When Penn National Gaming decided to launch the Hollywood Poker Open (HPO) back in 2013 it did so with a marketing objective of promoting its Hollywood Casino properties across the country. The HPO turned out to be an extremely successful promotion and Penn National continued to hold four Championship events each year across its properties.
The HPO became a favourite amongst a number of young poker players in the country who were willing to fly to different locations across the nation to play at the event which usually had a $2-500 buy-in and a guaranteed prize pool of $1.5 million for each edition. After HPO Season 4 championship event came to an end on June 26 at the M Luxury Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas, the tournament organizers surprised everyone by announcing that this final edition of the HPO had just taken place.
The announcement was made by Bill Bruce, the Hollywood Poker Open Director who stated that the company decided to shutdown the event for good as it had fulfilled its purpose in promoting the properties and it was time to wind things up.
In a statement, Bruce said “The HPO has always been a promo run out of the marketing department at Penn Gaming. It was a promo to expose the properties out here, including the beautiful M resort, once [Penn] bought that. We’ve been sending players from around the country out here to visit Las Vegas as a getaway every year. [Penn] also runs a millionaire maker slot promo and we’ve been leveraging that promotion as well. But as any promo will do, this one has simply come to a close”.
Penn National did a great job in promoting the HPO by enlisting the services of poker pro Chris Moneymaker, the 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event champ. Moneymaker served as an ambassador and helped to pull in more crowds as he was always present at the events willing to take selfies with fans, sign autographs and get some free poker advice from the champ.
Although the HPO started out as a marketing promotion is soon became a popular event on the calendar and allowed a number of young poker pros to find their feet. Poker players such as Ana Marquez – 2013 winner; Simon Deadman – 2014 winner, Keven Stammen – 2015 winner and Dejuante Alexander – 2016 winner will all have fond memories of the HPO.