The HPT Championship Open at Majestic Star

Majestic Star Casino
Gary, Indiana
December 1 - 10, 2007
Total Prize Pool $835,200
Congrats to Leon Morford taking first place and $233,016

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The HPT Championship Open at Majestic Star Top 6

First Place

Leon Morford
Rockford, IL

Second Place

Christopher Brand
Okauchee, WI

Third Place

Jason Glass
Buffalo Grove, IL

Fourth Place

Richard McMahan
Chicago, IL

Fifth Place

Tom Stambaugh
Nevis, MN

Sixth Place

Nicholas Woolworth
Plainfield, IL


The HPT Championship Open at Majestic Star Top 34 Finishers

PlacePlayerCashPoints Earned
1. Leon Morford $233,016 1,000
2. Christopher Brand $116,508 750
3. Jason Glass $74,898 600
4. Richard McMahan $56,174 450
5. Tom Stambaugh $45,771 400
6. Nicholas Woolworth $39,530 350
7. Matt Schiavo $31,208 300
8. Raymond Musai $27,047 250
9. Mark Schwartz $24,966 200
10. Bruce Knee $18,725 150
11. Samuel Cushway $16,644 100
12. Scott Idsinga $14,564 95
13. Anselmo Villarreal $13,315 90
14. Joseph Benkendorf $9,986 85
15. Ron Skinner $8,655 80
16. Brandon Tweeton $7,074 75
17. James Dambrosio $7,074 70
18. Kevin Buck $7,074 65
19. Jason Fish $7,074 60
20. Boulos Estafanous $7,074 55
21. Shawnee Barton $5,659 50
22. Ronnie Nesheiwat $5,659 45
23. Gregory Stellatos $5,659 40
24. Andy Rubinberg $5,659 35
25. John Heffley $5,659 30
26. David Kaleel $4,910 25
27. Edward Ochana $4,910 20
28. Michael Baran $4,910 15
29. Maureen Uthe $4,910 10
30. Jens Thomsen $4,910 5
31. Rick Tovrea $3,246 0
32. Michael Parisi $3,246 0
33. John Koliavas $3,246 0
34. Matt Shepsky $3,246 0

The HPT Championship Open at Majestic Star Recap

The Heartland Poker Tour wrapped its third season in fine fashion today, awarding its largest prize to date, when recently retired engineer Leon Morford captured first place in the HPT Championship Open, taking home $233,016.

“I just rode the wave” said Morford, whose friends nicknamed him “sailor” for his ability to ride the ups and downs of tournament poker. Morford certainly found himself on a wave for the whole day, entering the final six as chip leader, nearly going out in fourth when he was the small stack, only to bounce back and take down the tournament.

“I look at tournament poker as riding a wave,” said Morford. “You have to be able to ride it out.”

Morfords’ wave rode him all the way to the promised land at Majestic Star Casino in Gary Indiana, where over 1,000 players showed up to play in what turned out to be the largest tournament in HPT history. The field included this past year’s HPT Champions from around the country, but the final table came down to six Midwesterners, including a student, a teacher, an engineer and a paint salesman.

“I guess now I can play more poker next year” said Morford as he cradled the bundles of cash, “after my wife gets her cut of course.”

This was also the first event to see representatives from the Heartland Poker League (HPL), a new weekly poker league that began this past fall, where poker participants play weekly at their local casinos competing for a seat into an HPT main event. Seven HPL winners were on hand this past week at the HPT Championship, and one, Tom Stambaugh, took full advantage of the freeroll and made the TV final table, taking home fifth place and $45,771.

For the Heartland Poker Tour, this was the finale in what was a tremendous 2007 tour season. All the past champions were on hand but only Meskwaki champion Jason Fish made the final thirty, finishing in 19th place. The HPT will be taking a month off before resuming the tour stops when the 2008 campaign begins in February and another trip to Grand Casino Mille Lacs in Central Minnesota.

“It’s been a phenomenal year” said HPT co-founder Greg Lang. “We’ve awarded several million dollars in prize money and met some great people along the way. We’re looking forward to an even better 2008.”


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