2020 Heartland Poker Tour Hollywood St. Louis

$1,650 Main Event
Days: 2

McCormick on a Heater After Day 2 of HPT St. Louis

Level 22 : 10,000-20,000, 20,000 ante
Austin McCormick
Austin McCormick

On Day 2 of the Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) Hollywood St. Louis $1,650 Main Event, 72 players returned to the felt, and after eight levels of play, the televised final table of nine was reached. Leading the charge is Austin McCormick, who went on a white-hot tear with two tables remaining to bag up the chip lead with a 2,775,000 stack.

McCormick, who finished fourth in an HPT St. Louis $1,650 Main Event last September, was responsible for five of the final nine knockouts of the day, including one of the more memorable triple knockouts in recent memory, when his ace-queen overcame aces, kings, and sixes by hitting running queens on the turn and river to send Day 1a chip leader Ryan Tepen (18th - $5,532), former HPT St. Louis champ Paul Belken (17th - $5,532), and Thomas Rennier (16th - $5,532) out the door all in one fell swoop. McCormick claimed two more victims in Mark Koeln (13th - $7,358) and BJ McBrayer (12th - $9,753) before play ended for the day.

A pair of WSOP Bracelet winners are hot on McCormick's trail, however. Kyle Cartwright flopped a combo draw against the set of Mike Thompson (10th - $9,753), and when Cartwright made his straight on the turn, all the chips went in the middle, and a blank river left Thompson one spot shy of the televised final table. Brett Apter, meanwhile, was Austin Tjaden's (11th - $9,753) nemesis, first fading a big draw from Tjaden to take a good portion of Tjaden's stack, then snagging the rest when Apter won a flip.

Day 1c chip leader Kevin Garosshen and Colorado native Brent Cunningham are the only other players over a million in chips, while Brian Reeder, Lucas Tae, Neil Patel, and Laura Hoppe round out the final table of nine.

Final Table Seat Draw and Chip Counts

TableSeatNameChip CountBig Blinds
171Lucas Tae700,00035
172Neil Patel480,00024
173Austin McCormick2,775,000139
174Kevin Garosshen1,590,00080
175Kyle Cartwright2,120,000106
176Brent Cunningham1,125,00056
177Brian Reeder935,00047
179Brett Apter1,735,00087
1710Laura Hoppe300,00015

Day 2 Action

72 players returns from the 392 entrants that started the three opening flights, but only 45 would walk away with a payday. Reigning HPT Player of the Year Nick Pupillo, three-time HPT champ Reginald "Shawn" Roberts and Jerod Smith all were unable to make it to the money. Former HPT champ Mike O'Neill ended up as the bubble boy, jamming pocket fives into the aces of Justin Coliny (15th - $7,358). O'Neill got a sweat when he flopped an open-ended straight draw, but he would improve no further to leave empty-handed.

Mike O'Neill
Bubble Boy Mike O'Neill

From there, 36 players left with a payday before play ended for the day, including Jimmy Bussey (14th - $7,358), former HPT Vicksburg champ Jay Friedman (21st - $4,563), last year's defending champ Bill Byrnes (25th - $4,563), Hyndi Khomutetsky (27th - $4,563) and former HPT Florence champ Sameer Al Dbhany (41st - $3,137).

Day 3 will kick off tomorrow at Noon local time, and the final table will be taped and televised for future use. The final table will also be streamed at the HPT's Twitch channel on a delay (no hole cares will be shown due to Missouri gaming laws), and the PokerNews blog will sync up with the stream during tomorrow's play. Be sure to tune in to see who will walk away with the $131,184 top prize, the $3,500 Championship Package, and the trophy here at Hollywood St. Louis!

Tags: Austin McCormickBill ByrnesBJ McBrayerBrent CunninghamBrett ApterBrian ReederHyndi KhomutetskyJay FriedmanJerod SmithJimmy BusseyJustin ColinyKevin GarosshenKyle CartwrightLaura HoppeMark KoelnMike O'NeillMike ThompsonNeil PatelNick PupilloPaul BelkenRyan TepenSameer Al DbhanyThomas Rennier