On Monday, the Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa concluded in Rancho Mirage, California. The $1,650 buy-in Main Event attracted 263 entries, including Phil Hellmuth, Greg Raymer, and HPT’s Player of the Year Allen Kessler, and created a prize pool of $375,720. After three days of intense play, Mark Jones defeated a stacked final table to capture the $90,169 first-place prize.
|1st||Mark Jones||Canyon Lake, California||$90,169|
|2nd||Lilly Kiletto||Manasota Beach, Florida||$55,607|
|3rd||Ron Hauser||Rosalind, Alberta||$37,572|
|4th||Dan Heimiller||Las Vegas, Nevada||$26,676|
|5th||Triet Nguyen||San Francisco||$20,665|
|6th||Chris DeMaci||Shandon, California||$16,907|
|7th||Larry Kenzy||Palm Desert, California||$14,090|
|8th||Chris Karambinis||Chicago, Illinois||$11,835|
|9th||Stanislav Barshak||Northbrook, Illinois||$9,769|
*Prize includes $3,000 HPT Championship package
According to the HPT, the first elimination of the final table was Illinois pro Stanislav Barshak, who has more than $5 million in career earnings. Barshak began the final table as one of the bigger stacks, but he quickly dwindled after doubling up several opponents. In his final hand, he moved all in with only to run into the of Jones. The board ran out clean and Barshak had to settle for ninth place and $9,796.
Likewise, Chris Karambinis of Slanton, California started with a top-three stack, but he suffered similar setbacks. Eventually, Karambinis fell when in eighth place for $11,835 after Chris DeMaci flopped a straight. Larry Kenzy, who took home $14,090 for his seventh-place finish, followed him out the door a short time later.
“HPT events are not in typical locations,” DeMaci said. “So getting out to see places that I usually don’t get to see is great.” DeMaci, a pro from Shandon, California seemed to be enjoying his first HPT event, but his run came to an end in sixth place for $16,907 after he ran into .
Triet Nguyen, who has three HPT cashes and two final table appearances, was the next to go in fifth place, which earned the San Francisco chef a $20,665 payday. Dan Heimiller, who is the running for the HPT Player of the Year, soon joined him on the rail in fourth place for $26,676.
Fan-favorite Ron Hauser from Rosalind, Alberta, who qualified for the Main Event via a $160 satellite, had perhaps the most interesting story at the final table. The retired farmer began as the short stack, but thanks to five doubles he made it all the way to three-handed play. Unfortunately for him, that is where his run came to an end, though he managed to turn that $160 into $37,572.
Heads-up play was a dramatic affair between Jones, a business owner from Canyon Lake, California, and Lily Kiletto thanks to some game-changing river cards. In the final hand, which took place in Level 33 (100,000/200,000/30,000) on Hand #219 of the final table, Jones moved all in and Kiletto called off.
Kiletto got it in good, and the Florida woman was looking good on the flop. The turn brought her one step closer to a double, but then the dealer burned and put out the on the river. Jones spiked a pair to steal the pot, and Kiletto had to settle for runner-up and a $55,607 consolation prize.
“It’s certainly a life-changing experience,” Jones said after his win.
The HPT’s next event will take place from March 13-24 at the Ameristar Casino Hotel in Vicksburg, Mississippi. For more information, check out the following HPT video:
*Data and photos courtesy of Heartland Poker Tour.