Comparing Mid-Major Poker Tours Part 2: Heartland Poker Tour Vs. Mid-States Poker Tour

November 9, 2017
Comparing Mid-Major Poker Tours Part 2: Heartland Poker Tour Vs. Mid-States Poker Tour


In Part I that we published last month, we compared the offerings for players in the mid-states who wanted to play the big name mid-major tours as we dove into the World Series of Poker Circuit and WPT Deepstacks. In Part 2, we’ll talk about the regional offerings which also provide an excellent experience for players.

Heartland Poker Tour

The Heartland Poker Tour has been roaming middle America since 2005. The brainchild of Greg Lang and Todd Anderson, much of the tour’s emphasis is on its televising of tournaments and syndication of its shows.

The focus on the mid-states has paid off. HPT now produces 17 tournaments a year, mostly through regional casino company Ameristar.

HPT tournaments are not meant to break the bank for players. Most buy-ins for the main events of each stop hover around $1,500.

Above all else, Heartland Poker Tour is for the average player. As such, the fields for these events will likely be friendly and favorable.

The Best HPT Event: $2500 HPT Championship at Ameristar St. Charles – St. Charles, MO

Of the remaining tournaments this year, this one sticks out above the rest. For one thing, its $2,500 buy-in fittingly makes the HPT Championship a richer event than the others.

A bigger buy-in usually means bigger prize pools. Last year’s winner won just under $133,000 after outlasting 406 other players.

There will also be three Day 1 flights for this event. Players will have three opportunities to find the right cards, and some will donate a few buy-ins along the way, further increasing the payouts for everyone.

The final table of this tournament will be streamed on Twitch.

The structure for this tournament is terrific, too. Players begin with a whopping 30,000 in tournament chips. Blind levels are also 60 minutes from the very first hand and stay that way until play whittles out the final two players. This structure makes the event extremely player friendly.

Don’t be frightened by the rake

$2331 of each player’s buy-in will contribute to the prize pool. The remaining $269 will stay with HPT and the casino.

That amount of rake puts the percentage slightly above 10%. Most major tournaments take at least this much money for themselves. However, for a regional tournament, this pull seems a bit on the high side.

Nevertheless, this tournament is centrally located in St. Charles, Missouri – a suburb of St. Louis. As such, players will have an easier time making it to this event than one along the coasts or in Nevada. This location typically means a bigger field and bigger prizes.

The main event kicks off on December 8th of this year. HPT is not a place for killers and sharks – and there’s no reason that next year’s winner couldn’t be you.

Other Upcoming HPT Locations

Tournament/Casino Name Location Date
Daytona Beach Racing and Card Club Daytona Beach, FL October 18 – October 30, 2017
The Meadows Casino Pittsburgh, PA October 26 – November 6, 2017
Belterra Casino Resort Florence, IN November 3 – November 13, 2017
Ameristar East Chicago East Chicago, IN January 11 – January 22, 2018
Golden Gates Casino Blackhawk, CO February 7 – February 19, 2018
HPT on the High Seas Eastern Caribbean March 3 – March 11, 2018
Belterra Casino Resort Florence, IN March 9 – March 19, 2018
Ameristar St. Charles St. Charles, MO March 21 – April 2, 2018

Mid-States Poker Tour

The Mid-States Poker Tour began as the Minnesota State Poker Tour in 2009. After a rebrand to the current form, the tour has grown to offer several main events for amateur and regional players around the United States.

MSPT deliberately keeps buy-ins for its main events controlled. No MSPT event features a buy-in above $1,100, and the tour even features so-called Regional Events that do not exceed $360 in any tournament, even the main event.

Any of the MSPT events would be good options for the recreational player. The tour will even have a two-week stop in Blackhawk, Colorado – one of the more unique places to play in the United States, due to its mining town vibe and mountainous terrain.

The Best: Wisconsin State Poker Championship –Milwaukee, WI

What better way to check out the MSPT than with the Wisconsin State Poker Championship, an event just as awesome as it sounds. Plus if you want to stick around in Wisconsin area, you can check out a Packers game on November 19th.

The buy-in breaks down as $1000 to the pot, $100 to the rake, and $10 to the dealers. Frankly, you don’t see the dealer toke often at tournaments of this level, but that extra 10 bucks is good for 5000 extra chips.

Nevertheless, it comes out to a square 10% rake, which is standard for most online tournaments and inoffensive to live players. In fact, a 10% rake is favorable compared some of the fees that players can find at daily tournaments on the Las Vegas Strip.

MSPT wants amateur to feel like pros

One source of pride for the MSPT is that its tournament structures are often approved by Allen “Chainsaw” Kessler. Kessler’s structure starts players with at least 15,000 in tournament chips and 40-minute blind levels that don’t rise above 2,400 during the first day of action.

Players get a lot of play for their money. MSPT also boasts visits from several WSOP and WPT champions, so the average joe at the table might find himself next to an idol.

Finally, as an added thrill for the recreational player who wants a good time, MSPT goes all the way with its presentation. You can expect hole card cameras, live updates, and live broadcast of the final table of the event on the menu.

Other Upcoming MSPT Locations

Tournament/Casino Name Location Date
Denver Poker Open Blackhawk, CO November 9 – November 12, 2017
Wisconsin State Poker Championship Milwaukee, WI November 11 – November 19, 2017
Canterbury Park Shakopee, MN December 1 – December 10, 2017
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