There will be another title placed in Chris Moneymaker’s trophy case when he returns to Tennessee, as the 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event champion is the winner of the Hollywood Poker Open St. Louis Regional Championship.
Moneymaker defeated Frank Wyville in a very short heads-up match. Wyville earned $22,395 for his efforts.
The Team PokerStars Pro entered the day fifth in chips, and quickly ascended into the chip lead. At the start of the final table, Moneymaker accrued nearly half of the chips in play, and no one was able to challenge him. He eliminated seven of his nine opponents at the final table, en route to capturing the $36,295 first-place prize, and a seat to the $2,500 HPO Championship Event at The M Resort Spa Casino in Las Vegas in June.
James Bartlett nearly made things interesting during four-handed play, getting all of his chips in the middle with against Moneymaker’s , but Moneymaker ran out a straight to send him packing.
HPO St. Louis Payouts
Day 2 started with 15 players, but five players hit the rail in a little over an hour. Derek Shroeder lost a race to James Basham; Jason Bliven was unable to improve with bottom pair against Bartlett; Michael Belken unsuccessfully shoved on Moneymaker with a nine-high flush draw; Lance Dorsey dealt a cooler, running queens into aces; and Kyle Cartwright turned two pair against Bartlett’s top two pair.
Damjan Radanov was the first player to exit from the final table, running a pair of aces into Moneymaker’s turned two pair, and there wasn’t another elimination for a full hour.
Mark Fledderman, the chip leader entering the day, called a four-bet shove from Moneymaker with , but Moneymaker had him crushed with . The board didn’t improve Fledderman’s hand, and he hit the rail empty-handed.
The bubble lasted nearly two hours, allowing Moneymaker to continue to build his stack, and eventually Matthew Kingston was eliminated. Kingston moved all in out of the small blind for less than 20 big blinds with , and Wyville called with in the big blind. Wyville’s hand held up, and the bubble burst.
Todd Metheny gave Moneymaker the toughest time on Day 2, but he lost a big hand against Wyville in Level 16 and was eliminated by Moneymaker in seventh place shortly thereafter. Jovan Sudar followed Metheny out the door in sixth place, earning $6,399. Basham cracked Shabtai Moria’s aces in Level 17, and Moneymaker busted him in fifth place less than an orbit later.
The four remaining players went on an hour dinner break, and upon returning, Moneymaker cracked Bartlett’s aces, eliminating him in fourth place. The on the river not only gave the HPO Tour Ambassador a straight, but it also secured him nearly 80 percent of the chips in play. Basham and Wyville tried to scrap their way back into the fight, but neither player could get the ball rolling.
The HPO Regional Series continues on March 20 at Hollywood Charles Town Races, in Charles Town, West Virginia. PokerNews will be on hand for the Main Event on March 29, where another Regional Champion will be crowned.