HPT sets up national league

Ship Teh Chips

Heartland Poker Tour is planning a massive expansion this fall, but not in its televised tournament circuit. Instead, the HPT is starting up the Heartland Poker League in September to bring more poker to the people.

According to the HPT, this will be America's first national poker league planned to span across the U.S. bringing HPT tournaments to more venues and people. It will also give players a chance to win their way into the HPT championship.

The inaugural league will run from September to December 2007 and use a point system to track results at each participating casino.

After 12 weeks of league play, each casino will name a league champion who will win a prize package to participat in the HPT Championship at the Majestic Star Casino in Gary, Ind., in December. The prize is worth $2,700.

"We think a national poker league will succeed for the same reasons bowling, dart and pool leagues do," said Todd Anderson, HPT co-producer. "People get a chance to compete in a fun environment for small stakes, but ultimately they have a chance to test their poker skills under lights and cameras for huge sums of money."

The weekly tournaments will have relatively small buy-ins, $60 on average, making them affordable for just about anyone interested in trying out Texas Hold'em tournaments and in a chance at making it to the championship event.

"We're just a step up from the popular free bar and tavern leagues," Anderson said, "but we're different because it is real people playing real poker, with real bets, for real money, in a real poker room, with a chance to win a lot."

The league games will pay out to the top 20% of players, and 97% of the buy-in will go to the prize pool with 3% going to dealer tokes.

For more information about the league, visit HeartlandPokerLeague.net .

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