DL man heading to Las Vegas for national poker tournament – Detroit Lakes Tribune

DL man heading to Las Vegas for national poker tournament – Detroit Lakes Tribune

DETROIT LAKES – When the best amateur Texas Hold ’em players in the country meet in Las Vegas, Nevada shortly after the new year, a 42-year-old player will take a seat. He’s seen seven royal flushes and learned to control his telltale signal with a good hand, but he knows he needs luck on his side to earn a seat in the World Series of Poker main event.

“It’s a game that takes five minutes to learn and a lifetime to master,” Detroit Lakes resident Lester Hauglid said.

The 1999 Detroit Lakes High School graduate started playing Texas Hold ’em when he was about 19 years old. He had seen the heavyweights struggle against the inevitable “all-in” that left a player crowned World Series of Poker champion on television.

“At the time, the game was taking off in local bars (where minors were allowed until a certain time),” he recalled. “Poker leagues started popping up in the area.”

Bar leagues were free, like the one that continues to play today: Free Poker Network. For several years he has played (and served as league director) Texas Hold ’em tournaments at the Shorewood Pub in Detroit Lakes. The Shorewood Pub previously held the Wednesday night poker league at 7pm. Hauglid said plans are being made to continue the league when the new owners open the pub. He invited anyone who enjoys Texas Hold ’em and is interested in joining the league to contact him on Facebook.

There is no cost to join the league match. Just show up before the tournament starts and try to win all the chips. Points are awarded based on how a player finishes. Those who finish the season at the top of the points standings receive an invitation to state competitions, where entries to national events can be earned. This year, Hauglid will earn a spot in the national competition in early January. Between now and then he’ll be making a run at tournaments to potentially gain an edge with his stack.

Detroit Lakes’ Lester Hauglid will compete in a national Texas Hold ’em tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada in January to earn a spot in the World Series of Poker Main Event.

Contributed / Lester Hauglid

“You can qualify (for nationals) three times total,” he said, noting that each qualifier earns a player $10,000 in chips.

Hauglid has gone to nationals before, but each attempt ended with a nightmare hand that called for an all-in moment. He remembered that one of those bad hands included being pocket kings.

“The guy hit two jacks on the flop (for three of a kind) to beat me,” Hauglid said. “You can’t beat luck.”

If the experience fills Hauglid’s dance card with lady luck, he could be in the next World Series of Poker Main Event with a prepaid seat and $1,500 in free poker network travel expenses. Each ticket to the main event costs $10,000. In 2022, there were 8,663 players in the World Series of Poker. The winner, Espen Jorstad of Norway, walked away with a $10 million prize.

He said the World Series of Poker is held in June, at which point the field is narrowed to nine.

“They get the final table and write everybody a check and send them home,” he said. “Then, they do the final table live, on another date. The footage from the tournament, up to the final table, is edited and broadcast, and then back to the final table.”

As legendary poker player Jack “Treetop” Straus once said in the game of Texas Hold ’em, “As long as you’ve got a chip and a chair, there’s still hope.”

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