The Heartland Poker Tour Golden Gates Casino & Poker Parlour in Black Hawk, Colorado attracted 721 entrants to its $1,650 Main Event, which created a $1,059,870 prize pool. It marked the ninth consecutive million dollar prize pool at the stop.
The prize pool was distributed to the top 81 finishers, and among the notables to cash were Chris Tryba, Eddy Sabat, Stan Jablonski, David Gutfreund, Reginald "Shawn" Roberts, Kevin Eyster and Ross Bybee each cashed in the event.
However, in the end it was Matthew Shepsky of Skokie, Illinois who emerged victorious to capture the $227,864 first place prize, the biggest score of his burgeoning career.
"It feels unreal, I'm very happy - I don't have the words," Shepsky said. "I thought if I got chips early I had a chance and then doubled up on the first hand - it was a roller coaster."
Prior to the win, Shepsky had $482,438 in live tournament earnings including $77,294 for a win in the 2012 Deepstack Extravaganza III $1,100 No-Limit Hold'em; ninth in the 2012 The River Guaranteed $4 Million Poker Series Main Event for $62,730; and $47,200 for winning the World Series of Poker Circuit Hammond Summer Warm-Up Series Main Event.
Final Table Results
|1||Matthew Shepsky||Skokie, IL||$227,864|
|2||Rex Clinkscales||Irvine, CA||$144,069|
|3||Brandon Miller||Palm Bay, FL||$92,421|
|4||Garrett Patrick||Snowmass, CO||$63,910|
|5||Danny Gonzales||Denver, CO||$46,634|
|6||Rich Dixon||Cheyenne, WY||$35,824|
|7||Victor Taggart||Westminster, CO||$29,570|
|8||Nikita Leshchinskiy||Aurora, CO||$24,695|
|9||Matt Bond||Dallas, TX||$19,820|
According to updates from the event, Shepsky entered the final table low on chips but doubled on the first hand with pocket kings after Matt Bond woke up with pocket queens. A short time later, Bond fell after getting his chips in preflop with the and failing to get there against the pocket jacks of Garrett Patrick.
From there the Nikita Leshchinskiy, Victor Taggart, and Rich Dixon all hit the rail before Danny Gonzales, who was making his third HPT final table appearance, followed them out the door in fifth place. It happened on a flop when Gonzales bet 350,000 and Shepsky shoved all in. Gonzales called off holding the , which was ahead of the of Shepsky. The turn was disaster for Gonzales as Shepsky spiked two pair. The river failed to help Gonzales and he had to settle for third place and $46,634 in prize money.
Patrick was the next to go when he ran two Broadway cards into pocket tens and failed to improve, which set up a tough three-handed battle.
"It was a tough table, those guys put on a real battle," said Shepsky. "I was lucky three-handed, picked up some chips and it worked out."
Brandon Miller, who entered the final table as a micro-stack with just three big blinds, managed to hang tough the entire final table before busting in third place. He eventually got so short that he committed with the and failed to get lucky against the of Shepsky, who then took a 3-1 chip lead into heads-up play against poker pro Rex Clinkscales.
Clinkscales managed to double, but that's where is comeback came to an end. In what would ultimately be the final hand of the tournament, a flop saw both players check and the appear on the turn. Shepsky bet 850,000, Clinkscales called, and the completed the board on the river. Shepsky checked and then snap-called when Clinkscales moved all in. Shepsky tabled pocket queens, which bested the busted flush draw of Clinkscales, who took home $141,069 for his runner-up finish.
Congratulations to Matthew Shepsky, the Heartland Poker Tour Golden Gates Casino & Poker Parlour champion for $227,864.
The HPT is now at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno for another nationally televised Main Event. Visit hptpoker.com for more information.