Downstream Casino Resort-Quapaw, OK Recap

Active Duty Army Sergeant Wins $100K on HPT

Quapaw, OK – Jason Fennell is no stranger to pressure.  The active duty US Army Staff Sergeant safely returned from four deployments in Iraq, one requiring a MedEvac.  At Downstream Casino Resort, he brought his resiliency to the felt and became the latest champion on Heartland Poker Tour, winning $100,017.

“You’re going to take a bad beat,” Fennell said, comparing tournament poker to military life, “but you have to bounce back.” 

The Chicago native hopes to play poker professionally after retiring from the army.  With a newly-improved bankroll and a new favorite hand, ace-king of hearts, Fennell is well on his way.

“We appreciate the opportunity to thank Fennell for his service,” said HPT President Todd Anderson.  Heartland Poker Tour works to honor veterans on an ongoing basis through regular donations to Disabled American Veterans.  In Michigan next month, poker enthusiasts are invited to play in a celebrity tournament to benefit DAV.   Public service announcements also air in every episode of Heartland Poker Tour

When the Downstream episodes of HPT air, second-place finisher Brian Kim will relive a grueling ride.  At just twenty years old, the college student took his seat at the final table with the biggest chip lead in HPT history.  With over 4 million of the 6 million chips in play, he planned to sit back and play as little as possible.  The other five players at the felt had a different plan for Kim’s monster chip stack.  Holding steady after a few big hits, missing a flush draw on the river was the final blow.  Now with $46,219 in his pocket and final table experience, he is setting his sights on a World Series of Poker bracelet before age 22.

Shane Carey, a college student studying creative writing, couldn’t have scripted a wilder ride for himself.  During day two, his stack ranged from 82,000 chips to a half million.  Rallying repeatedly at the final table, Carey became the chip leader with three players remaining.  The rollercoaster ride ended for the Columbia, Missouri man when Fennell flopped a queen for his king-queen against Carey’s ace-four. 

“This kid is a fighter, said HPT commentator Fred Bevill, “His amazing comebacks make for great TV.”  For Carey, $27,731 in third place makes a decent payday.

The underdog at the table, Jackmen Hy, was hoping to be the comeback kid.  With just 35,000 chips, the Edmund, Oklahoma man needed to double up fast and often.  He was on the right track, doubling up in the first hand.  Three hands later, he was out the door with $15,406 in sixth place.

Now filming its sixth season, HPT gives local poker enthusiasts and casual players a chance to compete for “life-changing money” on national TV.  “The opportunity to win this kind of money on national TV is appealing for every level of player,” says HPT President Todd Anderson.  HPT is available on TV in over 100 million US households, in addition to widespread distribution throughout Europe and the Caribbean.   

It is the love of competition that compels Pete McBride to the game.  The high school basketball coach planned to follow the same advice at the final table that he gives his players on the court, “Battle it out and never give up.”  The battle ended with ace-five against ace-king, although finishing fourth for $21,569 was still a slam dunk for the Winona, Missouri family man.  “It’s a dream come true,” he said. 

Warren Sharp had a dream week at Downstream Casino Resort, where he also won a golf tournament.  With just $125 invested in the HPT, Sharp started day two as a chip leader.  It was the end of the road for the car salesman, however, when he called all in on the flop with ace-ten versus Carey’s king-ten.  Both players flopped top pair of tens, but Carey caught a king on the river.  Winning $18,488 in fifth place, he is likely to try his luck at Downstream again soon.  The HPT will return to Downstream in early 2011.