On Monday, Josh Marvin of Sterling Heights, Michigan conquered a field of 505 entrants to win the Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort $1,650 Main Event for $166,565. Not only that, Marvin won the tournament, which took place in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan and boasted a $724,200 prize pool, by defeating his good friend, Chris Moon, in heads-up play.
"I had a rough summer in Vegas," Marvin said after the win. "This will help make up for it... I'm very excited."
Prior to the win, Marvin had just four cashes on his poker résumé totaling $23,036, with the largest being $14,740 for a fifth-place finish in Event #11: $5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Turbo at the 2013 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. Marvin's only other HPT cash was a 40th-place finish in the 2011 stop at Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort, good for a modest $2,188.
Final Table Results
|1||Josh Marvin||Sterling Heights, MI||$166,565|
|2||Chris Moon||Detroit, MI||$101,823|
|3||John Skrabutenas||Chicago, IL||$67,495|
|4||Scott Sisler||Novi, MI||$46,928|
|5||Vinny Ho||Midland, MI||$35,124|
|6||Rodney Maxey||Coleman, MI||$27,158|
|7||Alexander Ahmed||Detroit, MI||$22,088|
|8||Kyle Gasiorowski||Lake Orion, MI||$18,105|
|9||Patrick Smolinski||Rapid City, MI||$14,484|
The first final table elimination was that of Patrick Smolinski, who had actually qualified for the tournament via a $180 satellite. Smolinski ended up taking home $14,484 when he failed to complete his double belly-buster straight draw on the river.
"This is like a dream come true," said the retired art teacher from Rapid City, Michigan. "It's amazing!"
Not long after, small business owner and father of three Kyle Gasiorowski followed him out the door after moving all in for his last 310,000 and receiving calls from both Moon and John Skrabutenas. The flop saw Moon bet 250,000 and then fold when Skrabutenas raised to 600,000.
Neither the turn nor river helped Gasiorowski, and he had to settle for eighth place and a $18,105 payday.
From there, Detroit poker player Alexander Ahmed finished in seventh when he tried to make a move and ran into Skrabutenas's pocket kings; commercial roofer and satellite qualifier Rodney Maxey took his leave in sixth for $27,158; and one of the more active players at the final table, Vinny Ho, fell at the hands of the eventual champ.
After the dinner break, mortgage broker Scott Sisler, who finished fourth in a World Series of Poker event this summer got his chips in the middle with second pair, but ran smack dab into Moon's straight. As such, Sisler was sent to the rail for $46,928.
Prior to the event, Skrabutenas, a computer programmer from Chicago, had never cashed in a poker tournament, and he eventually left with a $67,495 payday for finishing third, the result of his failing to overcome the of Moon. It was a welcome score for Skrabutenas, who is expecting a baby in three months.
In heads-up play, the two good friends exchanged pots for nearly two hours before things came to a head in a hand being called "one of the most memorable hands in the tour's history."
It happened when Moon opened for 250,000 and then called when Marvin three-bet to 700,000. The flop saw Marvin bet 700,000 and then snap-call when Moon shoved all in for 2.7 million.
Marvin had flopped two pair to pull ahead of Moon, but the turn counterfeited him to put Moon back in front. Amazingly, the spiked on the river to fill up Marvin and give him the HPT title.
"Not bad for a Monday I guess," joked Moon, who took home $101,823 for his runner-up finish.
The HPT will now head to Ameristar Casino Hotel Kansas City in Missouri from August 14-24. For details on the rest of the 2015 season, visit HPTpoker.com.