Pierre player wins SD Poker Championship, $31,000
June 13. 2013 6:00AM
Russell Spaid of Pierre faced down the region's best poker players to walk away with the $31,000 top prize during the third annual South Dakota State Poker Championship at the Silverado-Franklin Historic Hotel & Gaming Complex.
Spaid outlasted 106 other players to claim the cash prize and the distinctive guns-and-glass trophy. Second-place finisher Travis Miller from Laramie, Wyo., picked up $21,000 in winnings. Rapid City’s Tom Smith placed third for $13,600.
Other top players in the May 18-19 event were Garrett Heitmann $10,000, Brett Hamm $7,700, Richard Morgan $5,600, Jared Ronan $4,600, Tom Kruger $3,500, Jan Randash $2,800, Floyd Dahl $2,200 and Sonny Savolt $1,790.
With 107 competitors, this year’s State Poker Championship was larger than the 2012 championship, when 104 players competed for a $30,000 top prize.
"Each year, as word of the South Dakota Poker Championship spreads, the event gets stronger," said Tom Rensch, Silverado-Franklin's managing partner. “I really believe it’s important for South Dakota’s biggest poker event be played in Deadwood, the town that made poker legendary.”
Back in 1876, Wild Bill Hickok was playing a hand of poker at a saloon just a few blocks from the present-day Silverado when he was shot by Jack McCall. Wild Bill’s hand, pairs of aces and eights, are still known the world over as the Deadman’s Hand.
The State Poker Championship trophy reflects that historic event. Two full-sized handguns are mounted against a glass backdrop with Wild Bill’s image etched in.