Today we’d like to introduce you to Bill Heuer.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Born in Las Vegas, Nevada you could say that I was born to do this. My mom was a professional poker dealer for 30+ years. I went to school in Las Vegas to learn to deal poker with the mind-set that if nothing else worked out for me I could always go back home and deal if I had to.
I moved to Houston in 2001 and bought my first home. One of my neighbors knew I had the knowledge to teach him how to play poker due to my background. After a few lessons we started a fun home game for nickels, dimes, and quarters. When I realized I was winning more often than not I started looking for bigger games in Houston and stumbled across a poker tournament in the Katy area. My friends and I took the top spots in that tournament and from then on I needed to find a bigger and more frequent game. Unable to find exactly what I was looking for I decided to build my own tables and started hosting my own private poker tournaments out of my home.
After 2 years of hosting a weekly game for my friends, one of the guys that we played regularly with asked how much I would charge to bring all of my poker tables and chips over to his home in Richmond so he could play with all of his friends. I gave him a quote and he accepted. It was at that event I knew I had something special because one of his friends at that tournament asked if we could do this at his house the following week. iHostPoker was born.
The name “iHostPoker” came from a conversation with a good friend of mine. Since poker was what I knew best we thought it would be best to focus on hosting poker tournaments in people’s home for fun. We came up with a very simple name, iHostPoker.
My first large event (24 poker tables) in 2014 put us on the map. I was hired by the YES Prep schools to host a poker tournament to raise money for the schools. We have successfully hosting this event for the past 13 years and grown the event to 54 poker tables. Over the past 5 years of hosting this event with YES Prep we have raised over $1,000,000 every year.
Now with the amount of tournaments I was hosting things were going well, but clients wanted more than poker. So I gave them what they wanted and starting ordering professional blackjack, craps, and roulette tables. These days I tell my clients that if you have seen it in a casino, I can get it for your event.
We are in our 14th year of business and still growing as a company. My team hosted just over 400 parties in 2016 and are on target to host over 500 events in 2017. We currently own 120 custom made casino tables and have a roster of over 150 professional dealers, bartenders, and show girls ready to host parties or fund raisers 7 days a week. Not only do we do this for fun, but we do it for real aboard our annual poker cruise. This year we set sail on April 30th on the Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas out of Galveston, Texas. This year’s cruise is our second joint cruise with Card Player Cruises which is the largest and most well-known poker cruise company in the world. Together we are hosting the Texas Poker Classic to find the best poker player in Texas.
You could say we do it all when it comes to casino parties.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I can’t say it has been easy, but because this is my passion it really has been a labor of love. Our business is simple when you break it down. Give the customers the highest quality casino equipment in town, hire and train the most professional and personable dealers that care about the customer experience. Not everyone who can deal becomes an iHostPoker dealer. I care about their dealing skills equally to how they conduct themselves at an event. I want my dealers to have fun with the players, engage them. I want the players to walk away from the event saying, “My dealer was so much fun!” Anyone can build a first class table, but the people you place to work those tables make all the difference. Finding the right people to meet the demand is a constant struggle, especially since we won’t just put anyone behind an iHostPoker table. We only put the best.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the iHostPoker Casino Parties story. Tell us more about the business.
iHostPoker Casino Parties is Houston’s leader in private casino parties, corporate casino events, and Monte Carlo / casino themed fund raisers. We specialize in poker tournaments and casino parties equally.
Some of the events we are best known for are the Bulls and Blackjack Tournament that was hosted on February 2nd, 2017. We teamed up with players from the Houston, Texans and helped raise money for a group of very special charities including the Wade Smith Foundation.
On February 4th, 2017 we were a part the Big Give – Big Game poker tournament which was co-hosted by Jamie Gold (2006 WSOP Main Event Champion) and a few other celebrities.
The annual YES Prep event is always one of my favorite events and one of the most challenging. We have to host to 540 poker players and play down to a single winner in less than 5 hours.
What I am most proud of is my dealers. I truly work with some of the most amazing people! Each and every one of them has a story. They range from college kids to retirees and like snowflakes, no two are alike. The irony is the name of the company is “iHostPoker”, but really we all are iHostPoker. WeHostPoker just sounds funny.
Beside the best dealers and quality equipment & accessories that look and feel like what you would except in a Las Vegas casino, our behind the scenes is a well-oiled machine. Quotes and calls are answered / responded to within minutes from very early in the morning to very very late at night. Our quoting system is very hi-tech and no one else is using anything like it in this industry. The way we book dealers for an event is also completely automated so I can have a dealer at your door step with just a couple of hours’ notice.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Luck! That should be my middle name!
All the luck is credited to meeting the right people at the right time. Like I said before I am very lucky to have the team that I have. My right hand man, Scott Bosley has been one of my luckiest encounters. My two biggest cheer leaders, Carolyn Blakeman and Kristi Kincaid have been with me from day 1 and are a testimony to how lucky I have been to work side by side with them.
My casino table builder Adam J. was an extremely lucky “meet and greet” since he is responsible for giving our tables the professional look that they have today. Jack C. is my SEO / Website guru and without him only a fraction of Houston would know about iHostPoker.
Not to mention every dealer that has ever gone out in the field and made someone’s birthday a little more special or helped that little league team raise a little bit more money.
It is safe to say that my luck comes from the people I surround myself with.
- Poker and Blackjack tables – $220.00 (3 hours of play time / includes a dealer)
- Craps and Roulette tables – $320.00 (3 hours of play time / includes a dealer)
- Slot Macheins – $150.00 each (3 hours of play time / includes an attendent / 3 machine minimum)
- Rock and Roll Bingo – $500.00 (This is an iHostPoker exclusive)
- Address: iHostPoker Casino Parties
18823 Tomato Street
Spring, Texas 77379
- Website: www.iHostPoker.com
- Phone: 713-429-5707
- Email: Bill@ihostpoker.com OR Pitboss@ihostpoker.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ihostpoker/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iHostPokerCasinoParties/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/iHostPoker
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/ihostpoker-casino-parties-spring
- Other: Goggle + https://plus.google.com/+iHostPokerHouston