Poker Room Opens July 9

24/7 operations resume with Texas hold ’em added to existing table games

Poker returns to Canterbury Park on Thursday, July 9 as the Shakopee, Minn. card casino, which has already been offering table games such as blackjack since June 15, expands its hours of operation to 24/7. When the poker room reopens at 10 a.m., the 14 tables dedicated to poker will initially offer Texas hold ’em with limits ranging from $3-$6 to $40-$80.

“It is time to start dealing poker again, and with the experience we have gained running table

Michael Hochman

games, we are extremely well prepared,” Vice President of Card Casino Operations Michael Hochman said. “When poker will return has been one of the most-asked questions I have fielded since March. I am glad to have the answer now and look forward to July 9 when we put the cards in the air.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canterbury Park suspended all operations in mid-March. The card casino reopened June 15 to table games with added safety precautions. The number of players per table was reduced and acrylic shields installed. Face masks were required of all employees and players. Poker will operate with the same measures in place. Poker tables which normally would be nine-handed will host a maximum of six players plus the dealer. The tables themselves are spread further apart than in the past. Table-side beverage service will continue to be offered, however dining at the table will not be allowed. Chips will be sanitized on a daily basis and decks of cards rotated out of play regularly.

“Disinfecting is a constant process that we take very seriously.  The acrylic barriers we’ve designed offer another layer of protection for both our team members and our guests,” Hochman said. “We’ll have a bottle of hand sanitizer on top of every dealer button on every single table.”

While not yet scheduled, Hochman is planning a return of poker tournament play, very popular amongst players, in August.

Thanksgiving Week at Canterbury Park Race Book

Tampa Bay Downs begins its 94th season of racing this Wednesday with an 11:25 a.m. first post.  Long-time local race fans will notice a familiar face offering selections in the competitive fields as Matt Carothers will handle those duties for the 90-day season. Carothers was Canterbury’s racing analyst in the early Park years before leaving for Monmouth and eventually TVG. Richard Grunder handles lead vocals as always.

To celebrate the start of the popular race meet, Canterbury Park Race Book will offer a 5 percent rebate on all Tampa Bay Downs wagers made Wednesday using an MVP Rewards card. The rebate will be awarded in the form of MVP Rewards points.

The Fair Grounds in New Orleans returns to the tradition of opening on Thanksgiving Day and Canterbury has all the action covered. Fair Grounds’ nine-race card begins at noon and features the Thanksgiving Classic Stakes.  Holiday racing Thursday also includes Churchill Downs,  Aqueduct and Golden Gate Fields. Here is the simulcast calendar for the remainder of the month.

The popular Black Friday Giveaway returns in both the Card Casino and the Race Book with 140 prize winners building wide.  Drawings for multiple winners will be held every half hour in each location from noon to 5:30 p.m. with an Unclaimed Prize Drawing at 6 p.m.

Check these links for participation details in both the Card Casino and Race Book and how you keep your MVP Rewards card active throughout the promotion.

Handicapping contests this week include the Thursday through Saturday Horse Player World Series Super Satellite and the return of In The Money Contest both Friday and Saturday.

Brandon Welter: From Platinum Pass to $35,000 Cash

Brandon Welter, a regular in the Canterbury Park poker room, works as an actuary. He puts his knowledge of statistics and probability to use when he navigates the action on the felt.

Still, he probably didn’t want to calculate his odds of winning the PokerStars Players Championship, where he went up against some of the best players in the world.

During the Mid-States Poker Tour’s 2018 finale at Canterbury Park in December, Welter won a Platinum Pass to the PokerStars Players Championship, held in the Bahamas from Jan. 6-10. The Platinum Pass included the $25,000 buy-in, as well as travel and hotel accommodations.

“It was a really cool experience,” said Welter, 24. “It was a lot more money than I had ever played for.”

Despite going up against a tough lineup of players, Welter was able to cash in the event, busting out in 151st place for a $35,000 payday.

Playing the Best

Sitting down in a $25,000 buy-in event was a little different for Welter, who regularly plays tournaments here and cash games when he ventures to Las Vegas a few times a year.

At the outset of the tournament — with figures such as Chris Moneymaker, Daniel Negreanu and Steve O’Dwyer in the room — Welter said he was playing a bit too tight.

Brandon Welter Canterbury Park Poker Players Championship Poker Stars“It was nerve-wracking and I was anxious. I was definitely not playing my optimal game,” he said. “But I eventually got over that.”

Once he settled into the flow of the tournament, Welter said he realized that the game “wasn’t that much of a step up” from the quality of play in tournaments at Canterbury Park.

“The competition in Minnesota is really good too,” he said, adding that the players in the PokerStars Players Championship are “just more well-rounded.”

Overall, Welter said he thought he played well in the tourney. “That’s the best I could ask for.”

Memorable Hands, Payouts

On Day 2, with about 80,000 in chips, Welter found himself all in with QQ and ran into a player with AA who had him covered.

Fortunately, he spiked a queen on the turn, keeping him alive for the $5.1 million first-place prize, which was eventually taken down by fellow Platinum Pass player Ramon Colillas.

“That was a pretty pivotal hand for me,” Welter said.

As the money bubble approached, he found himself with about seven big blinds.

“It was pretty crazy. I felt nowhere near safe,” Welter said.

Making the money was “a huge relief,” he said, but he was also happy to reach the next pay jump, securing $35,000.

Welter eventually busted out when he ran his 44 into Q-10 and his opponent hit two pair.

Rather than disappointment, however, “it was nothing but excitement,” he said, and he was glad to be able to celebrate the cash with his brother, who came along for the trip. Welter said they celebrated a bit that evening at the bar and placed some sports bets in the casino.

Looking Back and Ahead

What does a 24-year-old who hit a five-figure cash plan to do with the money?

“Pay off some debts,” Welter said.

But he also plans to use some of the winnings for poker, as well as “something fun” that he hasn’t decided on yet.

Looking back at the experience as a whole, Welter said he felt lucky, from winning the Platinum Pass at Canterbury Park to battling on the felt with players he admires.


Poker Diaries Part 2: The Hall of Fame Worthy Kou Vang

By Michael Iverson

The leaves are starting to turn and the temperatures are starting to drop. If you have lived in the Midwest long enough you know that summer is officially over. I often find myself in a trance when driving through the country watching the colors change from tree to tree.

Poker can be eerily similar to the changing seasons.

We always see the rise of players, only to never hear of them again, whether they fall on hard times, a bad run of cards or they simply move on to bigger and better things. However, if you have played in the Midwest long enough you can encounter that stubborn tree, the one that never goes away. The leaves are changing year after year but this particular tree is always around and it’s about time this player is recognized by the community for what he truly is, a living legend in the state of Minnesota.

Kou Vang: A Hall of Famer in My Book

Kou Vang’s name is mentioned every year in early to late September as we gear up for the Fall Poker Classic at Canterbury Park.

2018 Fall Poker Classic: Oct. 5-21

FPC_featured_2018Not only is this tournament series a staple for the poker community in the region, but it is also when the unveiling of the newest member of the Poker Hall of Fame is decided. The poker community throws names around like Bryan Mileski (Mid-States Poker Tour founder), Rob Waz Waz and even some of the cash game greats like Brian Clark or John Hoppmann.

I truly believe that some of these if not all of these players/ambassadors of the game will eventually get the recognition they deserve, but this year my nomination for the Hall of Fame would have to go to Vang.

Vang has managed to amass $1,431,308 in career live winnings over a series of 166 cashes, spanning a period of roughly 12 years, according to Hendon Mob. Some might look at that and not understand how amazing those numbers are in the Midwest, so let’s dive into them a little.

Winning Ways

The winnings equate to $120,000 on average per year over the course of 13 cashes or roughly $9,000 per cash. Considering that most of the tournaments offered in the Midwest are mid- to low-stakes tournaments, the numbers become more impressive.

Tyree Johnson Canterbury dealer MSPT final tableLooking at the numbers further as far as tournament play goes, Kou is a regular on the MSPT and was recognized during the Regional event at Canterbury Park in early August. Kou Vang was the first player to meet the criteria to be inducted into the MSPT Hall of Fame, which I can assure you is no easy task. The MSPT in my opinion is the premier tour in the area as it has consistently exceeded its guarantees and the staff that runs the tour (Bryan Mileski, Eric Anderson and Chad Holloway to recognize a few its employees) are top notch.

Not only did Vang receive the HOF honor in August, he followed that up by making the final table of the next Main Event at Canterbury, finishing runner up to three-time champion and current Hall of Fame member, Mr. Blake Bohn.

Is it a coincidence the same people are constantly putting themselves in position to not only cash but to win events (Vang, Bohn, Rich Alsup, Aaron Johnson to name a few)? This is how greatness is established, surviving the test of time and being in these spots over and over again.

An Ambassador of the Game

Besides the numerous accolades that Kou is starting to receive for his consistent play over the years he has also been a great ambassador for the game. If you follow Kou on Twitter, although he does not tweet as much as he use to he will always voice his opinion to improve the game.

Kou Vang (Photo by MSPT)

A constant debate in the community is structures and payouts for tournaments. Kou has never been shy to offer his time to discuss the issues with management at local establishments in an effort to have a voice for the players. It is not to say that I don’t think management would listen to me. But let’s be honest, are you going to listen to a guy that plays 15 tournaments a year or are you going to listen to a guy that plays every major event that comes through the area?

It can be difficult to be an “ambassador” of the game. However, I think Kou does a great job promoting positive changes. In addition, Kou will always take the time to talk to the local players.

At the Table with Vang

I remember the first time I played with Kou at a an event and although he did not know who I was I was very much aware of his reputation.

He took the time to compliment a few of my plays and although I did not cash and I could have been just another “Joe” I often found myself at his table and in discussion with him from that point forward.

I will admit I have been fortunate to be on the right side of some coolers against him, such as the good old AA vs. KK, but those situations have also kept the dialogue going between Kou and me.

I have been down at Council Bluffs and he would always chat with me on a break, I’ve been on the dinner break of Canterbury events and he has invited me to sit by him to eat. Heck, he even free rolled me into an MSPT event, as someone that has only played a handful of the main events that opportunity will be embedded with me forever.

Similar to how Bohn put a kid into the Canterbury event, am I the only one that thinks about karma (Blake won the event!). These are things that cannot go over looked. The main players find themselves in the spotlight and doing the “right” thing or making someone else’s day. Kou is one of those guys!

Hall of Fame Nomination 

In reading this you might be wondering what does this have to do with a Hall of Fame nomination. Well, the way I see the Hall of Fame is your character and conduct away from the table should be factored in besides your play at the table. Kou could have done those things for someone else or did do the same thing for someone else; the reality is he did it for me.

I am choosing to be a voice for a humbled person that is not out promoting himself as none of the greats ever do that. The greats need people to speak up and offer opinions or information the decision makers may not know. It is not to say that other candidates do not have similar accolades and that is what makes voting for the Hall of Fame so difficult.

I know that Kou will get into the Hall of Fame someday, but my hope is that “someday” is approaching very soon. I do not benefit in anyway by writing about these players or sharing my thoughts, but as a fan of the game I do like to recognize the “idols” as I see them.

Is this Kou’s year, only time will tell. My guess is whether he gets in this year or next year, you will still see him at the table and maybe, just maybe you will get a smirk or a quick glance from him as he is methodically analyzing the hand and how to accumulate all of your chips.

Please note, this article doesn’t even discuss Kou’s online poker achievements as those accomplishments and success would only improve his case to get into the HOF.

Michael Iverson is a recreational poker player who primarily plays 8/16 and 20/40 Hold’em along with multi-table tournaments at Canterbury Park. He is a contract manager in the legal department at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Michael lives in Stewartville, Minn., with his wife, Andrea and three children Gavin (9), Mackenzie (8) and Blake (4).

Canterbury Poker Dealer Wanted to Win MSPT Event ‘For the Home Team’

Tyree Johnson took eighth place, winning $11,000.

Tyree Johnson has been a poker dealer at Canterbury Park for more than three years.

Tyree Johnson poker MSPTAnd when he made the final table at during the September 2018 Mid-States Poker Tour $1,100 buy-in event, Johnson had the support of his fellow dealers.

“I was thinking, ‘Do it for the home team.’ Not just for me, but for us,” he said.

Johnson considers himself a part-time dealer and part-time player, and got into poker like so many others, following the Moneymaker boom.

His eighth-place finish at the MSPT event, which concluded Sept. 16, came against some of the more well-known players on the local poker scene. The state’s all-time money leader, Blake Bohn (a Minnesota Poker Hall of Famer), won the title and the $94,776 first prize.

“I fell a little short (of first),” Johnson said. “I wanted to bring it home, but they got me. … It was a stacked final table.”

Still, he can take solace in the fact that he came away with an $11,000 payday, though it’s not the biggest win of his poker career. Last April he won a World Series of Poker Circuit championship in Iowa for $25,000.

Hand Highlight

Johnson’s MSPT run got off to a fast start. He recalled a hand during the early levels that helped swell his chip stack.

In the small blind with AK of diamonds, the action quickly built around the table, and Johnson ended up facing two all-ins. He studied the players and opted to make the call.

Both players held QQ. An ace fell and the board ran out clean as Johnson nearly tripled up.

“That’s what started the run right there, for sure,” he said.

Dealing and Playing

Johnson said being a poker dealer has helped his game in several ways:

• Picking up on live reads
• Recognizing betting patterns
• Identifying player tendencies
• Focusing at the table

“Dealing — it really helps me out in the long run,” he said.
Tyree Johnson Poker dealer MSPT blog
As a dealer, he said he has an accurate read on hands about 80 percent of the time, and running a game helps him focus on the action and the players.

Plus, he said, “I take my craft seriously,” and recalled a rare misdealt card. “That hurt.”

Hole Cards Camera and Busting Out

After being near the top of the leaderboard throughout the MSPT event, Johnson found himself playing at a final table with several strong players, including Bohn and local pro Kou Vang.

But he said playing with hole cards cameras for the first time (the MSPT broadcasts the final table action) may have had an impact on his play. Looking back on the hand in which he busted out, Johnson said that in retrospect he could have tried to jump up in pay levels.

With A4 in the small blind and Bohn with a big stack in the big, Johnson said he knew he was ahead but his opponent would likely call him light, given the chip stacks. He opted to put it all in the middle, and Bohn called with A3. A trey hit and Johnson was out in eighth place.

He said the fact that the final table was being broadcast might have affected his decision — he may have found a fold and tried to find a way to level up.

“But my mind told me to go for the win,” Johnson said.

Looking Ahead

Johnson said he has found sustained success at the poker tables over the past two years, but he plans to continue dealing at Canterbury Park.

Even after his second MSPT cash, he was back dealing the next day.

“Bright and early, too,” Johnson said.


Poker Diaries Part 1: John Reading

By Michael Iverson

Michael Iverson is a recreational poker player who primarily plays 8/16 and 20/40 Hold’em along with multi-table tournaments at Canterbury Park. He is a contract manager in the legal department at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Michael lives in Stewartville, Minn., with his wife, Andrea and three children Gavin (9), Mackenzie (8) and Blake (4).

We all have that defining moment that sets up most relationships.

Those occurrences can happen at times when no one is expecting anything to come of it.

In April 2015, I like many others before and after me made the trip to Council Bluffs, Iowa, for an opportunity to try and win a WSOP Circuit Event. I stayed for the weekend, busted the events I played but somehow still left satisfied with how the weekend played out.

I was playing my final event of the series and I had young gentlemen on my direct left who was very quiet but also very attentive to what was going on. As a fan of the game and someone that follows the results of the previous events, I was certain that I had seen his photo over the weekend. It was in fact John Reading, winner of Event 6, $365 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better for just over $10,000.

I immediately confirmed it was him on Hendon Mob and engaged conversation with John.

(Ed note: If you’re interested in blogging about poker for Canterbury Park email

Meeting John

John is soft spoken but he gives you all of his attention and is really listening to what you have to say whether you are meeting him for the first time or if you are one of his friends. If you really think about it, it is extremely hard to find in this day and age where everyone is ready to speak versus listening to what is being said.

Being the “big shot” (extreme sarcasm) that I am I let John know that I was following Kou Vang and his outcome at Running Aces where Kou was able to win the 2015 Spring Poker Classic for more than $40,000. I had no idea that John and Kou were friends but John appreciated me telling him that Kou won the tournament.

We were able to play for a few hours together before I busted. We traded stories and engaged in general poker conversation. I wished John the best of luck before I left the tournament area as John was also fighting for the player of the series for a seat in the National Championship. He ended up with a first, third and ninth, and fell just short of earning the free $10,000 seat.

Place at the Table

I drove the five hours back home to my wife and kids in Minnesota and was asked how everything went. I said that I lost but I met a really interesting “kid” as I told my wife, Andrea. I explained that John was different from most that you run into at the table. She gave me the typical laugh and look she gives when I tell her my stories of the felt.

I proceeded to follow John over the course of the summer via any poker update I could find as I knew he would be playing the WSOP in Las Vegas. It was Event 6, where he achieved poker immortality when he captured the WSOP bracelet in the $1,000 hyper turbo event for $252,068.

John was able to rack up five more cashes before he found himself at another final table, this time being in the $1,111 Little One for One-Drop Event 61, where he took fourth for another $212,559.

To say that summer was life changing might be an understatement. John had cashed seven times for almost $500,000.

That type of money can change people for better or for worse but it can ultimately change you. What I found when that summer was over is the “boy” I had met in Council Bluffs was the exact same. He was a humbled, young man that would always take the time to talk with you.

Of course John had his “inner circle” that he would discuss strategy and hand histories with, including Kou Vang and Aaron Johnson, but he was still the same guy.

Pleasant Company

John and I have exchanged messages on social media over the years and if we bump into each other at local event will exchange pleasantries.

John & Brittany
John & Brittany

John has even purchased a piece of me in a couple events and I would love nothing more than to be able to share a victory with him. Not just because of the money but the fact that he believed in me. I do not play much outside of the fall and winter events, as my family obligations pull me from the tables, but I am such a fan of most of the players.

The local guys might not realize it but in some peoples mind (“especially mine”) you are the Minnesota versions of a celebrity at the poker table. I genuinely look up to these guys and get excited when one of them acknowledges me, whether that be Blake Bohn, Kou Vang, Jonathan Hanner, Aaron Johnson, Paul Cross… the list goes on.

I am not intimidated by them at the table because, as my dad always says, “everyone only gets two cards,” but I always find it such a great learning experience to play with them and hear the stories of traveling the country and chasing glory. I especially love hearing about the stories away from the felt as it shows they have balance between poker and life.

Away from the Tables

John has amassed 56 cashes and almost $900,000 in tournament winnings since 2011. One would think, “geez this guy has a real future in poker.” No doubt in my mind that John will always have a place in poker but John did something in the past few years that most do not do that are part of the game.

John received his degree at Luther College in 2013 and just completed his master’s at the University of St. Thomas in counseling psychology.

I recall speaking with John this past spring about school and he was in the home stretch. He loves the power of the mind and how people go through thought processes and evaluate things. The level to which John processes things I cannot even begin to explain or even attempt to explain, but that isn’t the greatest thing that happened to John over the past few years.

John also met Brittany Hassman. And let me tell you, a girl can change your life in so many ways. John and Brittany are set to exchange vows this coming September. I sent John a private message when I learned of his engagement telling him that I believe finding the “right” one is a “game changer” and that was not meant to be a negative. If you follow John on social media you can see how much Brittany means to John and vice versa.

I always believe that John will have a place at the poker table because he studies the game and thinks at a much deeper level than your average recreational player, hence why John is a “pro.” I am a fan of the game and I can have my moments, but when you talk with people that think at a whole different level it can be extremely humbling and it makes you want to work harder at your own.

John is a hard worker, a humbled young man and soon-to-be husband. If you ever have the luxury of playing with him at the table do not hesitate to talk with him because you might be surprised to find out that not only is he listening to your every word but it could be the beginning of what I presume to be a lifelong relationship.


Drew Lee: From the Radio Booth to the Poker Tables

Interviewing people on the radio for Twin Cities News Talk has its advantages at the poker table.

So says Drew Lee, co-host of “Justice and Drew,” the morning show on KTLK.

“You have to get good at extracting information,” Lee said in the Card Casino at Canterbury Park on July 11, a few minutes before he entered a tournament. “You look for tells in interviews — asking questions that lead to better content. It’s not that dissimilar at a poker table.”

Early Adopter

The 45-year-old began playing poker in his father’s regular home games in Florida when he was 13 years old.

Lee, who moved to Minnesota in 2010 and also hosts the Minnesota Beercast, now plays in 2-3 tournaments a week.

“We did a four-way chop the first time I played a tourney, and I’ve loved it ever since,” he said. “I just love poker. It’s not my only hobby but it’s definitely my biggest hobby.”

Lee said he typically pays in the tournaments at Canterbury Park, often a morning $35 and $50 buy-in event or occasionally something larger like Cheap & Deep.

Cheap & Deep Run

While he most often plays the smaller events, Lee said he once got into a two-day tournament and was hooked.

Cheap and Deep Promo“Boy, I just loved that,” he said. And he set a goal for himself: Make it to Day 2.

Lee did so at the most recent Cheap & Deep event at Canterbury Park, eventually coming in 10th place. “That was really a fun experience,” he said.

With a bigger buy-in, Lee said he knows the players are better, but there are advantages to playing at a higher level of competition.

“They respect the story you’re trying to tell and they tell more consistent stories,” said Lee, who lives in Eden Prairie. “But playing in larger tournaments is definitely more mentally challenging.”

Familiar Faces

Lee — who has a regular home game with a bounty tournament format — said he enjoys playing poker at Canterbury Park.

It’s a friendly atmosphere, he said, and gave an example of that amicable vibe following a hand in a tournament.

With a middle pocket pair, Lee raised preflop and continued betting each street. His opponent picked up a bigger pair and called him down all the way. After the hand, his tablemate leaned over and told him, “I know that’s how you play your pocket pairs.”

Lee appreciated the tip.

“So I don’t play them that way anymore, especially with him at the table,” Lee said. “The camaraderie is palpable here, it really is. I can’t remember a time when I had a negative experience with another player.”

Love of the Game

What Lee likes about poker is the challenge of evaluating his own hand relative to his opponent’s.

“It’s like a puzzle,” he said, noting that he enjoys Sudoko, Killer Sudoko and other similar games. “You’re trying to figure out where you are at any given time.”

Each hand is a self-contained moment and maximizing profits and minimizing losses is vital, he said.

“Winning the situation,” Lee said. “The mental aspect of it is just a lot of fun.”


Matt Hamilton on Poker and Playing in the WSOP Main Event

By Matt Hamilton

Hey! My name is Matt Hamilton. Before I chat about poker, I’d like to briefly introduce myself.

I’m 27 years old, married, with one girl and another kiddo on the way. I live and work in North Minneapolis, and absolutely love it there.

Poker at Canterbury ParkI work with young people, and can say with confidence that many of the skills and disciplines I’ve attained through playing poker have translated to my work with youth, and vice versa.

I love the game of poker, specifically No-Limit Hold’em. I’ve played competitively since I turned 18, but I started to take it very seriously after I moved to Minneapolis four years ago. When I realized I could play substantial tournaments on a weekly basis at Canterbury Park, I was stoked!

(Ed note: If you’re interested in blogging about poker for Canterbury Park email


This year I had the privilege and opportunity to play in Las Vegas at the World Series of Poker.

I went once when I turned 21 and played one event, but haven’t been able to go back until this year.

While there this year, I played in The Marathon and The Main Event. I’m incredibly grateful that I got the opportunity to play both events, though I did not cash either of them.

I busted Day 2 of The Marathon and Day 3 of The Main, approaching the money bubble in both tournaments. Though it didn’t feel great to play for so long and not feel any reward in both cases, I got the opportunity to play with some great players, practice concepts of the game I’ve been working on, and embrace the magical ambience that is the WSOP.


Since returning home, I’ve taken time to do some reflecting on my experiences from the WSOP.

I put together some insights I hope can be helpful for players who are considering taking shots at some bigger events that would normally be outside of their price point, or just looking to be a better player in general for the stakes they normally play.


Don’t let the buy-in amount dictate the way you play.

There were a few spots in The Main where I made some very conservative folds that in hindsight were pretty clear mistakes:

• Folding JJ pre-flop to a 15 big blind shove and a call in front of me.

• Folding AKs facing a four-bet after three-betting small blind vs button pre-flop.

It can be easy to get overwhelmed when facing big decisions, and end up being overly cautious in certain spots because you don’t want to bust out in a big tournament. However, getting stuck in this mindset will allow better players to run over us and take advantage of us.

Don’t ride the emotional rollercoaster.

Tournament poker is a tough grind. It’s filled with mostly moments of disappointing results, with a few moments of success mixed in.

If you focus on the result and let that dictate how you feel, you’ll be mostly miserable, and who wants that? Busting The Main sucked, but I’m over it. Appreciate the strategy behind the game, focus on improving mistakes, and remove emotion from the equation.

Don’t get too upset when you lose and don’t be too overjoyed when you win.

Study, pay attention, and make adjustments.

I’ve been putting in some serious hours over the last year studying. I can’t emphasize how important this has been for me.

There are plenty of ways you can study, and plenty of price points, from free content online to paying large amounts for individual coaching. A good place to start is watching twitch streams (Jason Somerville is my personal favorite, and you can watch tons of past videos of his for free on Twitch), or pay a small fee for PokerGo and watch tons of content with good commentary.

The bottom line is, if you aren’t actively trying to improve, you are falling behind. Keep a humble attitude and always be looking to improve on mistakes and learn from those better than you.

Hope to see you on the felt!


Summer Series, Poker Is Fun Tour: How to Play the Games

PIFTThe Summer Series Poker Tournament at Canterbury Park begins July 19, and the series includes several unique events. Including some games you may not have played before.

The tournament series includes three events from the Poker Is Fun Tour (PIFT), featuring Crazy Pineapple and Winners Shown.

Full Summer Series Schedule

In addition to those two games, the Summer Series includes other fun twists on No-Limit Hold’em poker tourneys:

• Tag-Team

• Win the Button

• Big Blind Ante

Let’s run down how some of these games work.

Crazy Pineapple

Crazy Pineapple is similar to Texas Hold’em, except you are dealt three cards instead of two. After the flop action concludes, players must discard one of their cards before the turn is dealt. It’s called Crazy Pineapple for a reason!

Let’s let the PIFT crew show you how to play Crazy Pineapple.

Winners Shown

Winners Shown is just what it sounds like: the winning hand has to be shown, even if the action doesn’t make it to showdown.

The PIFT team also has a video about how to play Winners Shown.


Tag-Team tournaments have been around Canterbury Park for a while, but if you aren’t familiar, here’s how it works.

Teams of two play the event, but each player alternates who sits at the table during each blind level. It’s a great way to get involved with friends in a tournament setting.

Win the Button

In our Win the Button tournaments, the player who wins the pot will receive the button on the next hand.

This structure can create plenty of action, with the added value of securing the button after you take down a pot.

Big Blind Ante

You’ve probably heard about poker tournaments moving to having the big blind ante for the table instead of individual players. Now you can try it out at Canterbury Park!

Summer Series/Poker Is Fun Tour

You can find the entire tournament schedule on the Canterbury Park website.

There will also be satellite events available, so you can play your way into the $250 buy-in Winners Shown event on July 21:
-Thursday, July 19, 6:30 p.m. – $65 Satellite (20% win voucher into July 21 Winners Shown event)
-Friday, July 20, 12:30 p.m. – $65 Satellite (20% win voucher into July 21 Winners Shown event)

Get some fun back into your game and play in Canterbury Park’s Summer Series, running July 19-29.