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Kane Lai Wins Second Major Title of Year w/ HPT Ameristar St. Charles Win for $150,593

Kane Lai


  • Kane Lai topped a field of 466 entrants to win @hptpoker Ameristar Casino Resort Spa St. Charles for $150,593.

Kane Lai is having a heck of a year. Back in March, he topped a field of 409 to win the Mid-States Poker Tour Golden Gates Casino for $101,365, his first six-figure score. More recently, Lai won the Heartland Poker Tour Ameristar Casino Resort Spa St. Charles – a tournament that attracted 466 entrants and created a prize pool of $654,730 — for $150,593 and his second major title of the year.

"I feel fantastic," Lai said after the win. "It was a tough final table but the cards fell my way. The table was a bunch of great guys all the way around … I'll be playing more HPT stops in the future."

On a side note, Lai is back in Black Hawk, Colorado attempting a title defense in the latest MSPT Golden Gates Casino. He bagged the third-biggest stack on Day 1a.

Final Table Results

1Kane LaiHighlands Ranch, CO) $150,593 
2Chris CornellClarksville, TN$92,055
3William HanerCollinsville, IL$61,021
4Ryan TepenBowling Green, MO$42,427
5Greg WoodSt. Charles, MO$31,754
6Scott VetterWashington, IL$24,552
7Ryan WhiteLeawood, KS$19,969
8Mark FleddermannLas Vegas, NV$16,368
9Richard GumGranite City, IL$13,095

According to updates from the event, Lai, a doctor from Highlands Ranch, Colorado, scored the first elimination by sending Richard Gum, a retired TWA crew chief from Granite City, Illinois, home in ninth place.

Not long after, Lai raised to 110,000 and a short-stacked Mark Fleddermann shoved all in.

"You're gonna like my hand," Lai said before tabling the {8-Hearts}{2-Hearts}. Fleddermann was ahead with the {a-Hearts}{j-Hearts}, but the board ran out {10-Spades}{10-Diamonds}{9-Hearts}{8-Diamonds}{8-Clubs} to give Lai a winning full house.

From there, Business Development Executive Ryan White, who was making his third HPT final table appearance, was eliminated in seventh place for $19,969, and Scott Vetter, who won his seat via a $375 satellite, fell in sixth for $24,552 after his {a-Diamonds}{9-Diamonds} failed to get there against Lai's {q-Diamonds}{q-Clubs}.

Lai then eliminated local sales manager Greg Wood, the result of the latter's {k-Spades}{5-Diamonds} failing to crack the pocket nines of Lai. Wood took home $31,754 for his fifth-place finish.

Ryan Tepen, who began the final table as the chip leader, soon found his tournament life at risk with king-queen against Lai's ace-jack. The ace-jack held up and Tepen made his way to the payout desk to collect $42,427 for his fourth-place finish.

William Haner, a local business owner who won his seat via a $200 qualifier, was then straightened out by Lai in third place, which set up a heads-up match featuring Lai (7,015,000) and logger Chris Cornell (6,995,000).

Lai managed to extend his chip lead a bit, and in the final hand of the tournament Cornell raised to 100,000 and Lai three-bet to 400,000. Cornell called and then called a bet of 400,000 on the {k-Diamonds}{q-Clubs}{6-Clubs} flop. When the {A-Hearts} appeared on the turn, Lai checked and Cornell bet 500,000. Lai raised to 1.4 million, Cornell called, and the {4-Clubs} completed the board on the river.

Lai bet 2.4 million, Cornell shoved all in, and Lai called with the {a-Clubs}{k-Clubs} for the nut flush, which bested the {9-Clubs}{8-Clubs} flush of Cornell, who took home $92,055 for his runner-up finish.

The HPT now heads to Michigan's Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort from November 13-23. For more information, visit

*Lead photo courtesy of HPT & Eric Harkins of IMPDI Worldwide.

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