Indiana - Ameristar Casino Hotel East Chicago

Ameristar Casino Hotel East Chicago
East Chicago, IN
August 25-September 5, 2016
Total Prize Pool: $728,868
Total Entrants: 506
Congratulations to Nick Davidson for winning $166,806
and the HPT champion's bracelet!

Click HERE for results from all side events

Indiana - Ameristar Casino Hotel East Chicago Quick Summary

Please check out the full event write up below.

Indiana - Ameristar Casino Hotel East Chicago Top 9

First Place

Nicholas Davidson
Troy, MI

Second Place

Kevin Saul
Countryside, IL

Third Place

Lavonne Schaafsma
Grand Rapids, MI

Fourth Place

Michael Kamenjarin
Chicago, IL

Fifth Place

Matt Thomas
Chicago, IL

Sixth Place

Kenny Nguyen
Lynwood, IL

Seventh Place

Greg Raymer
Raleigh, NC

Eighth Place

Douglas MacKinnon
East Amherst, NY

Ninth Place

Philip Russo
Elmhurst, IL


Indiana - Ameristar Casino Hotel East Chicago Top 54 Finishers

1. Nicholas Davidson $166,806
2. Kevin Saul $101,973
3. Lavonne Schaafsma $67,595
4. Michael Kamenjarin $46,997
5. Matt Thomas $35,175
6. Kenny Nguyen $27,198
7. Greg Raymer $22,121
8. Douglas MacKinnon $18,132
9. Philip Russo $14,505
10. Brian James $11,749
11. Robert Geith $11,749
12. Anwar Baig $11,749
13. Frank Cerminara $8,776
14. Gerald Siemienas $8,776
15. Tom Koral $8,776
16. Nicholas Aranda $6,745
17. John Dapkus $6,745
18. Agissilaos Haitas $6,745
19. Tom Midena $5,149
20. Duane Graff $5,149
21. Casey Carroll $5,149
22. Brett Reichard $5,149
23. Sachin Bhargava $5,149
24. Robert Castoire $5,149
25. Kenneth Daciolas $5,149
26. Peter Brooks $5,149
27. Jamey Kramer $5,149
28. Marius Toderici $4,207
29. Blake Battaglia $4,207
30. Allan Ellison $4,207
31. Jacob Baumgartner $4,207
32. Peter Kotsiopoulos $4,207
33. Hao Sun $4,207
34. Edmond Brooks $4,207
35. Rodney Clark $4,207
36. Paul Pedi $4,207
37. George Pappas $3,409
38. Samuel Edelstein $3,409
39. Bernard Lindsted $3,409
40. Nicola DiTrapuni $3,409
41. Scott Wright $3,409
42. Shiva Dudani $3,409
43. Andrew Peplinski $3,409
44. Greg Koutelidakis $3,409
45. Henry Zou $3,409
46. Scott Solomon $3,119
47. Ben Grise $3,119
48. Marc Bernal $3,119
49. Xueying Zhao $3,119
50. Kieran Davey $3,119
51. Robert Richmond $3,119
52. Patrick McCullough $3,119
53. Alexander Ziskin $3,119
54. John Kurfman $3,119

Indiana - Ameristar Casino Hotel East Chicago Recap

Dentist Drills the Competition on HPT

Nick Davidson earns over $166k in Chicagoland

East Chicago, IN (September 5, 2016) – Nick Davidson made his first major tournament win one to remember Monday when he came out on top of a field of 506 entrants at Ameristar Casino Hotel East Chicago to win the Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) title and $166,868.

“I’m just in awe right now, I can’t believe it,” the new champ said after his victory.

The dentist from Troy, Michigan may not have had as much experience on the felt as some of his counterparts, but an outside spectator wouldn’t have known it. Davidson checked, bet, and raised his way through a Final Table that included former world champ Greg “Fossilman” Raymer and well-known local pro Kevin “BeL0WaB0Ve” Saul.

Saul was the last man standing between Davidson and poker glory, but by the time the two were heads up, the eventual champ had nearly a ten to one chip lead. Saul put up quite a fight, even doubling up at one point, but it wasn’t enough. Davidson’s middle pair outlasted the local grinder’s straight and flush draw on the final hand. Saul, a Countryside, Illinois native, still earned an impressive $101,973 for the runner-up finish.

The lone woman at the Final Table was psychologist Lavonne Schaafsma of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Schaafsma came into the day with the chip lead after winning her seat on a $750 investment. She went on to finish in third place, collecting $67,595 for her efforts. Schaafsma plans to use a portion of the winnings to buy her husband a 70” TV.

Day trader Michael Kamenjarin was another player who had a large stack of chips at the start of play. The Chicago native had four previous cashes with HPT, but this was his first appearance under the bright lights of the nationally televised Final Table. He got his chips into the middle with the best of it, holding ace-ten to Shaafsma’s ace-five. However, a five came on the turn and Kamenjarin was sent to the rail in fourth place, good enough for $46,997.

Matt Thomas was also making his debut at a televised table. The local software developer had a career earnings total of $10k before the tournament began. When it was all said and done, he was able to more than triple that amount with a fifth-place finish. Thomas would take home $35,175.

Lansing, Illinois’ Kenny Nguyen previously finished third and seventh at HPT events in Chicagoland. He was hoping to improve on those results this time around. The title remained elusive though. Nguyen was knocked out by Saul in sixth place, collecting $27,198.

Several HPT records were broken during the 10-day series at Ameristar East Chicago. Among them was the record for largest field ever in an HPT event. That feat came in the opening weekend’s $300 Monster Stack in the way of more than 1,300 entries.

2013 HPT Player of the Year Greg Raymer was among the final nine players in the Main Event. With a career earnings total of more than $7.6 million, it was no surprise that several of Raymer’s competitors announced their plans to avoid tangling with him before play even began. Unfortunately, the Raleigh, North Carolina man wasn’t able to get much going. He would be eliminated in seventh place, earning $22,121.

Accomplished pro DJ Mackinnon and actuary Philip Russo were the two smallest stacks coming into the day. As fate would have it, they were also the first two to be sent to the rail. Mackinnon was knocked out in eighth place for $18,132 and Russo went out in ninth, collecting $14,505.

“I love the HPT. It’s just a great tournament,” said new champion Nick Davidson after joining the ranks of poker glory. “Everyone does a really great job. I’ll be playing more.”

Next up for HPT is trips to Colorado, Florida, and Nevada before heading to Northern California for its Season XII Championship Open. For a full list of upcoming stops, visit

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