The league was founded by Brook Lyter, World Poker Tour Runner Up PCA 2006 (pictured right) and Jason Drake in North Dakota (Dakota Poker League) and with grass roots help from players and a committment to providing the best grand prizes possible, the league spread to Minnesota, Nebraska, and beyond. Today, the Free Poker Network (FPN) has over 265 participating locations nationwide.
Over the years, there have been many wonderful success stories, and many more friendships.
While countless poker leagues have come and gone over the years (many falling woefully short on promises made to players and bars), the Free Poker Network continues to deliver great prizes season after season.
The league has put over 100 players into World Series of Poker bracelet events and countless other Heartland Poker Tour, World Poker Tour, and other major tournament events!
The promotions over the years have been very interesting and entertaining. The league has given away some really incredible prizes, including trips to the Atlantis in the Bahamas, trips to California to play in the Bay 101, 7-day Caribbean Poker Cruises, various Heartland Poker Tour events, WPT Championship at the Bellagio, Super Bowl, UFC Tickets, and of course, the World Series of Poker. All of the major prizes from the league are paid directly from the pool of sponsoring bars. Without this support, there would be no league!
At least 75 different players have enjoyed winning a seat in a World Series of Poker event over the years! And who could forget “Party at the Palms” promotion when the league rented out King Pin and Erotic Suites for the national championship tournament and party! We cherish these memories and look forward to creating new ones with each and every promotion.
Exciting wins by players in the league have provided a lot of inspiration. The league’s first major success story was Jenny Kriewald, a mother of three from Valley City, ND. She earned a seat to a Heartland Poker Tour event through the league and went on to become the HPT’s first female champion! Her first place prize of $56,000 came as a direct result of playing FREE POKER in the league.
Two other league players also went on to become HPT champions – Scott Eckert, and most recently Brandon Dosch.
League representative and poker pro Mitch Schock from Bismarck, ND made came close making the final table in the World Series of Poker main event (27th place for $329,000) the year Jamie Gold won. He recently reached his goal of winning a WSOP bracelet in 2011 and made a run at the WSOP Leaderboard including more than $400,000 in winnings! Mitch’s ability as a player is only equal to his ability to entertain and teach the game as an emcee at dozens of Free Poker Network events, including our most recent national championship in Las Vegas.
From day one, the league made a long-term commitment to success. Many poker leagues have come and gone over the years, but FPN continues to stay strong thanks to players, sponsors, and representatives who share the same passion for poker and good times.
Players in the league today have MORE opportunity than ever before. With the combination of live weekly play, monthly awards online, Tournament of Champions, and state final tournaments, players have multiple ways to qualify for our exclusive national finals!
To all the sponsoring locations and players that make the league what it is - THANK YOU!