RunGood Poker Series' first ever $1,100 Main Event kicked off at Horseshoe Council Bluffs, and 68 players turned out for the first of two starting days. When the dust settled, Russell Licking had piled up 240,500 for the chip lead, besting the 213,500 bagged by RunGood Pro Justin Gardenhire.
Success on his home circuit isn't new to Gardenhire. Early this year alone, he chopped RunGood Hard Rock Tulsa for $40,000 and got 15th at RunGood Council Bluffs for $2,281 more. He also finished third in October 2014 for $15,091 at RunGood Downstream.
Gardenhire picked up a couple of big pots late to help his surge. He busted Dash Saenz in a three-bet pot when the Saenz shipped from the button on a flop after Gardenhire bet with in the small blind. Then, he called a 16 big blind shove from Drew Woodke with eights in the big blind and won against .
Of course, a little luck helps too. Earlier in the day, "Gardy" shipped almost all of his stack in preflop with against Matt Anderon's . They got the rest in on a ten-high flop, with Gardenhire doubling.
Licking had a big stack fairly early on and picked up aces late to bust an opponent and essentially lock in his chip lead.
Others among the 13 survivors included Gardenhire's fellow RunGod Pro Michael Sanders (165,500), Clint Lilienthal (30,000), and former RunGood Council Bluffs champ Brandon Fish.
Players eliminated during Day 1a included Anderson, Aaron Johnson, Phil Mader, Jeff Fielder, Terry Karn, and RunGood Pros Jamie Kerstetter, Bernard Lee, Ryan Tepen, and Ray Henson.
Kerstetter had a particularly painful elimination when she got top set of jacks in against the nut straight held by Lilienthal just before reentries ended. She failed to pair the board and Lilienthal surged to the top of the counts. He would later bag 30,000.
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