Hitting jackpots in Motown
Nowadays, Detroit is in a constant state of rebuilding its environs and economy from the pervasive effects of a harrowing recession that can still be felt to this day. Although the restoration process has been characterized by fits and starts, Detroit’s sports teams soldier on and perform admirably under the pressures, expectations, and the national spotlight of mainstream sports. Indeed, Detroit is home to a rich and colorful sporting legacy hosted by several legendary venues: the Joe Louis Arena, the Pontiac Silverdome, and the Palace of Auburn Hills. There are also relatively newer venues that have emerged over the last 15 years such as Comerica Park and Ford Field.
Amazingly, luxury hotels and casinos in Detroit have continued to thrive throughout the good times and bad. Aside from the requisite slots machines, the game tables in Detroit casinos – Motor City and Greektown Casinos, to be specific – are a good step up for aspiring poker players to sharpen their skills and hone their chops against like-minded players from neighboring cities. As a matter of fact, the smashing success of Clarkston-born poker pro Ryan Riess – at the time, a 23-year-old Michigan State alumnus who memorably won the 2013 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event Championship while sporting a Detroit Lions Calvin Johnson jersey – just might serve as a catalyst for this serious and sneaky game of skill to gain a stronger foothold among Detroit residents.
After winning the WSOP Circuit Main Event in Hammond, Indiana back in October 2012, Riess decided to take a chance and enter the 2013 WSOP Main Event held at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino, where he outclassed Las Vegas VIP host Jay Farber in a tense head-to-head battle at the final table. With the support and encouragement from Michigan State buddies and fellow poker players from the Circuit like Loni Harwood, Jonathan Taylor, and Bryan Campanello, Riess won the WSOP gold bracelet and over $8 million in prize money.
The current poker landscape is decidedly global, with casinos from around the world – South Korea, Cyprus, Austria, Spain, Malta, and Italy, to name a few – hosting multi-tournament poker events that draw a sizable contingent of both local and international poker pros who then proceed to outwit and bluff their opponents on the way to earning significant amounts of cash winnings. A perfect example of poker’s widespread acclaim can be found in Venice, where the Casino di Venezia – in partnership with Italian online gaming hub www.giocodigitale.it – will host the World Poker Tour (WPT) Venice National Series and the Venice Carnival Main Event.
If nothing else, the continued success of Michigan native Ryan Riess – a diehard Detroit Lions fan – will surely inspire ambitious poker players in downtown Detroit to keep improving until they head over to the big leagues.