run over multiple days. Negreanu pointed out that he thought that the ante structure was a bit off, and that there were some “crucial jumps” that needed to be fixed also. There were additional changes that were made on top of just the blind structure, starting with the fact that the HPT has changed to nine handed final tables instead of the six handed final tables. Negreanu has made sure to give players the chance to get max value for buy-in’s, and those who make it into Day Two of the event are going to see fifty minute levels that will run through Level 24. From there the blind levels will be an hour long through the final table. For the blind structure, things are looking like they could be improved, but the television product is going to be changed as well for the HPT in 2013. Not only will players of over 100 million US households be able to see the Heartland Poker Tour events, but they are looking into different options to allow international poker fans to watch as well. The team who broadcasts the event is going to be changing also, as Bevill will be leading the charge with Maria Ho in the broadcast booth as well, making her the first female poker commentator, and replacing Chris Hanson.
Mario Ho was very excited about being on the show, and it’s going to start off with everything new this coming week actually, which will make it an interesting show to watch. The action starts on January 19th, and the event will start from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It is the event called the HPT on the High Seas, and will take place on the MSC Poesia. The event is an $1100 Main Event that runs on this nice boat, and it is actually hosted by CardPlayer Cruises. The cruise is going to feature some different parties, seminars, and stops at exotic locations, so even players who aren’t focused in the poker are going to be able to take part in the fun action. Some of the stops are going to include the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Honduras, and Mexico.
The second event of 2013 for the Heartland Poker Tour won’t start for a bit after that, as it will begin on March 1st, and will run through the 10th of the month. The stop is in Black Hawk, Colorado at the Golden Gates Casino. From there they will be hosting additional events such as the River City Casino event in St. Louis, Missouri, and also the stop for the Heartland Poker Tour’s Championship Open at the Balterra Casino Resort in Florence, Indiana.
To quickly recap 2012, you probably remember the fact that Greg Raymer simply went to work throughout the year. He won four different events on the tour, and took down the Heartland Poker Tour Player of the Year race. Raymer talked often about how much he enjoyed playing on the HPT, and there were quite a few other big named players in the events also, such as Will “The Thrill” Failla, who won the St. Louis event.