Downstream Casino Resort-Quapaw, OK Recap

Quapaw, OK – (October 24, 2011) In live tournament poker, Scott Hastings of Columbia, Missouri is relatively new. Before playing Heartland Poker Tour at Downstream Casino Resort this weekend, he had just two smalllive tournaments under his belt. In one, he finished fourth, in the other, he won. Despite his early success, it's been several years since he's played a single hand of poker. In his triumphant return to the game at Downstream, he became HPT’s latest championSunday night, winning$100,011.

Hastings will have another chance to sit at the felt next month when he freerolls into HPT’s Championship Open. He joins an elite group of players who won life-changing money during the tour’s seventh season, all of whom are pursuing the coveted Player of the Year title. Every player who cashes in an HPT event in the calendar year receives points towards the title. Colorado champ Craig Casino moved into first place at Downstream with a 12th-place cash. With two nationally-televised Main Events scheduled before the POY is announced at Michigan’s Soaring Eagle Casino Resort in November, the title is up for grabs to anyone.

Runner-up Jeffrey Foust of Lee’s Summit, Missouri has a similar track record at HPT events. Following the tour from Oklahoma to Indiana and Colorado, he’s cashed in four of five attempts. The latest stop at Downstream was his biggest score to date, earning him $40,416.

The third time was a charm for Mark Eddleman. The Fayetteville, Arkansas man played two previous HPT stops at Downstream Casino Resort, never cashing. That changed Sunday when he grinded all the way to the TV table. Ultimately, an unwelcome river card ended his run in fifth place for $15,288.

Edward “Bud” Hosford of Burlington, Kansas isn’t complaining about his HPT resume. Investing just $115 to qualify for the tournament, he turned a healthy profit, walking away with $24,322 in third place.

Tony Lay has been playing poker since before some of the other players were born. The Oklahoma City man has $600,000 in career winnings and a win at a World Series of Poker Circuit event. Falling ill Saturday, he made the decision to skip the tournament. A last-minute decision to play earned him $13,203 in sixth place.

Returning players couldn’t help notice that nearby Joplin, Missouri looks very different since HPT’s last visit to the area. A May tornado leveled much of the town, with plenty of devastation still visible. Downstream Casino Resort, located just miles from the path of the tornado, became an important resource center in the wake of the storm. The funnel exceeded a mile in width as it barreled through the south side of the city. It claimed 160 lives, making it the nation’s deadliest tornado since 1947, and the 27th deadliest tornado in world history. Costs to rebuild Joplin are estimated to reach three billion dollars.

Although many of Downstream’s local customers are still dealing with the aftermath of the tornado, many loyal players wouldn’t miss the chance to play for a six-figure prize. “We saw many familiar faces throughout the week,” said Poker Room Manager Eric “Dale” Hunter. “The tournament provided a well-deserved break for many players.”

News of the horrific storm inspired goodwill from many, including HPT friend and comedian Brad Garrett, who made the trip to Joplin to help the cause. The Everybody Loves Raymond star pledged to help victims of the tornado by performing a comedy show, “Rated R for Relief” during HPT’s visit to Downstream. All proceeds from Garrett’s appearance will benefit those devastated by the storm.

No stranger to poker, Garrett won the fifth season championship of Celebrity Poker Showdown and competed numerous times in the World Series of Poker. "I'm honored to be involved in helping the good folks of Joplin,” Garrett said, “I can't imagine what they've had to endure, but it's important we continue to offer aid and support as they rebuild their communities and their lives."

HPT players have a long history of embracing and supporting charitable causes, and fourth place Ethan Riddle is no exception. The 21-year-old student from Dexter, Missouri pledged to donate a portion of his $18,068 to charity.

The nationally-televised poker show will dedicate airtime in the Downstream episodes, airing in January and February, to bring attention to the needs of Joplin. HPT programming can be seen in over 100 million U.S. homes, broadcasting on hundreds of stations 52 weeks each year. In addition, Heartland Poker Tour also airs in Europe, the Caribbean, and the Middle East.

“Devastation in the Heartland concerns us deeply,” said HPT President Todd Anderson, “We are grateful for the opportunity to help our friends in Joplin with their ongoing needs through fundraising and awareness.”