The penultimate stop of the RunGood Poker Series (RGPS) “Game 7” Season wrapped up Sunday night at the Hard Rock Tulsa. It concluded with 59-year-old retiree Sam Washburn of Arkansas emerging victorious in the $675 Main Event, which attracted 372 entries and offered up a $223,200 prize pool.
According to HendonMob, Washburn had $219,170 in tournament earnings entering the stop, all of which have come since the beginning of last year. That is when he kick-started his poker career by winning the World Series of Poker Circuit Horseshoe Tunica Main Event for a career-best $188,068. Now he has a Signature Championship Ring to go with his circuit ring.
“I feel great. I’ve been wanting to win one of these rings,” Washburn said after the win. “I’ve had pretty good success. I just started playing circuit events two years ago. I’ve just had good luck. I walk around on a cloud every day I’m so happy with how it’s going.”
Final Table Results
|7||“Boston” Rob Mariano||$7,142|
*Denotes heads-up deal.
Day 2 saw 70 players return to action, but only 45 of them would get paid. Among those to fall before the money were Mark Lafata, Bob Mather, and Brent Harrington, just to name a few.
Once Tony Caudill exited as the bubble boy the eliminations came quick. Some players to cash but fall short of the final table were Duster Ellis (12th - $3,817), Grant Hinkle (14th - $2,879), Eric Bunch (21st - $1,786), RGPS Hard Rock Tulsa $180 Deepstack champ Daniel Lowery (24th - $1,786), Keith Ferrera (28th - $1,451), Michael Sanders (31st - $1,451), Johnnie “Vibes” Moreno (36th - $1,451), and Jared Ward (41st - $1,228).
Final Table Action
Alberto Perez was the first to exit the final table after getting his stack all in preflop with ace-queen and failing to get there against the pocket tens of Blair Hinkle. Not long after, Gary Snyder was coolered out of the tournament when he ran pocket kings smack dab into Justin Gardenhire’s aces, and then Bernard Lee exited losing ace-seven to Gardenhire's pocket kings.
“Boston” Rob Mariano of Survivor fame was the next to fall after his tens were cracked by Gardenhire’s nines all in preflop, and then the short-stacked Greg Jennings, who was fresh off winning the RGPS Downstream Main Event, followed him out the door in sixth place after his pocket tens failed to hold against Matt Waxman’s king-jack in a coinflip situation.
Steve Lamphear then lost a race of his own with ace-queen to Hinkle’s jacks to bust in fifth place, and then Waxman bowed out in fourth losing flopped top pair to the two pair of Washburn.
Three-handed play lasted a while with Gardenhire on the short stack before hitting three doubles, the last of which vaulted him into the chip lead. It happened when he got it in preflop with Big Slick against Hinkle’s pocket sevens. Gardenhire made a wheel to win the pot, while Hinkle went bust a short time later to see his hopes of winning back-to-back RGPS Main Event titles (last weekend he won the RGPS CardPlayer Cruise) and his fourth of 2019 come to an end.
Gardenhire began heads-up play with a slight chip lead over Washburn, but the latter reversed it with ace-king holding against ace-queen. The duo then worked a deal that saw Gardenhire finish in second place for $40,000 while Washburn claimed the Signature Ring and $43,022 in prize money.
“It’s tough. I like it. I love the competition,” Washburn said of the tough final table. “I’m just a rec player so playing with these guys it’s an honor, and I learn so much every time I play with them.”
The final stop of the RGPS “Game 7” season will take place at Harrah’s North Kansas City from December 3-8 and will culminate with a $575 buy-in, $100K GTD Main Event.