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Matt Culberson Wins Heartland Poker Tour Ameristar Casino St. Charles for $129,147

Matt Culberson

The Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) recently completed its stop at Ameristar Casino Resort Spa St. Charles in St. Charles, Missouri. The $1,650 Main Event attracted 393 entries and created a prize pool of $538,115. In the end, Matt Culberson, a local baseball instructor who qualified for the tournament via a $375 satellite, emerged victorious to capture the $129,147 first-place prize.

Final Table Results

1Matt CulbersonLake St. Louis, MO$129,147
2Michael RossChicago, IL$78,350
3Jeffrey BrinOlathe, KS$52,466
4Ron AmosQuincy, IL$36,592
5Matt CannellaO'Fallon, IL$27,444
6Reginald RobertsSpringfield, MO$21,525
7Joshua TurnerSt. Louis, MO$18,188
8Carl MastersClarksville, TN$15,067
9Matthew MuellerColumbia, IL$12,915

According to live updates of the HPT Ameristar St. Charles, the first elimination of the final table came in Level 26 (20,000/40,000/5,000) when Matt Cannella, a 28-year-old advertising executive, raised to 105,000 and then called when Matthew Mueller three-bet shoved for 280,000.

Cannella was well out in front with his {q-Clubs}{q-Diamonds} to Mueller's {a-Hearts}{10-Hearts}, and the queens held after the board ran out {9-Diamonds}{8-Diamonds}{5-Hearts}{10-Diamonds}{3-Hearts}. Mueller, a 46-year-old poker pro, was the first to go in ninth place for $12,915, but he was far from the last.

Before long, others would join him on the rail including Carl Masters (8th - $15,067), who exited early despite starting the final table second in chips; Josh Turner (7th - $18,188), a 34-year-old poker pro from St. Louis; and two-time HPT champ Reginald Roberts (6th - $21,525).

From there, Cannella fell when his flopped flush was outdrawn by Culberson’s rivered full house, and then Ron Amos, a 46-year-old engineer, took his leave in fourth place when he got his stack all in holding the {a-Spades}{10-Spades} against the {a-Diamonds}{9-Clubs} of Culberson. Amos got it in good, but his lead was short lived as the {j-Diamonds}{9-Hearts}{3-Spades} flop gave Culberson a pair of nines. Neither the {A-Clubs} turn nor {Q-Diamonds} river helped Amos, and he had to settle for fourth place and $36,592.

In Level 29 (40,000/80,000/10,000), a big hand went down when Culberson raised to 225,000 from the button and Jeff Brin, a 37-year-old carpet store operation manager, called from the big blind. When the flop came down {a-Diamonds}{5-Diamonds}{5-Spades}, Brin led out for 175,000, Culberson called, and the dealer burned and turned the {10-Diamonds}. Two checks saw the {J-Diamonds} complete the board on the river, Brin bet 350,000, and Culberson raised to 1 million. Brin three-bet shoved and Culberson snap-called. Brin showed the {a-Clubs}{5-Spades} for a flopped full house, but it was no good as Culberson had flopped a bigger one with the {a-Spades}{a-Diamonds}.

Culberson began heads-up play holding a nearly 4-1 chip lead over 38-year-old poker pro Michael Ross, but the short stack managed to even the stacks. Unfortunately for Ross, his comeback was cut short when he ran queens straight into Culberson’s pocket aces. Culberson doubled and finished off the crippled Ross on the very next hand. Ross took home $78,350 for his runner-up finish.

The next stop for the HPT will be at the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower in Las Vegas. A full schedule of events is available at

For more on the HPT Stratosphere, check out this video:

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