California - Thunder Valley Casino Resort $2500

Thunder Valley Casino Resort
Lincoln, CA
October 11-25, 2016
Total Prize Pool: $971,347
Total Entrants: 437
Congratulations to Blair Hinkle for winning $223,411
and the HPT champion's bracelet!

Click HERE for full series results

California - Thunder Valley Casino Resort $2500 Quick Summary

Please check out the full event write up below.

California - Thunder Valley Casino Resort $2500 Top 9

First Place

Blair Hinkle
Kansas City, KS

Second Place

John Sheehan
Novato, CA

Third Place

Derrick Geliberte
Elk Grove, CA

Fourth Place

Saurabh Patel
San Jose, CA

Fifth Place

Daniel Maor
San Jose, CA

Sixth Place

Lance Donnell
Reno, NV

Seventh Place

Marty Verdegaal
Hanford, CA

Eighth Place

Hou Vang
Fresno, CA

Ninth Place

Ian Kalman
San Francisco, CA


California - Thunder Valley Casino Resort $2500 Top 45 Finishers

1. Blair Hinkle $223,411
2. John Sheehan $137,931
3. Derrick Geliberte $91,792
4. Saurabh Patel $63,623
5. Daniel Maor $48,082
6. Lance Donnell $37,397
7. Marty Verdegaal $31,083
8. Hou Vang $25,741
9. Ian Kalman $21,758
10. Roger Campbell $16,610
11. Huan Cung $16,610
12. Larissa Bushman $16,610
13. Julie Cornelius $12,530
14. Lance Garcia $12,530
15. Pfizer Jordan $12,530
16. Anton Dimagiba $9,422
17. Phong Vu $9,422
18. Aaron Thomas $9,422
19. Jay Friedman $7,771
20. Duke Lee $7,771
21. David Valdez $7,771
22. Brian Johnson $7,771
23. Mario Lopez $7,771
24. Adam Duong $7,771
25. Tom Santos $7,771
26. Tyler Patterson $7,771
27. Casey Carroll $7,771
28. Marty Gorenc $6,314
29. David Rosenbloom $6,314
30. Jermaine Gerlin $6,314
31. Kenna James $6,314
32. Hieu Le $6,314
33. Justin Pitts $6,314
34. Edward Lewis $6,314
35. Shaurabh Sharma $6,314
36. Matthew Kramer $6,314
37. Terry Wheeler $5,342
38. Ray Villaman Jr $5,342
39. Antonio Gutierrez $5,342
40. Garrett Crites $5,342
41. Larry Odegard $5,342
42. Noah Wiseman $5,342
43. Hoang To $5,342
44. Miles Sanders $5,342
45. Sakat Batra $5,342

California - Thunder Valley Casino Resort $2500 Recap

Hinkle Wins HPT Championship for $223k

Prize pool at Thunder Valley Casino Resort nearly hits $1 million

Lincoln, CA (October 25, 2016) – Blair Hinkle outlasted a star-studded field in the $2500 Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) Championship Event at Thunder Valley Casino Resort to capture his first HPT title and $223,411. The Kansas City, Missouri poker player began the Final Table in eighth place, but by the end he had collected all of the chips at the table.

“It’s been a long one. It’s been a grind for sure,” said the new champ with a smile on his face after the win.

After a marathon Final Table, the last hand saw Hinkle and opponent John Sheehan all-in before the flop with Hinkle holding eight-seven to Sheehan’s ace-ten. Hinkle had the Novato, California resident covered. A seven on the flop gave him the lead and another seven on the turn all but sealed the deal. Sheehan was drawing to a gutshot straight on the river, but it didn’t hit and he was eliminated as the runner-up for $137,931.

“I’m a little tired. A little disappointed,” Sheehan said in his post-tournament interview. “I had a lot of fun. Blair’s a fabulous player.”

The event at Thunder Valley drew 437 total entries, nearly doubling the $500k guarantee. The $974k prize pool was one of the largest in HPT history. JC Tran, Mark Newhouse, and Tyler Patterson were among the notables to enter the $2500 tournament, while HPT commentators Jaymz Larson and Kenna James provided commentary of the Final Table to hundreds of viewers on the live stream from beginning to end.

Derrick Geliberte had the chip lead at the start of the day. The business analyst from Elk Grove, California also had a career earnings total of zero dollars. Even more impressive, Geliberte won his way into the $2500 event through a $350 qualifier. In the end, Geliberte fell short of the title but he still managed to take home $91,792 for third place.

The championship event was Saurabh Patel’s first time playing an HPT event. The software engineer was knocked out in fourth place when his king-nine failed to outdraw Hinkle’s ace-jack. Patel, from San Jose, won $63,623 for fourth place.

Poker player Daniel Maor was playing under the lights at an HPT Final Table for the first time Tuesday. The San Jose native made the best of the opportunity, laddering up to a fifth-place finish. Maor earned $48,082 for his weekend’s worth of work.

Like Geliberte, Lance Donnell won his way in on a $350 satellite. Donnell played his way to the nationally televised Final Table for a five-figure score. The Reno man collected $37,397 for sixth place.

Marty Verdegaal was in good shape to double up when he got the last of his chips into the middle with pocket kings against Geliberte’s ace-queen. Unfortunately for Verdegaal, an ace hit the river and his run at the title was over. The Hanford, California business owner’s seventh-place finish was good for $31,083.

Fresno’s Hou Vang exited in similar fashion when his pocket eights lost to Hinkle’s nine-seven. Vang was sent to the rail in eighth place with $25,741.

Business owner Ian Kalman became the first player to hit the rail Tuesday evening when his pocket queens lost to Sheehan’s aces. The San Francisco man took home $21,758 for ninth place.

From here, HPT will head back to the Midwest to finish out the calendar year with tour stops in St. Louis, Kansas City, and Southern Indiana. For a full list of upcoming events, visit