Casino Del Sol Recap
The Heartland Poker Tour made its first ever stop in Arizona this past week and crowned a new HPT champion. Andreas Foulias, 53, Gilbert, AZ, took down the championship and close to $60,000. For Foulias, he’s proven to be the player to beat in Arizona, at least for 2007. Besides this most recent title, Foulias was the recent winner of the Arizona Poker Championship held in the Phoenix area this past August. With his latest win, Foulias plans to splurge the winnings and relax.
“This is very exciting” said Foulias. “I think I’m going to buy a car and then with the rest, nothing but fun stuff.”
Foulias was one of six Arizonians at the HPT final table, despite several players from all over the U.S. in the field. In the end, it was he and an old foe heads up for the HPT crown.
Foulias battled Don Sjulstad of Phoenix for the title. “I’ve played poker with Don for 14 years,” said Foulias. “We play together a lot at our home casino in Phoenix.”
That experience proved invaluable for Foulias. After several swings in the chip count, Foulias faced a re-raise all in by Sjulstad in the pivotal heads up hand when the two players were nearly exactly even in chips. After only a few seconds of deliberation, Foulias called the all in showing Qc9c as Sjulstad turned over 8d6d.
“I knew I had the best hand there,” said Foulias. “I’ve played with him a long time and I know something he doesn’t think I know. He has a tell that I remembered noticing 10 years ago.”
That hand crippled Sjulstad who was only left with $36,000 chips out of over 2M in play. It got somewhat interesting after that as Sjulstad doubled up four times in a row until finally losing when Foulias hit a set of deuces on the deciding hand.
“Maybe I should have been more patient” said Sjulstad. “He’d folded every other time when I went over the top of him like that."
For Sjulstad, it was still a nice cash for a trip to the HPT that coincided with a visit to his daughter, who’s in medical school at the University of Arizona in Tucson. “I came to Tucson to see my daughter and play some poker,” said Sjulstad. “It all worked out pretty good.”
For the Heartland Poker Tour, there is one stop left on the 2007 schedule, the HPT Championship Open which starts next week at Majestic Star Casino in Gary Indiana. “It’s been a great year for us,” said HPT co-founder Greg Lang. “We’re looking forward to our championship event where we’re expecting our first million dollar prize pool.”
The 2008 HPT season is now set and will get under way in February at Grand Casino Mille Lacs in Minnesota. The entire 2008 schedule of events is available at http://www.heartlandpokertour.com/.
While the Casino Del Sol event was going on for the HPT in Arizona, another HPT veteran was having some success of his own in another part of the West. Mike Banducci, a two time HPT final tablist, finished sixth at the WSOP Circuit event in Lake Taho, NV. Banducci was eliminated by Chris Ferguson when Ferguson moved in on a draw and hit the river.
HPT Casino Del Sol
Total Prize Pool - $204,118
Total Main Event players 141