Missouri-River City Casino Recap
HPT Champ Turns $375 into $131K
River City Casino Draws Record Field for Nationally-Televised Event
St Louis, MO (April 30, 2013) Pro players and poker
enthusiasts turned out in record number for Heartland Poker Tour’s latest stop
at River City Casino in St Louis.
Over 5100 seats were sold in the series with all eyes on the top prize,
the nationally-televised championship.
Like 380 other players, 62-year-old Roger Campbell wanted a piece of the
$548,640 Main Event prize pool.
Winning his seat from a qualifying event, his shot at fame and fortune
cost him just $375. It was money
well spent. The Centralia,
Illinois man went on to an envious run in the two-day finale, advancing to the
Final Table as the chip leader and emerging as the champion. In just two days, his $375 investment
grew to $131,681.
Johnna Stewart of Creal Springs, Illinois also saw an
incredible ROI, collecting $18,544 off a $40 investment. Ultimately, queens betrayed the last
woman standing when she ran her pair into kings, eliminating her in 7th place.
“We see these incredible Cinderella stories at every stop,”
said HPT’s Executive Producer Fred Bevill. “Life-changing money is accessible on HPT.”
The heads-up match lasted a bit longer than expected
considering Campbell had a 10-to-1 chip lead when it began. Runner-up Vermin
Becirbegovic put up a good fight but eventually hit a dead end with king-queen
against ace-four. It was a $79,882
payday for Becirbegovic who works as a bartender in St Louis.
The hometown players fared well. In addition to Becirbegovic, four other locals hoped the
home field advantage would work in their favor. John Dahlberg, born and raised in St Louis, picked up
$15,362 in eighth place while Phillip Youngclaus collected $21,946 for his
sixth-place finish. Both were
eliminated by Becirbegovic, but it was Campbell who put an end to Noah
Weinberger’s first HPT tournament, eliminating him in fifth place for
$27,981. Not far from home, Jeff
Landherr of O’Fallon, Illinois picked up $13,167 for his 20-minute commute to
Local grinders who can’t wait for HPT’s return to St Louis
in November have several opportunities to play HPT tournaments around the
country. In May, HPT will bring
the cash and the cameras to Soaring Eagle Casino Resort in Michigan and Route
66 Casino Hotel in New Mexico.
HPT first met Jordan Jayne at Soaring Eagle a month after
poker’s Black Friday. He was a
20-year-old internet pro with an uncertain future. After losing his livelihood in the government shutdown of
online poker, Jayne was considering a career change and contemplating
college. Plans changed when he
played his first-ever live tournament at Soaring Eagle. He bested 386 players and locked up an
HPT championship worth $165k. Now
two years later, he found himself back at HPT’s televised Final Table in St
Louis hoping to join the short list of players with multiple HPT titles. With just two players left in his path,
Jordan made a move with an open-ended straight draw that didn’t pan out against
Campbell's pocket aces. Eliminated
in third place for $53,492, Jayne joins the long list of champions who got
Stan Jablonski knows all too well about getting
oh-so-close. The Arizona business
owner has 70 career cashes, including most recently a tenth-place finish in the
Venetian’s Deep Stack Main Event just days ago. On Monday, he made his third HPT televised Final Table in
seven months. If “Stan Jablonski”
isn’t ringing any bells, it may be because championship titles are elusive to
him. Despite his consistent
tournament success, Jablonski hasn’t been the last man standing since a couple
of wins in 2006. The long-overdue
title will have to wait. After
grinding a short stack on Day 2 to the televised Final Table, a weaker ace
against Jayne ended Jablonski’s run in fourth place for $37,308.
Jablonski will have at least 13 more chances at an HPT title
in 2013. Many tour stops are
already posted at HPTpoker.com.