Nevada-Stratosphere Casino, Hotel, & Tower Recap

Lyndaker Claims First Career Title on HPT


Las Vegas, NV (November 19, 2013) In 2008, Richard Lyndaker transitioned from being a college student to a professional poker player. Although he has accumulated over a million dollars in winnings, there was still something missing from his resume five years later: a win.  That changedMonday night when the Lowville, New York man earned his first championship title at the Stratosphere Hotel, Casino and Tower, and he did it at his first-ever televised Final Table.  When the episodes air early next year, over 160 million households worldwide can tune in to see Lyndaker win $122,549 on Heartland Poker Tour


The heads-up battle saw Lyndaker win every all-in situation, three of which had him at risk. In the fourth, he had the chip lead and the lead in the hand with his king-six over Steven Patch's nine-eight. A six on the flop only improved Lyndaker's hand, while Patch didn't catch a single card to stay alive. Patch of Colorado Springs, Colorado collected $74,346 as the runner-up.


HPT’s first event at the iconic Stratosphere drew 353 players in the Main Event from throughout the United States and beyond.  The tournament attracted some of poker’s most elite players to the Stratosphere for the first time. Dennis Phillips, Dan O’Brien, and Allen Kessler all earned respectable paychecks. Scotty Nguyen, Layne Flack, and Hoyt Corkins advanced to Day 2 but fell short of the money.


A popular tournament structure designed by pro Daniel Negreanu attracted notable players to HPT stops throughout the year. Gavin Smith, Greg “Fossilman” Raymer, and Kessler are already committed to play HPT’s next stop at Soaring Eagle Casino Resort in Mt Pleasant, Michigan next weekend. 


“My first impression of the field was that it was a pretty tough one for this buy-in,” said Lyndaker, “although I wasn’t very intimidated.”


Dan Alspach wasn’t intimidated either. The Vegas pro made his second HPT Final Table appearance and collected $14,297 in eighth place.  “The field was stacked with people that I know very well,” he said, “and I know how they play.”


Eight states were represented at the nine-handed Final Table. Cory Waaland of Wimington, North Carolina circled the date on his calendar months ago, telling his friends he was going to Las Vegas to win an HPT Main Event. He was not disappointed with a third place finish worth $49,785.


Shaun Suller’s trip from Honolulu, Hawaii was worthwhile after a fourth-place finish netted him $34,722.  He narrowly avoided an earlier demise when Tony Cuppone of Nantucket, Massachusetts moved all-in with ace-six. Both Suller and Lyndaker held ace-king.  A two-heart flop brought Lyndaker a flush draw that could have eliminated both Suller and Cuppone. Another heart did not come, saving Suller who chopped the pot with Lyndaker. Cuppone collected $20,425 for his sixth-place finish. Suller went on to eliminate HPT Final Table veteran Tim West of Los Altos, Californiain fifth place for $26,041.


Suller was also responsible for the first elimination of the day. Vegas pro Dylan Hortin moved all-in after the flop with pocket aces.  Suller called with a pair of jacks and a jack on the board.  When an ace did not come on the turn or river, Hortin picked up $12,255 in ninth place.


Like Lyndaker, Ed Liu from Seattle, Washington started his poker career straight out of college.  His paycheck Monday totaled $17,259 for a seventh-place finish.  “Being a professional poker player has a lot of ups and downs,” he said, “but it’s been pretty fun so far.”