The schedule of the ninth season of the Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) is going to have a number of changes, which might very well make the HPT look like a major live poker league.

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The HPT has completely changed the structure of its main event with the assistance of the internationally acclaimed poker pro Daniel Negreanu. The HPT had last revised its main event structure in 2011 with the assistance of professional poker player Annie Duke. Speaking about the most recent changes, Fred Bevill, executive producer for HPT, said: “We wanted the best possible structure, so we went to the best.”

Negreanu took a number of factors into consideration while creating a new structure for the HPT Main Event. He said, “I noticed a few crucial jumps that needed to be ironed out and the ante structure was a bit off, so that was adjusted as well.”

The HPT, which always had a six-handed final table format, will be nine-handed from this season. Pleased with the changes he had made to the HPT Main Event structure, Negreanu said, “I was very happy to help out when I was approached by the HPT to take a look at the structure. I think the final result is a smoother structure with more play.”

HPT will also make major changes in its televised product. Chris Hanson, who had long been associated with the HPT, is leaving the team and Bevill will be joining. Maria Ho, who will be joining HPT’s broadcast team, will be the first female poker pro to become a TV commentator.

Ho said, “I’m thrilled to be joining the HPT family. As a player, I am flattered they are welcoming my expertise. As a woman, I am grateful to the HPT for being the first poker show to offer the strategist position to a female. I look forward to bringing a new and fresh perspective to HPT broadcasts.”

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The ninth season of the HPT will begin next week. The $1100 Main Event, the first HPT event of this year, will be played on board MSC Poesia on Jan 19, with CardPlayer Cruises as the host. The poker cruise, which will begin at Fort Lauderdale, will stop at exciting places such as Honduras, Cayman Islands, Mexico, and Jamaica and will present facilities such as seminars and parties. Those interested in booking can call 888-999-4880 and mention the code HPT; alternatively, they can book at

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