Mark-Ellis Cortez Wins Lone Star Poker Series Champions Social Main Event ($81,720)

Mark-Ellis Cortez

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

1Mark-Ellis Cortez$81,720
2Brandon Bergin$49,550
3Kristopher Burchfield$35,800
4Hayden Fortini$25,400
5Richard Semander$18,200
6Amir Soleymani$13,850
7Ryan Vanderpoorten$10,500
8Chan Pelton$8,600
9Jeremy Tinsley$7,200

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.

Justin Brassieur
Justin Brassieur is a two-time champ.

Lone Star Poker Series Champions Social Winners

TournamentEntriesPrize PoolWinnerPrize
Event #1: $400 Super Stack Kickoff546$177,450Stephen Hart$32,000
Event #2: $400 NLH Sunday Special68$22,100Carlos Requena$6,030
Event #3: $300 NLH Ladies Only36$8,640Bridgette Adkins$3,155
Event #4: $400 NLH 6-Max60$19,500Adam Elfazzani$5,055
Event #5: $400 8-Game32$10,400Ray Henson$4,160
Event #6: $250 NLH Turbo33$6,600Doug Ngo$1,694
Event #7: $400 NLH Mega Stack97$31,525Darren Hicks$7,409
Event #8: $400 Triple Draw 3-Game Mix26$8,450Casey Robbins$4,225
Event #9: $400 PLO Double Black Chip Bounty36$11,700Keith Norris$1,800
Event #10: $400 NLH Double Black Chip Bounty62$20,150Linh Dinh$2,306
Event #11: $600 PLO Championship II91$46,410John Samuelson$13,028
Event #12: $250 NLH Nightly Turbo25$5,000Justin Brassieur$1,870
Event #13: $600 Lone Star Surprise Bounty109$55,590Logan Hewett$15,566
Event #14: $400 Big-O 8-Max56$18,200Schuyler Thornton$5,460
Event #15: $600 Main Event877$447,270Mark-Ellis Cortez$81,720
Event #16: $400 NLH Monster Stack134$43,550Justin Brassieur$10,000
  • Mark-Ellis Cortez topped an 877-entry field to win @LSPokerSeries @HTXChampions Main for $81,720.

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Executive Editor U.S.

Executive Editor US, PokerNews Podcast co-host & 2013 WSOP Bracelet Winner.

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