Chicago Husband/Wife Team Win Big on the Televised Heartland Poker Tour

Mary Jo Belcore-Zogman Win the HPT Main Event in LakeMille Lacs

Lake Mille Lacs, MN, September 22, 2008-Mary Jo Belcore-Zogman wins the Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) televised poker tournament on Sunday, September 21 at the Grand Casino Mille Lacs making history. Belcore-Zogman hails from Mc Henry, Illinois about sixty miles from Chicago. She is the second woman to win the No-limit Texas Hold’em championship and becomes the FIRST HUSBAND/WIFE DUO TO BOTH WIN A HPT POKER TOURNAMENT. Her husband, Dan Zogman, won a HPT tournament and over $220,000 at the Majestic Star Casino, in Gary, Indiana last year. Both Mr. and Mrs. Belcore-Zogman’s final table will appear in over 74 million homes.

“I can’t believe how great I feel right now,” said Mary Jo Belcore-Zogman, whose entire family now plays poker. “Dan may still be the king because his prize pool was bigger, but I’m definitely the queen of poker in our household.”

The Zogmans are quite the example of the modern poker playing couple after pick after playing in a Texas No-Limit Hold’em limit game on Valentine’s Day. “We used to be like any other couple and go out to dinner and go to shows and stuff like that,” said Mary Jo. “Now we travel the country playing poker and it’s way more fun.”

The rest of the final table had some other interesting stories as well. The sixth place finisher Ray “Stingray” Bendijo was making his second final table appearance at Grand Casino having finished 2nd at the last HPT event at Mille Lacs in February. Bendijo’s sixth place finish has now pushed him into the lead for the HPT Player of the Year. It’s a very close race for the Player of the Year award with six more events this year.

Also, HPT recorded an historic moment as the family theme appeared once more during this final table. Pete Bigelow followed in the footsteps of his son Paul by making the final table. After playing in several HPT No-Limit Texas Hold’em Poker Tournaments, the senior Bigelow made his first HPT final table and finished in fifth place.

The Heartland Poker Tour motors on with six events in the next eight weeks. The next tour stop is in Blawkhawk Colorado over the next two weeks.

2008 – Grand Casino Mille Lacs Final table-LakeMille Lacs, Minnesota, Final Table Sunday, September 21, 2008

Total Players in the Main Event -201

Total Qualifier players – 728

Total Prize Pool -$288,747

Final Table

  1. Mary Jo Becore-Zogman – McHenryIL – $85,723
  2. Jason Banfy – River FallsWI – $42,862
  3. Dan Lawrence – BismarckND – $25,717
  4. Greg Hillesheim – BeckerMN – $20,002
  5. Pete Bigelow – MooseLakeMN – $17,145
  6. Ray Bendijo – RamseyMN – $14,287
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