Heartland Poker Tour Prepping For Huge 10th Season in 2014Thursday, November 14th, 2013 by Ryan
While we just wrapped up the World Series of Poker Main Event out in Las Vegas, it’s never too early to look ahead at some great tournament action that we have coming up in 2014. Of course, the poker tournament organizers and the tours themselves that are ran are constantly preparing for the upcoming year and doing anything and everything to continue to improve their events. One of those poker tours that we are definitely interested in checking out in 2014 has to be the Heartland Poker Tour, as they are gearing up for their 10th season, and it should be a good one. The Director of Operations for the Heartland Poker Tour, Jen Mastrud stated that they wanted a “big start” to the year, and this lead to some intriguing early year stops in 2014. It’s likely that the locations alone are likely to draw in some big named players.
When checking out the early schedule for the Heartland Poker Tour, you’ll see that the action starts out in the Caribbean just 12 days after the beginning of the year, on January 12th. They are going to be joining up with CardPlayer Cruises in order to offer a seven-day trip aboard the Royal Caribbean liner, Freedom of the Seas. This is going to be for the tournament series that is called the HPT on the High Seas Main Event, but there will be more than just the big poker tournaments, as they are also going to be offering cash games and a ton of different side tournaments for players as well. Heck, even if you aren’t interested in playing many poker tournaments, you are still going to be able to take advantage of an incredible cruise with Royal Caribbean and head to a very nice destination.
Now, getting over to Florida for the launch of the opening event of the year isn’t easy for everyone, but don’t worry, there is an event just after that in California. The Heartland Poker Tour will be offering an event at the Thunder Valley Casino Resort near Sacramento that is going to run from January 17th to the 26th. There are going to be satellites for the HPT Main Event for this series that start on January 13th, and the Main Event will begin ten days after that on January 23rd. From there, we see the action head to Fresno at the Club One Casino, which will run at the beginning of February.
From there, we get to see the action heading to one of the most popular stops on the Heartland Poker Tour, and it’ll be held in Black Hawk, Colorado, at the Golden Gates Casino & Poker Parlour. This will be the 16th time that there has been an event held here, and it will run from February 7th to February 16th. We’ve seen some huge tournaments at this location in past years, and many players flock to play in these. The prize pools in many of the events have topped a million dollars in recent seasons. It’s looking like, just within the first two months of the year, that we could be in for a whole lot of great poker action from the Heartland Poker Tour.
The HPT isn’t done for 2013 yet either though, as they are having a very strong year, and still have four tournaments left to run through the middle of December. There are going to be stops at the River City Casino in St. Louis, which is currently going on, the Stratosphere in Las Vegas, and then the final event of the year which will be played at the Majestic Star Casino in Indiana. We should see quite a bit of movement in the HPT Player of the Year race from these final tournaments as well.
Currently at the top of the standings for the HPT Player of the Year race, you’ll see a well-known player in Allen Kessler, who has brought in a total of 129 points, and has four final tables through 2013. He definitely has plenty of work to do in order to hold on to that top spot though, as John Michalak is in second just 17 points back, and Kris Wagner with 99 points, Cruz Baca with 96 points, and Mel Wiener with 92 points are all close enough to make a push of their own.
So far throughout the lifetime of the Heartland Poker Tour, there has been over $48 million in prize pools created, and they are well on their way to being considered one of the big time poker tours out there. With not only the strong finish to 2013, but the exciting start to 2014, it’s likely that we could find ourselves writing about the Heartland Poker Tour early and often in 2014, and possibly quite a bit to end 2013 as well.