Mississippi - Ameristar Vicksburg - $1100 Recap
Used Car Dealer Wins HPT in Mississippi
Jay Friedman tops field of 189 at Ameristar Vicksburg
Vicksburg, MS (August 8, 2016) – A used car salesman from Eads, Tennessee outlasted a tough field at Ameristar Vicksburg this weekend to capture his first Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) title. Jay Friedman earned $43,584, a silver bracelet, and a package to play in HPT’s Championship event in October for the victory.
The win nearly doubled Friedman’s career earnings. His initial plans for the money are to “go on a vacation with my beautiful wife, Ann.”
Ryan Gregor was the last player at the table with a chance to spoil the night for Friedman. The operations manager from Kansas City won an HPT event earlier in the year, but he would have to settle for second place this go round. After beginning heads up play nearly dead even in chips, Friedman took over pretty quickly. A combination of great play and good cards had him collecting the last of Gregor’s stack on the last hand. Gregor walked away with $28,260 for his efforts. The runner-up finish was also good enough to catapult him to the top of the Player of the Year standings.
Business owner Thomas Creel quietly played his way to a top-three finish. The Monroe, Louisiana man did not go down without a fight, doubling up several times throughout the day to stave off elimination. In the end, Friedman got the best of him. Creel took home $17,968 for the third-place finish.
There were several players at Monday’s Final Table with previous experience in front of the HPT cameras. Houston’s Sayed Jafari was not one of those players. Jafari was playing in his first ever HPT event. He made the best of it, climbing all the way to fourth place before being eliminated by Gregor. Jafari earned $12,898.
“Ameristar was a great casino to play at,” he said of the southern property. “This is by far the best experience I’ve ever had as far as tournaments are concerned.”
In all, the $1,100 Main Event saw 189 entries. Among those were former world champions Chris Moneymaker and Greg “Fossilman” Raymer. Current HPT Player of the Year Shawn Roberts was also in the field.
Perhaps the most recognizable face at the Final Table belonged to the tour’s all-time money leader, Craig “The Legend” Casino. This was Casino’s ninth televised Final Table appearance and 26th career cash with HPT. The Winfield, Illinois native already has two victories to his name, but he wasn’t able to add a third this time as Gregor ended his day early. Casino finished in fifth place to the tune of $9,784.
Madison, Mississippi’s John Lee won his way into the Main Event through a $260 qualifier. The local business owner parlayed that investment into an earnings total of $8,005 by finishing in sixth place.
Monday’s seventh-place finisher was Danny Doucet of Opelousa, Louisiana. Doucet collected $6,760 for the finish. He plans to use the funds to do something fun with his seven grandchildren. “My grandkids mean the world to me,” said Doucet.
Anthony “Slick” Magee spends most of his time on the felt in cash games. Having played in only a handful of tournaments previously, he listed his career earnings total at $0 at the start of the day. He can now adjust that total to $5,782 as that is what he earned for finishing in eighth place.
Poker player and pilot Jorge Figueroa was the first player from the table to be sent to the rail. The Frisco, Texas man was only invested for $70 so he was quite pleased to finish in ninth place and take home $4,803. He plans to use the money to finish flight school and help his mother.
Next up for HPT is a return to Chicagoland at the end of the month. Field sizes have eclipsed the 1,000-entry mark there recently and prize pools have soared to nearly $1 million. Stops in Colorado and Florida are also on the September schedule. For a full list of upcoming stops, visit HPTpoker.com.