December Promises Big Poker Action In Illinois

Written By Anthony Cicali on December 1, 2023 - Last Updated on December 18, 2023
Photo of three dogs playing poker on a story about the poker calendar for the state of Illinois.

As December unfolds, poker players will find plenty of tournaments throughout the state. Several prominent poker rooms in Illinois are hosting big action all month long.

With World Series of Poker Circuit events in the rearview, The Prairie State is set to showcase some promising prize pools in December.

PlayIllinois will keep you dealt in each month with the latest on what’s happening in the local poker-verse. Illinois online poker is not legal, so all the action is happening in poker rooms across the state. Players can, however, hone their skills at sweepstakes online sites, like Global Poker.

It’s a wrap for WSOP event at Grand Victoria Casino

The Grand Victoria Casino in Chicago hosted the World Series of Poker Circuit series last month. The regular monthly tournament schedule is back up and running for December. Weekly tournaments include:

  • $135 NLH Deep Stack: 5 p.m. Tuesdays, 15,000 starting stack
  • $190 NLH Deep Stack: 6 p.m. Fridays, 15,000 starting stack
  • $300 NLH Deep Stack: Noon Sundays, 30,000 starting stack

A few Illinois residents won some serious cash in November at the WSOP series. Here is a look at some winners from the area:

  • Imran Sajwani: Event 1, $31,679 (Prospect Heights)
  • Jill Bryant: Event 3, $23,336, third ring (Aurora)
  • Richard Mercer: Event 4, $38,423 (Oak Forest)
  • Nemanja Cakics: Event 5, $34,316 (Willowbrook)
  • Aaron Flores: Event 6, $19,248 (Chicago)
  • Greg Koutelidakis: Event 7, $20,345, second ring (Buffalo Grove)
  • Michael Estes: Event 8, $48,464 (Chicago)
  • Chinbold Byamnajar: Event 10, $14,586 (Chicago)
  • Kelly Van Haren: Event 11, $7,410 (Chicago)
  • Christopher Fiddes: Event 14, $30,961 (Lake Barrington)
  • Angela Gambino: Event 15, $42,382 (Chicago)
  • Gurunagaraju Salla: Event 16, $22,862, second ring (Buffalo Grove)

Three was the magic number for resident Jill Bryant. She took down Event 3 in November and October. The win in November gave her a third WSOP Circuit ring. Bryant has now surpassed the $500,000 mark in lifetime tournament winnings. She has now locked up her seat for the Tournament of Champions.

Those who clinched a ring in the current year have secured their entry into the 2024 WSOP Tournament of Champions. This $1 million freeroll is open to all 2023-24 bracelet and circuit ring winners, regardless of whether they competed online or at in-person events. The TOC is slated to take place during the Las Vegas World Series of Poker live series in 2024.

Windy City Poker Championship Group hosts weekend tournaments

The Windy City Poker Championship Group will have multiple, small buy-in events each weekend. Some tournaments include:

  • $195 NLH: Noon Saturdays
  • $60 NLH: 1 p.m. Saturdays
  • $80 NLH: 6:30 p.m. Saturdays
  • $60 NLH: Noon Sundays
  • $60 NLH: 6:30 p.m. Sundays

Horseshoe Hammond guarantees $20,000 each week

The Horseshoe recently announced that the WSOP circuit will be returning to the poker room this spring from Feb. 29 through March 11. In the meanwhile, the poker room will host guaranteed tournaments all month. Weekly tournaments include:

  • $120 NLH: Noon Tuesdays, $5,000 guaranteed
  • $220 NLH: Noon Wednesdays, $10,000 guaranteed
  • $120 NLH: 6 p.m. Thursdays, $5,000 guaranteed

Rivers Des Plaines Bad Beat Jackpot continues to grow

The Bad Beat Jackpot at Rivers Des Plaines has not been hit since the summer. While tournaments are not provided in the poker room, the cash games flourish across its 22 tables. Additionally, players have the option to pre-register on the website, ensuring a secured seat in a cash game prior to their arrival at the casino.

  • Bad Beat Jackpots: $127,138 as of Nov. 28
  • High Hands: $500 every hour, noon to midnight Sundays through Thursdays

Chasing those bad beat poker jackpots

Each month, the bad beat jackpot draws cash players into the poker room. Generally, when four of a kind is beaten, it activates the BBJ. Jackpots are hard to come by, but players enjoy chasing the big paydays. Here is a look at active bad beats in the state:

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