Mark-Ellis Cortez Wins Lone Star Poker Series Champions Social Main Event ($81,720)
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From January 22-31, the Lone Star Poker Series held its second-ever stop, which was hosted by Champions Social in Houston, Texas. The 16-event series (check out our live blog here) proved to be a popular festival as the tournaments catered to a combined 2,288 entrants and awarded $932,535 in prize money. Not only that, every day featured a live stream allowing fans to watch both cash game and final table action.
The stop started with a bang as Event #1: $400 Super Stack Kickoff drew an impressive 546 runners, which created a $177,450 prize pool, well ahead of the $100,000 guaranteed. Stephen Hart won that tournament for $32,000 and the silver belt buckle trophy.
Other notable winners included Bridgette Adkins winning Event #3: $300 NLH Ladies Only for $3,155 and a Tiffany bracelet, five-time World Series of Poker Circuit ring winner Ray Henson taking down Event #5: $400 8-Game for $4,160, John Samuelson topping a 91-entry field to win Event #11: $600 PLO Championship II for $13,028, and Logan Hewett proving himself a bounty hunter by emerging victorious in Event #13: $600 Lone Star Surprise Bounty for $15,566.
While all of those events awarded money clips as the trophy, the $600 Main Event offered up a custom silver belt buckle to the winner.
Mark-Ellis Cortez Wins Main Event
This past weekend, the Lone Star Poker Series Champions Social $600 Main Event more than doubled its $200K GTD by drawing 877 entrants over four starting flights. That resulted in a $447,270 prize pool that was paid out to the top 107 finishers.
Among those to cash but fall short of the final table were Event #9: $400 PLO Double Black Chip Bounty champ Keith Norris (10th - $5,950), James Juvancic (16th - $4,850), Tom Hudson (27th - $2,500), Tiffany Keathley (35th - $2,100), Event #14: $400 Big-O 8-Max winner Schuyler Thornton (41st - $1,850), David Shaw (57th - $1,500), Tom Laplante (69th - $1,375), John Mingus III (80th - $1,275), La Sengphet (94th - $1,200), and Rudolph Bourg (107th - $1,200).
The final table had several accomplished players including Lone Star Poker Tour co-founder Hayden Fortini and poker pro Chan Pelton, who according to The Hendon Mob have career earnings of $625,282 and $646,601 respectively.
With a slow and steady structure, it proved to be a lengthy affair with Pelton bowing out in eighth place for $8,600 and Fortini taking his leave in fourth place for $25,400. After Kristopher Burchfield exited in third place for $35,800, the title came down to local player Mark-Ellis Cortez and Brandon Bergin of Fayetteville, Georgia.
The former ultimately prevailed to win the title and $81,720 first-place prize. It was far and away Cortez’s largest poker score; in fact, the only other cash he has on The Hendon Mob is from 2019 and for a modest $1,500.
LSPS Champions Social Main Event Final Table Results
Justin Brassieur Wins Two Events
One of the stop’s breakout players was Louisiana’s Justin Brassieur, who captured two titles. The first came when he topped a small 25-entry field to win Event #12: $250 NLH Nightly Turbo for $1,870 after a three-way deal that saw Lone Star Poker Tour founder Kim Stone finish as runner-up for $1,723 and Catherine Young take third for $1,407.
A few days later, he secured a much larger payday in Event #16: $400 NLH Monster Stack, which drew 134 entries. This time Brassieur won $10,000 after a three-way deal with Texas players Amjad Khan and Kedron Guinn, who each took $6,714 for finishing second and third respectively.
To top it all off, Brassieur notched a 40th-place finish in the Main Event for $2,100.
Lone Star Poker Series Champions Social Winners
|Event #1: $400 Super Stack Kickoff||546||$177,450||Stephen Hart||$32,000|
|Event #2: $400 NLH Sunday Special||68||$22,100||Carlos Requena||$6,030|
|Event #3: $300 NLH Ladies Only||36||$8,640||Bridgette Adkins||$3,155|
|Event #4: $400 NLH 6-Max||60||$19,500||Adam Elfazzani||$5,055|
|Event #5: $400 8-Game||32||$10,400||Ray Henson||$4,160|
|Event #6: $250 NLH Turbo||33||$6,600||Doug Ngo||$1,694|
|Event #7: $400 NLH Mega Stack||97||$31,525||Darren Hicks||$7,409|
|Event #8: $400 Triple Draw 3-Game Mix||26||$8,450||Casey Robbins||$4,225|
|Event #9: $400 PLO Double Black Chip Bounty||36||$11,700||Keith Norris||$1,800|
|Event #10: $400 NLH Double Black Chip Bounty||62||$20,150||Linh Dinh||$2,306|
|Event #11: $600 PLO Championship II||91||$46,410||John Samuelson||$13,028|
|Event #12: $250 NLH Nightly Turbo||25||$5,000||Justin Brassieur||$1,870|
|Event #13: $600 Lone Star Surprise Bounty||109||$55,590||Logan Hewett||$15,566|
|Event #14: $400 Big-O 8-Max||56||$18,200||Schuyler Thornton||$5,460|
|Event #15: $600 Main Event||877||$447,270||Mark-Ellis Cortez||$81,720|
|Event #16: $400 NLH Monster Stack||134||$43,550||Justin Brassieur||$10,000|
Executive Editor US, PokerNews Podcast co-host & 2013 WSOP Bracelet Winner.