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Five Poker Heroes From North Dakota
North Dakota is the fourth-least populous of all 50 US states. The state is famous for its agricultural wealth, the fact it is covered in farms and ranches, and is home to the tallest man-made structure in the Western Hemisphere, the KVLY-TV mast. North Dakota is also famous for some seriously talented poker players who you will now learn about.
Tom McCormick The North Dakota Poker Veteran
Tom “The Shamrock Kid” McCormick of Fargo, North Dakota, is a veteran of the game. McCormick jetted off to Las Vegas, Nevada, and competed at the 1983 World Series of Poker. The trip did not go to plan as McCormick returned empty-handed.
McCormick returned in 1992 and almost came away with a bracelet. He finished third in a $2,500 Limit Hold’em event and banked $42,000. A certain Phil Hellmuth finished second and Erik Seidel first in that particular event.
The $42,000 McCormick won that day remain his largest score until May 1995. That is when he finished third in a $5,000 Limit Hold’em event for $70,200. McCormick bested that prize twice in 2007. The first time saw him collect $74,132 for winning a $2,000 No-Limit Hold’em event in Tunica. He scooped $95,200 after a runner-up finish in a $2,620 Seniors Event.
McCormick’s long-awaited six-figure payout came in 2018 courtesy of a fifth-place finish in a $3,000 No-Limit Hold’em event at the WSOP. His 177 recorded cashes weigh in at a combined $2,181,041.
Mitch Schock is a WSOP Bracelet Winner From North Dakota
Mitch Schock of Bismark, North Dakota, is second in the state’s all-time money listing with $1,471,733 in earnings. Schock managed to achieve what McCormick has not yet: win a WSOP bracelet.
Schock enjoyed a super WSOP in 2011. He cashed in four events, including two final tables, before entering the $2,500 Pot-Limit Hold’em/Omaha mixed event. That turned out to be a superb decision because Schock won it for $310,225 and a gold bracelet.
Schock put together a deep run in the WSOP Main Event five years earlier. He bowed out of the 2006 WSOP Main Event in an impressive 29th place and walked away with $329,865.
Rodger Johnson the High Roller
Rodger Johnson of Grand Forks, North Dakota, occupies third place in the money listings thanks to $1,307,388 in winnings. Johnson went through a phase of entering live tournaments with buy-ins of $10,000 or more. He enjoyed several deep runs and cashes, although he never managed to take one down.
Johnson shone in 2013. He started the year with a $93,120 prize for finishing second in a $5,200 turbo tournament at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure festival. He won a $25,000 High Roller at the L.A. Poker Classic six weeks later and padded his bankroll with a career-best $182,315. Johnson rode his heater to the WSOP, where he finished 12th from 6,343 entrants in the $1,500 Millionaire Maker, a result worth $82,205.
Brook Lyter The Baseball Lover
West Fargo, North Dakota, resident Brook Lyter only has six recorded live poker tournament results on his resume, but the prize money is enough for fourth place on the state’s leaderboard. Lyter has $696,252 in winnings, with almost all of it stemming from a single result.
Lyter finished second to Steve Paul-Ambrose in the 2006 PCA Main Event and walked away with $681,500. Paul-Ambrose banked the title and a cool $1,388,600.
The main reason for Lyter’s lack of results is the fact he is baseball mad. He plays for the amateur side Moorhead Brewers in addition to being a successful businessman. Lyter is the president of FPN Gaming, Free Poker Network Inc, and the owner of two other businesses.
Danny Ryan The Former Online Poker Legend
Danny Ryan is fifth in the North Dakota live poker all-time money listings, but he has won more money than the other four players combined. Ryan of Grand Forks, North Dakota, has $556,223 in live winnings but another $4,226,772 from the online poker world.
Ryan is better known to the online poker community as “THE__D__RY” where he was once ranked sixth in the entire world. He stopped playing online poker in mid-2016 and only has three live cashes since then.
It appears Ryan may be using his analytical mind away from the poker tables.