Monday, September 30, 2013

Semanisin Wins Ho-Chunk Nekoosa’s Pulse Pounding Tournament

On Saturday, September 28, Ho-Chunk Gaming Nekoosa hosted the 3rd Annual Pulse Pounding Poker Tournament, a tournament held in memory of former table games employee Kevin Abbott. I was very excited to take part in this tournament as an invited celebrity bounty, meaning whoever knocked me out would receive $200. The tournament attracted 40 runners, which created a prize pool of $12,500 and raised $1,800 for the Foundation of Saint Joseph's Hospital to the Cardiac, Cancer and Diabetes Funs.

“The Pulse Pounding Tournament event started in 2011," Nekoosa's poker room manager Adam Estes explained. "The previous year, we had a co-worker and friend named Kevin Abbott pass away. He loved poker, dealing and talking to people. We wanted to create an event to honor his memory and raise money to donate to help others in need at the same time. We chose the Foundation at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield as our charity because Kevin had spent time there the past couple years before he passed."

Aside from myself, local radio personalities Kim Carr, Bryan Scott and the entertaining "Panama Jack" served as bounties. Also in attendance was Nikolas Stone, who you might recall as the runner-up in the 2012 World Series of Poker National Championship.

The championship bracelet.
The championship bracelet.

For a small casino in central Wisconsin, Ho-Chunk Nekoosa sure knows how to throw a top-notch poker tournament. The chips and tables were akin to those you’d find on the European Poker Tour, and the structure of the tournament was among the best I’ve ever played. On top of it all, the staff was surprisingly accommodating. They provided players with a full spread of food and drink, and also went out of their way to create a special bracelet for the winner. I have a WSOP bracelet, but believe me when I say the Pulse Pounding silver bracelet looked nice and was something I wanted around my other wrist.

“I give all of the credit to my staff. They are a great group of employees,” Estes said. “They are very knowledgeable in the poker area and spend a great deal of time listening to what the guests would like to see. We always try to cater our tournaments to what our guests want to see. My staff puts forth the extra effort to make sure things run smoothly and attend to the players needs. We talk often about what we could do differently to make tournaments or poker better.”

Unfortunately, things didn’t work out for me and I was sent to the rail in 33rd place or so. I neither played well nor ran well. It’s a bad combination, but I had fun nonetheless, even when I had to ship my bounty chip over to a young local player named Will. He played well and I was surprised that he didn’t cash in the tournament (well aside from my $200 bounty of course).

Here’s a look at those players that did cash in the 3rd Annual Pulse Punding Poker Tournament:

The winner of the event, Miroslav Semanisin.
The winner of the event, Miroslav Semanisin.

3rd Annual Pulse Pounding Final Table

1stMiroslav Semanisin$3,500*
2ndKevin Koscal$3,000*
3rdTroy Miller$3,000*
4thDavid Nelson$1,250
5thBen Rock$1,000
6thRobin Weideman$750

*Denotes three-handed deal.

Ho-Chunk Nekoosa’s next big tournament will be held in December. You can learn more on that event, and view other photos from the Pulse Punding tournament, by liking Ho-Chunk Nekoosa's page on Facebook.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter @ChadAHolloway for more poker articles, stories and musings from the tournament trail.

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