Michigan - Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort Recap

Marvin Earns $166k and Bracelet on HPT

Michigan man tops field of over 500 at Soaring Eagle

Mt. Pleasant, MI (August 3, 2015) –Poker players often dream of competing against their best friend for a major title. Chris Moonand Josh Marvin got to live that dream on Monday. The two outlasted over 500 entries to battle each other in a heads up match for $166,565 and the first ever Heartland Poker Tour bracelet at Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort.

HPT viewers are in for a treat when the episodes from Soaring Eagle make it to television. The friends exchanged pots for nearly two hours before the tournament came to an end on one of the most memorable hands in the tour’s history. With all of the chips in the middle, the flop came king-jack-five. Marvin’s king-jack had taken the lead over Moon’s pocket aces, but the five on the turn gave Moon a higher two pair. Alas, the river brought another jack to give Marvin a full house and the HPT title in dramatic fashion.

The victory was the first of the Sterling Heights, Michigan native’s young career. “I had a rough summer in Vegas,” said Marvin. “This will help make up for it… I’m very excited.”

Runner-up Chris Moon will take home $101,823 for his efforts. The tournament poker instructor from Detroit was in great spirits when his day came to an end. “Not bad for a Monday I guess,” he chuckled in his exit interview.

John Skrabutenas, a computer programmer from Chicago, came into the Final Table with $0 in career earnings. In impressive fashion, he was able to add $67,495 to that total by finishing in third place. When Skrabutenas was asked what his plans were for the money, he replied, "We're expecting a baby in three months, so it's nice to have a little extra unplanned money."

Novi, Michigan’s Scott Sisler is starting to make a habit out of fourth-place finishes. The mortgage broker took fourth in an event in Vegas this summer and finished in the exact same spot Monday. Sisler thought he was in good shape when he put his chips in the middle with second pair, but Moon had already made a straight. Sisler was sent to the rail $46,928 richer.

One of the more active players at the HPT Final Table was Vinny Ho. The nail technician began the day with one of the larger stacks. He played pots early and often until his run came to a close at the hands of the eventual champion, Marvin. Ho, from Midland, Michigan, earned $35,124 for his fifth-place finish.

Sixth-place finisher Rodney Maxey managed to play his way to a seat under the lights on an investment of just $190. The commercial roofer from Coleman, Michigan was able to parlay that into a $27,158 payday.

Alexander Ahmed finished in seventh when he tried to make a move and ran into Skrabutenas’s pocket kings. He collected $22,088 for his weekend’s worth of work. The Detroit poker player will invest some of his winnings and use the rest to play more poker.

Small business owner Kyle Gasiorowski has three chidren at home who are excited to see him on TV. “They think daddy’s coming home with millions of dollars,” he said. The Lake Orion, Michigan man was able to play his way to an eighth-place finish for a score of $18,105.

Much like Maxey, Patrick Smolinski found his way to the Final Table through a $180 satellite. “This is like a dream come true,” said the retired art teacher from Rapid City, Michigan. “It’s amazing!” When it was all said and done, Smolinski hit the rail in ninth place to the tune of $14,484.

Next up for HPT is a return visit to Kansas City. That series begins August 14 and culminates with the nationally televised Main Event the following weekend. For details on the rest of the 2015 season, visit HPTpoker.com.