Majestic Star Casinos-Gary, IN

Majestic Star Casinos
Gary, Indiana
July 10-26, 2010
Total Prize Pool: $470,280
396 Players in the Main Event
Congratulations To Paul Davis for taking home the
 HPT Championship Jacket and $140,184!

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Majestic Star Casinos-Gary, IN Quick Summary

Please check out the full event write up below.

Majestic Star Casinos-Gary, IN Top 6

First Place

Paul Davis
Elgin, IL

Second Place

Stuart Marshak
Deerfield, IL

Third Place

Duane Graff
Hickory Hills, IL

Fourth Place

Gordon Vayo
Bloomington, IL

Fifth Place

Jason Goodman
Morton Groove, IL

Sixth Place

Michael Franco
Aurora, IL


Majestic Star Casinos-Gary, IN Top 40 Finishers

PlacePlayerCashPoints Earned
1. Paul Davis $140,184 1,000
2. Stuart Marshak $70,092 750
3. Duane Graff $42,055 600
4. Gordon Vayo $32,710 450
5. Jason Goodman $28,037 400
6. Michael Franco $23,364 350
7. Scott Rokita $15,796 300
8. David Kheel $13,317 250
9. William Graham $9,579 200
10. Sam Miller $7,944 150
11. William Adler $6,822 100
12. Adam Sparinsky $6,075 95
13. David Caskllo $5,374 90
14. Angelo Raciti $4,579 85
15. Christopher Genkk $4,112 80
16. Richard Duffin $3,645 75
17. Aaron Massey $3,645 70
18. Jim Kasputis, Jr. $3,645 65
19. John Nowacayk $3,645 60
20. Jaime Westenbarger $3,645 55
21. Gary Svee $2,523 50
22. James Miller $2,523 45
23. Jeffery Foust $2,523 40
24. Benjamin Schessler $2,523 35
25. William Snyder $2,523 30
26. John Docklidis $2,009 25
27. Mary Jo Belcore-Zogman $2,009 20
28. Federico Medina $2,009 15
29. Joseph Kuama $2,009 10
30. Robert Chau $2,009 5
31. Rocco Pace $1,776 0
32. John Brandon $1,776 0
33. Eugene Pouliot $1,776 0
34. Edward Blazer $1,776 0
35. James Kasperski $1,776 0
36. Tony Bolahood $1,495 0
37. William Weldo $1,495 0
38. Jeffrey Simon $1,495 0
39. Joseph Calaoretto $1,495 0
40. Mark Trnka $1,495 0

Majestic Star Casinos-Gary, IN Recap

Job Interview Nearly Keeps Man from $140k Championship

Gary, Indiana- On his way to Majestic Star Casinos in Gary, Indiana to play the Heartland Poker Tour, Paul Davis stopped for a job interview.  With a poker buddy waiting in the car, the Elgin, Illinois man impatiently discussed the restaurant job he was hoping to land.  As the interview ran long, the 36-year-old from Elgin, Illinois began to worry he would miss his opportunity to play for life-changing money.  “I was so distracted, I think I might have blown the interview,” he said.  Davis was more focused at the felt.  Arriving at Majestic with just a few minutes to spare, the professional waiter played the main event, advanced to the televised final table, and left with the best tip of his life.

“I won’t feel as bad now if I don’t get the job,” Davis said holding his $140,184 first-place prize.

Heads up with Davis was Chicago pro Stuart Marshak, who spent nine years working in the financial markets before focusing exclusively on poker.  “I can return to the corporate world at any time and I probably will someday,” the 32-year-old said, adding that playing poker professionally has its ups and downs.  Winning $70,092 in second place, it’s unlikely Marshak will update his resume anytime soon.

For Duane Graff, 44, of Hickory Hills, Illinois, Monday’s final table was a long-overdue redemption.  The 44-year-old entrepreneur bubbled the TV table at Majestic Star the first time the HPT stopped at the Lake Michigan casino.  Since the 2006 event that drew record attendance, Majestic Star hosted the HPT ten additional times and Graff played every single one.  Missing the opportunity to play on TV was especially disappointing for Graff because, more than the money, he wanted his kids to see him play on TV.

“I want my kids to see that they can accomplish anything if they try hard enough,” the father of two said, “It’s taken me some time, but I finally made it.”

After fulfilling his dream of playing on TV, Graff set a new goal of winning an HPT championship.  “I’ll be back,” he said when he finished in third, taking home $42,055.

Graff was one of many familiar faces in the main event.  “The drive these players have in the quest for an HPT championship makes the tournament rewarding for our staff,” says Majestic Star Poker Room Manager Dom Niro, “Year after year, we get to know the players and enjoy watching them succeed.”

At 21 years old, Gordon Vayo is just old enough to play at Majestic Star but he already has more poker winnings than many players three times his age.  The self-taught Chicago man had his first taste of poker success as a teenager and never looked back, although his family initially frowned on his decision to make poker his career.  Fifteen to twenty tournaments overseas, including one that earned him $50,000, changed their opinion.  “I started seeing the world through poker and they respected that,” Vayo said.  When his ace-six ran into ace-king, Vayo took home a respectable $32,710 in third place.

Like champ Paul Davis, Michael Franco, 23, a recent college grad from Aurora, Illinois is also looking for a job in a tough economy.  Sitting down with just 165,000 in chips compared to million-chip stacks, Franco was hoping to double-up early and often.  He made his move in the fourth hand with queen-seven when the flop came five-ace-seven.  With no help from the turn or river, his plan failed when his caller revealed ace-five.  The sixth-place prize of $23,364 will tide him over until he finds a career in finance.

At just 35 years old, Jason “GBoo” Goodman already has a full resume after ten years on the police force, an amateur boxing championship, and time spent in the U.S. Army.  Now supporting himself through poker, the Oak Park, Illinois man compares his new career to boxing.  “You have to know your own limitations and overcome your own weaknesses,” Goodman said.  His advice got him past 393 players to fifth place for $28,037.