The 2015 Million Dollar Heater at the Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Mississippi concluded on Wednesday with the conclusion of their $2,500 buy-in $500,000 guaranteed Main Event, a tournament that attracted 198 entrants (95 Day 1a entries; 103 Day 2b entries).
The event attracted a slew of notables including Ryan Lenaghan, “Captain” Tom Franklin, Judge Leo Booth, Kenny Milam, and defending champ James Miller. Unfortunately none of those players made the money at the top 18, but those that did included Shaun Johnston (17th - $5,000), Corrie Wunstel (14th - $6,000), Blake Barousse (13th - $6,000), and John Dolan (12th - $7,000).
In the end, David Tuthill, who finished fourth the year before, defeated Jeremy Gaubert to captured the title and $165,000 first-place prize.
“I really wanted to win this year. I had my sights set on winning,” Tuthill told Beau Rivage officials after the win. “It feels amazing to get the year off to a great start. This couldn’t have gone any better. I’m very pleased.”
|1||David Tuthill||St. Petersburg, FL||$165,000|
|2||Jeremy Gaubert||Thibodaux, LA||$91,000|
|3||Benjamin Zamani||Boca Raton, FL||$50,000|
|4||Kirk Adams||St. Pete Beach, FL||$40,000|
|5||Joseph Laro||Opelika, AL||$30,000|
|6||Ben Thomas||Baton Rouge, LA||$25,000|
|7||David Williams||Hoover, AL||$20,000|
|8||Chun Law||Memphis, TN||$15,000|
|9||Sardor Gaziev||N Brunswick, NJ||$10,000|
According to updates from the event, the first elimination of the final table came in Level 19 (3,000/6,000/1,000) when Sardor Gaziev got his stack in holding only to run into the of Tuthill. The board was out a clean , and Gaziev was bounced in ninth place for $10,000 while Tuthill, who began the final table second-to-last in chips, began to climb the counts.
After the eliminations of Chun Law and David Williams (not the 2004 World Series of Poker runner-up) exited in eighth and seventh place respectively, Baton Rouge’s Ben Thomas, who finished runner-up in the 2012 Gulf Coast Poker Championship, followed them out the door in sixth. It happened in Level 21 (6,000/12,000/2,000) when he got his last 100,000 or so all in preflop with and Kirk Adams called with . It was a race, and Adams would pull ahead on the flop. Neither the turn nor river helped Thomas, and he took home $25,000 for his performance.
Soon after, Joseph Laro fell in fifth place, and when his pocket kings ran into Gaubert’s aces, and then Adams was eliminated in fourth when he got all in holding pocket aces on a rainbow flop and was ahead of Benjamin Zamani’s . The turn was of no consequence, but the river was. Zamani spiked trips and Adams had to settle for fourth and $40,000.
Despite notching that elimination, Zamani was next to go when his failed to overtake the of Gaubert in an all-in preflop confrontation. Zamani earned $50,000 for his third-place finish and left Gaubert, who if you recall finished 58th in the 2008 WSOP Main Event, holding 2.3 million in chips to Tuthill’s 635,000 at the start of heads-up play.
Still, Tuthill held strong, eventually doubled into the lead, and then finished the job in Level 25 (12,000/24,000/3,000). It happened when he limped the button and Gaubert shoved all in from the big blind. Tuthill called and was in trouble.
Tuthill had kicker issues, but they got resolved on the flop. Suddenly Gaubert, a two-time World Poker Open Main Event champ, found himself in need of a king, but he watched helplessly as a blanked on the turn followed by a on the river.
Tuthill, who said he plans to play the European Poker Tour Malta with his winnings, took home a Movado Series 800 championship watch and a framed photo from IMPDI in addition to the $165,000 first-place prize.
“The final 18 was very tough. We had a lot of good players," Tuthill said after the win. "I’ve looked up to Jeremy [Gaubert] for years. Ben Zamani is one of my closest friends in poker, which made for an interesting dynamic.”
*Winner photo and data courtesy of beaupoker.com.