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Anthony Chester, Horseshoe Casino Baltimore's Poker Room manager, talks to reporters about the World Series of Poker event scheduled to begin Thursday. (The Daily Record/Adam Bednar)

Baltimore to host World Series of Poker event

Horseshoe Casino Baltimore is set to host Maryland’s first World Series of Poker Circuit event starting Thursday.

The event consists of 14 separate tournaments and is set to end on March 9. Employees said it’s unknown how much cash the event, which includes a $1,675 buy-in for the main event, will bring into the casino that has not performed as well as expected since opening in August.

“You can’t really predict [revenues] because we don’t have a baseline to go from previous years. So, it’s very, very hard to … project from a revenue standpoint,” Poker Room Manager Anthony Chester said.

The announcement of the event comes just weeks after a report was released showing the casino making 20 percent below projected revenues and that it has failed to lure gamblers away from Maryland Live Casino in Hanover about 30 minutes away. It was anticipated the casino, between the time it opened and December, would generate $119.7 million. But revenues at the state’s newest casino during that time actually fell short of $97 million.

The casino is anticipating about 2,500 players will participate in the event, which projects out to roughly 6,300 buy-ins for the games in the event. The winner of the main event, which will be held March 6 and March 7, automatically gains entry to the $1 million World Series of Poker National Championship.

Baltimore’s event, which features a $365 buy-in tournament with a guaranteed $250,000 prize pool,  is intended to give recreational and amateur players the experience of participating in a World Series of Poker event at a lower price point and less time commitment than the traditional World Series of Poker event in Las Vegas. The World Series of Poker Circuit consists of 22 stops and cumulative points awarded for a player’s finishing positions. The top 100 players qualify for the national championship.

“The WSOP circuit here in Baltimore is the only Maryland-based tournament where players can win a spot in the $1 million WSOP National Championship, which will be televised on ESPN,” Assistant General Manager Alex Dixon said.

Steve Dannenmann, an accountant from Severn who rose to fame in poker circles after finishing second in the 2005 World Series of Poker Main Event in Las Vegas, winning $4.25 million, was on hand to help promote the upcoming tournaments. He said that he intends to play in the tournament’s main event and to sneak out of his office to play in as many other tournaments as he can.

“I would encourage anyone that’s ever considered experiencing the World Series of Poker to play in the circuit event at the Horseshoe. It’s a great way to get a sense of the excitement … of tournament poker and getting terrific value for your money,” Dannenman said.

About Adam Bednar

Adam Bednar covers real estate and development for The Daily Record.