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Josh Reichard Wins HPT Championship; Aaron Johnson Season XIV POY

Josh Reichard
  • Josh Reichard (JReichard45) won the @HPTPoker Season XIV Championship for a career-high $221,293.

  • Minnesota's @AyeGeeJay captured the @HPTPoker Season XIV Player of the Year after a tight race.

The Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) wrapped up its Season XIV $2,500 Championship on Tuesday at the Ameristar in East Chicago. The event, which drew 434 runners and created a $965,650 prize pool, concluded with an all-star table – one that included 2017 MSPT Wisconsin State Poker champ Richard Bai and World Series of Poker Circuit Potawatomi Main Event champ Ala Aqel – that not only saw the winner walk away with $221,294 but ultimately determined who got the title in a tight Player of the Year race.

In the end, it was Wisconsin poker pro Josh Reichard who eliminated his final four opponents to finish as the last player standing. With that, Reichard added an HPT title to his impressive poker résumé, which includes 10 World Series of Poker Circuit gold rings and a Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) title. Additionally, the win was the biggest of his career and vaulted him up to nearly $1.2 million in lifetime earnings.

Reichard, who was the first-ever guest on PokerNews’ LFG Podcast, defeated Pittsburgh’s Bobby Noel in heads-up play to close it out. In the final hand of the tournament, Noel flopped top pair of kings and got it in against Reichard, who had flopped a club flush with six-seven. Noel’s nine of clubs kicker kept him drawing live, but he failed to find another club. Noel took home $136,625 for his second-place finish.

Others to cash the Main Event were Yoon Kim (13th - $12,412), Ari Engel (16th - $9,333), Sammy De Silva (23rd - $7,697), Casey Carroll (35th - $6,254), and Cody Brinn (44th - $5,292).

HPT Ameristar East Chicago Official Final Table Results

1Josh ReichardJanesville, WI$221,293
2Bobby NoelPittsburgh, PA$136,625
3Jim KasputisRockford, IL$90,923
4Adam GreenbergLong Grove, IL$63,021
5Richard BaiChicago, IL$47,626
6Aaron JohnsonRed Wing, MN$37,043
7Ala AqelOrland Park, IL$30,789
8Jimmy GumilaStreamwood, IL$25,497
9George PappasRoselle, IL$21,552
10Emmett HickeyArlington, TX$16,453

Aaron Johnson Secures POY

Aaron Johnson wins HPT Season XIV POY
Aaron Johnson wins HPT Season XIV Player of the Year.

Entering the final stop of the season, Ossama Estafanous led the HPT Season XIV Player of the Year race, but his failure to cash opened the door for both Aaron Johnson and Jim Kasputis, who both made the final table.

Johnson, who was profiled earlier this year right here on PokerNews, just needed to finish eighth or better to take the lead. If Johnson finished fourth or better he’d lock up POY, but lingering in between was Jim Kasputis Jr., who had a shot at it if he were to win the tournament.

When Johnson busted in sixth place, Kasputis was drawing live. Unfortunately for him, he failed to close it out to give Johnson the title, which awarded a prize package that included $10,000 in HPT Main Event buy-ins and hotel accommodations.

In Season XIV, Johnson kicked things off by winning March’s HPT Belterra $1,100 Main Event for $86,189 and two months later took eighth in the HPT East Chicago for $22,377. Toss in a 41st-place finish in October’s HPT Daytona Beach for $2,189, and his deep run in the Championship Event was enough to get the job done.

Johnson joins an impressive list of pros to have won HPT POY titles in the past that includes Greg “Fossilman” Raymer, Ari Engel, Shawn Roberts, Aaron Massey and Allen "Chainsaw" Kessler.

Poker fans may not have heard the last from Johnson in 2018. That’s because he currently holds a healthy lead in the MSPT Season 9 POY race with just two stops to go. Right now, he’s a favorite to win two mid-major poker tour POY titles in the same year.

Season XV of the HPT will kick off in January with a $1,650 Main Event at Ameristar East Chicago.

HPT Season XIV POY Final Standings

1Aaron Johnson216.40
2Ossama Estafanous197.00
3Jake Baumgartner174.40
4Jim Kasputis Jr.174.00
5Josh Reichard150.00
6Alex Ziskin147.70
7Darryl Ronconi146.00
8Mike Kamenjarin145.70
9Mike Englert140.00
10Ben Brown140.00

Images courtesy of the HPT.

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