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John Bunch Wins Heartland Poker Tour Stratosphere Main Event for $150,080

John Bunch

The Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) recently completed its stop at Stratosphere Casino, Hotel, & Tower in Las Vegas, Nevada. The $1,650 Main Event attracted 441 entries and created a prize pool of $638,655. In the end, local technical advisor John Bunch emerged victorious to win the title and $150,081 first-place prize.

"It was definitely a tough table," Bunch said, referencing a final table that include poker pros Ryan Laplante and recent November Niner Dan Sindelar. "I knew coming in that I just had to play my game. I stuck in there, got lucky, and here I am,"

Final Table Results

1John BunchLas Vegas, NV$150,081
2Joey BrownSpringfield, MO$92,605
3Ryan LaplanteLas Vegas, NV$60,672
4Gary BoldenLas Vegas, NV$42,151
5Paul McCaffreySan Ramon, CA$31,294
6Ryan TosocChicago, IL$24,269
7Peter NighKirkwood, MO$21,012
8Dan SindelarLas Vegas, NV$17,244
9Ben PalmerDeadwood, SD$14,050

According to live updates of the HPT Stratosphere, Ben Palmer was the first elimination of the final table when he got his short stack all in preflop holding the {j-Spades}{9-Diamonds} only to run into the {a-Spades}{a-Diamonds} of Laplante. Not long after, Sindelar joined him on the rail.

Sindelar's bust happened in Level 26 (20,000/40,000/5,000) when he open-shoved for 585,000 from early position and Joey Brown, who finished runner-up in the 2010 HPT Championship, called from the hijack. The rest of the players folded and the cards were turned up.

Brown: {q-Clubs}{q-Spades}
Sindelar: {k-Spades}{j-Spades}

Sindelar, who finished seventh in the 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event for $1,235,862, was in need of some help, but he was left wanting as the board ran out a clean {8-Clubs}{5-Spades}{3-Hearts}{4-Clubs}{4-Diamonds}. Sindelar earned $17,244 for his eighth-place finish.

From there, Peter Nigh (7th - $21,012), Ryan Tosoc (6th - $24,269), and Paul McCaffrey (5th - $31,294) all hit the rail before Gary Bolden followed them out the door in fourth. It happened in Level 28 (30,000/60,000/10,000) when Laplante raised to 150,000 from the small blind, Bolden defended from the big, and the flop came down {j-Spades}{8-Hearts}{7-Hearts}.

Laplante continued for 115,000, Bolden called, and the {J-Clubs} appeared on the turn. Laplante bet again, this time 185,000, and Bolden shoved all in for about a million more. Laplante called with the {a-Hearts}{10-Hearts} for a flush draw, while Bolden held two pair with the {q-Diamonds}{7-Diamonds}. The dealer burned one last time and put out the {6-Hearts} on the river. Laplante hit his flush and Bolden was out in fourth place for $42,151.

Laplante was next to go when his {7-Diamonds}{7-Spades} failed to hold up against the {a-Spades}{q-Diamonds} of Brown, and that set up a heads-up match between Brown and Bunch with the former holding a more than 3-1 chip lead. The duo battled back and forth for an extended period of time, and eventually Bunch seized the chip lead.

Then, in Level 31 (60,000/120,000/15,000), Brown opened for 275,000 and Bunch called to see a flop of {j-Hearts}{10-Clubs}{9-Hearts}. Bunch checked, Brown bet 325,000, and Bunch check-raised to 875,000. Brown responded by moving all in for 4.205 million and Bunch called.

Bunch: {8-Diamonds}{7-Clubs}
Brown: {q-Diamonds}{9-Diamonds}

Brown had flopped a pair with an open-ended straight draw, but Bunch had flopped a straight. The {2-Diamonds} turn was no help to Brown, and neither was the {7} river. Brown once again finished runner-up in an HPT event, this time taking home $92,605.

The HPT continues next week with their Season X HPT Championship at Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort in Michigan. PokerNews will bring you a tournament recap upon completion of play. A full schedule of events is available at

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

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