HPT Championship Open @ Soaring Eagle-Mt. Pleasant

HPT Championship Open
Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort
Mt. Pleasant, Michigan
November 13-22, 2009
Total Prize Pool: $426,528
808 players in Qualifiers; 297 players in the Main Event
Congrats to Phil Delaney for taking home the "HPT Champion Jacket" and $127,058!

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HPT Championship Open @ Soaring Eagle-Mt. Pleasant Quick Summary

Online Pro Steals HPT Championship Open

Please check out the full event write up below.

HPT Championship Open @ Soaring Eagle-Mt. Pleasant Top 6

First Place

Phil Delaney
Dearborn Heights, MI

Second Place

Kyle Whiteaker
White Lake, MI

Third Place

Ben Castle
Western Springs, IL

Fourth Place

David Lagattuta
Grayling, MI

Fifth Place

John Kurfman
Baylis, IL

Sixth Place

Bruce Swart
Grass Lake, MI


HPT Championship Open @ Soaring Eagle-Mt. Pleasant Top 30 Finishers

PlacePlayerCashPoints Earned
1. Phil Delaney $127,058 1,000
2. Kyle Whiteaker $63,529 750
3. Ben Castle $38,118 600
4. David Lagattuta $29,647 450
5. John Kurfman $25,412 400
6. Bruce Swart $21,176 350
7. Monoletoe McDonald $14,825 300
8. Adrian Crededio $12,706 250
9. Jonathan Booth $10,588 200
10. McLean Karr $8,471 150
11. Mark Kassab $7,200 100
12. Anthony Sitalo $6,353 95
13. Matt Hyland $5,506 90
14. Matthew Robinson $4,659 85
15. Jim Darnaby $4,235 80
16. Jesse Reichert $3,600 75
17. David Kovalsky $3,600 70
18. Brian Brenneke $3,600 65
19. Seth Johnson $3,600 60
20. Brian Wolf $3,600 55
21. Ryan Gatrel $2,880 50
22. Micheal O'Neil $2,880 45
23. William Phillips $2,880 40
24. Robert Richardson $2,880 35
25. Craig Mitchell $2,880 30
26. Aaron Kik $2,329 25
27. Kevin Delaney $2,329 20
28. Roger Crisp $2,329 15
29. Laurence Little $2,329 10
30. Bob Buxman $2,329 5

HPT Championship Open @ Soaring Eagle-Mt. Pleasant Recap

Online Pro Steals HPT Championship Open

Mt Pleasant, MI - In the toughest field of the year, 27-year-old Phil DeLaney outlasted 296 players at the final tournament of the season for the nationally-televised Heartland Poker Tour.   The Championship Open event at Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort in central Michigan brought in seventeen previous champions from throughout the year.  After a six-hour final table, DeLaney’s queen-eight paid him $127, 058 when a queen appeared on the flop.

“This year I was as broke as I’ve ever been,” said the online pro from Dearborn Heights, Michigan, “It’s completely ridiculous that I’m now holding $127,000.”  

DeLaney found himself heads up against another twenty-something pro, Kyle Whiteaker, who sat down at the table as the short stack.  The White Lake, Michigan, 24-year-old spends up to sixty hours each week in local casinos making a living off cash games.  “If I’m going to work hard at anything,” he says, “I might as well do something I love.”

Only one of the season five champs made it to the final table Sunday.  Had Iowa farmer John Kurfman won, he would have become Player of the Year.  With pocket sevens against DeLaney’s ace-king with an ace on the flop and a jack on the turn, Kurfman went out in fifth place.  His $25,412 will buy more cows, he said, and allow him to play more cards.

The Player of the Year honor officially goes to Jeremy Dresch of Fridley, MN.  Late this year, Dresch became the first two-time champ on the HPT, winning two tournaments back-to-back.  As POY, Dresch receives buy-ins for every stop on the tour in 2010.  The Heartland Poker Tour will kick off season six this January with a “Vegas Vacation,” flying in two hundred players on ExpressJet private charters.

A couple of Sunday night’s players already have plans to bring their prize money to Las Vegas.  Ben Castle, a real estate developer from Hinsdale, Illinois, will have $38,118 to play with at Red Rock Casino Resort Spa.  Ace-jack against DeLaney’s pocket queens knocked Castle out in third place for the second time on the HPT.  About a year ago, Castle took third at an event in the Chicago area for $42,000. 
Another familiar face heading to Vegas, Bruce “The Hammer” Swart finished third when the HPT visited Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort in August.  “I was overwhelmed & nervous last time,” said the Chief Financial Officer, determined to focus on having fun the second time around.   Even after Kurfman cracked his pocket tens with ace-king & an ace on the flop, he said, “I enjoyed every minute.”  Finishing sixth Sunday, his $21,176 will go towards college tuition for his daughter.  After his August win, Swart paid off all of his family’s debt, including credit card bills and taxes for the restaurant and bar he owns with his wife.  “Just like the Heartland motto says, this is life-changing money for our family.”

New to Heartland Poker Tour, Dr. David LaGattuta played his first HPT event while his wife Christmas shopped in the area.  With few chips left in front of him early Sunday, the physician from Grayling, Michigan, figured his run would be short.  “You might as well come get me,” he said in a call to his wife.  The doc recovered and made it to fourth place, winning $29,647 for the next shopping trip.