With the first WSOP Circuit event of the 2009-2010 season underway at Horseshoe Hammond through October 25, WSOP.com caught up with Jason Newman, Poker Room Director for Horseshoe Hammond.
WSOP.com: Would you care to tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from originally? Married? Kids?
Newman: Originally from Chicago. Two children, 12 year-old girl named Rozlyn and 7 year-old boy named Max.
WSOP.com: So, how did you get your start in the gaming industry?
Newman: I opened Caesars Indiana, working in Entertainment. In later years, I worked Poker and Table Games for properties stretching from the Midwest to Vegas.
WSOP.com: Do you play a lot of poker yourself?
Newman: As of late, not so much, but for most of my life I played a minimum of 20 hours a week.
WSOP.com: How good of a player do you consider yourself?
Newman: Above average.
WSOP.com: What is one of the biggest changes, if any, that you have seen in poker rooms over the past decade?
Newman: Of course there was the poker explosion with TV and sponsorships etc. No Limit Hold’em took over and Limit poker is a dying game.
WSOP.com: What’s it like running a poker room right outside of Chicago, IL? How big does the action get?
Newman: I love the room and our proximity to Chicago. Just 20 minutes from downtown Chicago. It is most definitely a world-class poker room and the largest in the Midwest at 5,600 sq. ft. We run a wide variety of games and limits that range from $3-$6 Hold’em up to $100-$200 No Limit Hold’em and $300-$600 Mix games. The action here compares to Vegas, Atlantic City and even L.A.
WSOP.com: For those not sure whether they have the chops to play in a WSOP Circuit Event, what do you have to say to them?
Newman: “You can’t hit if you don’t swing.”
WSOP.com: What would you say to online players in the region who have yet to step inside a live poker room?
Newman: They are missing out on some of the best experiences a poker player can have. The poker characters, poker community and the “real life” experience of interacting with other players in person.
WSOP.com: Who are some of the big names that frequent your poker room?
Newman: Over the past year, we have drawn all types of notable celebrities. Chicago-based professional athletes and competitive players from across the country. We recently hosted a WSOP Academy event with Annie Duke, two-time WSOP bracelet winner Matt Graham, tournament millionaire Bernard Lee and poker tells expert Joe Navarro. These poker titans led two-days of in-depth instruction which culminated with some exciting tournament play with our guests.
WSOP.com: Do you have any funny stories to share?
Newman: I remember a bad beat jackpot being hit down in Tunica and the player who lost the hand had no idea how these promotions worked. When the whole room exploded and was celebrating his win he thought everyone was making fun of him so he started to cuss everyone. He sincerely thought everyone was kicking him while he was down. By the time they settled him down and kept him from really going off, he was in tears about the money he just won. Talk about the emotional swings of poker.
If you are ever in the Chicago area, stop by Jason’s poker room at Horseshoe Hammond, he would be pleased to meet you in person.