This past weekend, the Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) at Ameristar Casino Hotel Kansas City attracted 363 entrants to its $1,650 Main Event, which created a prize pool of $515,460. Using solid play and relentless aggression, local business owner Greg Jennings from Overland Park, Kansas walked away with the $118,560 first-place prize and the HPT champion's bracelet.
Prior to the win, Jennings had $171,348 in lifetime tournament earnings, with his best cash being $22,021 for a fifth-place finish in the World Series of Poker Circuit stop at Horseshoe Council Bluffs back in April. Other highlights on his résumé include a 16th-place finish in the 2014 WSOP Circuit Choctaw Main Event for $19,856, and runner-up in the 2014 Hard Rock Poker Open $675 Main Event for $19,104.
Final Table Results
|1||Greg Jennings||Overland Park, KS||$118,560|
|2||Stan Jablonski||Bullhead City, AZ||$73,195|
|3||Joey Brown||Springfield, MO||$48,711|
|4||Aaron Massey||Elmwood Park, IL||$33,763|
|5||Justin Young||Kansas City, KS||$25,515|
|6||Matt Bond||Dallas, TX||$19,845|
|7||Jon Lawson||Omaha, NE||$16,495|
|8||Alan Curl||Belle Fourche, SD||$13,660|
|9||Tom Tolbert||Ypsilanti, MI||$11,546|
According to updates from the event, the short-stacked Tom Tolbert, a Yellow Page publisher from Ypsilanti, Michigan, was the first to go, and South Dakota business owner Alan Curl, who was a week removed his Mid-States Poker Tour Grand Falls victory, followed him out the door in eighth place.
It happened when reigning HPT Player of the Year Aaron Massey raised to 125,000 and then called when Curl, who qualified for the HPT Main Event for just $700, three-bet all in for 285,000.
The flop failed to help either player, but a on the turn gave both players an open-ended straight draw. However, the river blanked, and Curl had to settled for $13,660 in prize money.
From there, Nebraska's Jon Lawson became the third casualty after running pocket queens ran into Massey's kings, and then Matt Bond, who was playing just his second-ever HPT event, fell in sixth place for $19,845.
"I think there's a lot of value in these tournaments," said Lawson, who planned to use some of the money towards purchasing a new home. "They're very, very well run and I love the structure."
After Justin Young, a business management employee from Kansas City who began the final table as the chip leader, bowed out in fifth place for $25,515, Massey joined him on the rail in fourth. It happened when Jennings raised to 250,000 and then snap-called after Massey three-bet all in for 1.25 million.
It was a flip, but not after the flop delivered Jennings trips. Neither the turn nor river was what Massey needed, and his fourth HPT final table resulted in a fourth-place finish for $33,763, which propelled him into the top five on the HPT all-time earnings list.
After poker dealer Joey Brown of Springfield, Missouri, who has finished runner-up on the HPT twice before, exited in third place for $48,711, Jennings began heads-up play at a more than 2-1 chip disadvantage against tour veteran Stan Jablonski, who was making his eighth final table appearance under the bright lights, joining Shawn Roberts as the only other player to do so on HPT.
However, Jennings was able to double into the chip lead, and not long after finished off Jablonski, who had never finished better than runner-up in an HPT. On the final hand, Jablonski limped the button and Jennings checked his option to see a flop of . Jablonski bet 200,000, Jennings called, and the dealer burned and turned the .
Jablonski bet 425,000, Jennings called, and the completed the board on the river. Jablonski proceeded to shove all in and Jennings called with the for ten-high flush. It was good as Jablonski had been bluffing with offsuit. Jablonski took home $73,195 for his runner-up finish, while Jennings captured the $118,560 first-place prize.
The HPT will now head to Ameristar Casino Hotel East Chicago in Indiana from August 27 through September 7. For details on the rest of the 2015 season, visit HPTpoker.com.