California - Commerce Casino Los Angeles Recap

Madsen Goes from Short Stack to Champ

$800k Prize Pool at the Commerce Casino


Commerce, CA (May 19, 2014) – Jeff Madsen had high hopes of coming out on top when he took his seat at the Heartland Poker Tour Final Table on Monday. The only problem: everyone else had more chips. As it turns out, the poker gods were on his side and Madsen was able to rally from behind to win the title.  The pro player from Santa Monica, California outlasted the field of 584 entrants at The Commerce Casino on his way to a $160,060 payday.


Madsen made the road to victory look easy.  He started the day with the elimination of Santa Monica’s Steve Ayoub.  The ninth-place finisher met his fate when his pocket queens were outdrawn by Madsen’s ace-king.  Ayoub left with $16,000 while Madsen took the chips all the way to the top.


Madsen wisely went after the biggest stack at the Final Table.  Alberta, Canada’s Doug Lee, with an enviable poker resume of his own, was the chip leader when play began at the Final Table.  After relinquishing the chip lead to Madsen earlier, Lee looked to get it back when he went all-in with pocket kings. Madsen’s ace-ten turned a straight to eliminate him in fourth place. Asked about his $53,430 prize, Lee responded simply, “not too shabby”.


By the time he got down to heads up play with Alex Greenblatt, Madsen had built a chip lead that would prove too much to overcome. It took only fourteen hands for the newest HPT champ to eliminate Greenblatt, sending him to the rail in second place for $112,200. His deep run marks the second time the Atherton, California man finished one position short of an HPT title.  Last September, Greenblatt was the runner-up at HPT’s biggest stop of the year in Black Hawk, Colorado.    


Amit Makhija came to the final day of play at The Commerce as one of the more familiar faces remaining. The Redondo Beach, California resident has had much success in recent years as a professional poker player, winning over $3 million. His first live title remains elusive, however, after Greenblatt knocked him out in third place Monday evening. Makhija collected $72,150 in his first HPT event.  “HPT is fun,” he said. “I’d definitely recommend it to other people.”


Luther Quach of Arcadia, California managed to stay pretty quiet throughout the day and found a way to climb the ladder and earn $40,050 for his fifth-place finish. Quach was in decent shape when he went all-in with ace-king, but Greenblatt prevailed with pocket sevens. 


Jasmin Oh of Los Angeles, California had a strong Day 1 and went into Day 2 as the chip leader.  Although her run ended in seventh place, she had the best ROI of the tournament.  She invested just $240 in a satellite entry and took home $26,760. 


Construction worker and eighth-place finisher Wes Nally was excited to make it as far as he did before running into Madsen’s aces. “I’m having the time of my life,” said the Rio Dell, California native before taking his seat at the nationally-televised Final Table. As for what he will do with his $21,340 in winnings, Nally said, “In all reality, I’ll probably have to ask the wife.”


Brett Murray already had a taste of HPT success.  He won a preliminary event at Thunder Valley Casino Resort earlier this year. Unfortunately, another win wasn’t in the cards. The Santa Rosa, California native was eliminated in sixth place when his queen-nine failed to improve against Greenblatt’s ace-jack. He earned $32,090 for his first trip to the Commerce Casino.  “It’s mind-blowing,” he said, “Incredible.”


HPT will return to the Commerce Casino this fall after summer stops in Michigan and in the Chicago area, among others on the busy fall schedule.  Tour details are available