Missouri - River City Casino & Hotel Recap
Wins HPT Title in St. Louis
Belken Jr. earns $95k at River City Casino & Hotel
St. Louis, MO (April 13, 2015) – A painting contractor from Festus, Missouri managed
to turn a $375 investment into a score of $95,645 this weekend on Heartland Poker Tour (HPT). Paul Belken Jr. won the nationally
televised Main Event at River City Casino & Hotel late Monday night to earn
the biggest payday of his poker career.
“It’s awesome. I just can’t even put words to it yet,” said the new
The road to victory wasn’t easy for Belken, even though the majority
of the crowd was in his corner. His final opponent was one of the winningest
players in HPT history, Reginald “Shawn”
Roberts. Roberts, a business owner from Springfield, Missouri, was making
his seventh Final Table appearance with the tour. That feat has only been
matched by two other players, Stan Jablonski and Craig Casino. Three times
before Roberts came out a winner. His bid for a fourth Title came up short when
Belken eliminated him in second place after a lengthy heads up battle. Roberts
took home $61,134 for his efforts.
The strong finish was good enough to catapult Roberts to the top of
the HPT Player of the Year leaderboard, but the past champion knows he’s still got work to do to secure the coveted award. “This will put me in the lead,
but there’s a lot of poker left to play,” he said.
Another player who is no stranger to playing under the bright lights
is Paul Fehlig. The St. Louis man
boasts nearly $300k in live tournament winnings, including a runner-up finish
at River City in late 2013. Fehlig was unable to top that finish this go
around. Roberts sent him to the rail in third place for $40,964.
Familiar faces from all across the country made the trek to River City
to take a shot at the life-changing money. Former world champ Greg “Fossilman”
Raymer and current HPT Player of the Year Aaron Massey were among the notables
at the tables over the weekend. In the end, most of the prize pool money stayed
in the area with eight of the final nine players hailing from Missouri or just
across the Mississippi River in Illinois.
Much like Belken, business developer Ryan White won his seat through a $375 qualifier tournament.
The Leawood, Kansas native saw a great ROI when he ran that sum up to $28,904
by finishing in fourth place.
Sullivan, Missouri’s Cullen
Oldham played a solid game for several hours on Monday. He eventually found
himself all-in before the flop with pocket jacks against Fehlig’s ace-king. Oldham,
an electrician, came out on the losing end of the proverbial coinflip and lost
the rest of his chips a few hands later. He took home $21,626 for the
fifth place finish.
Mike Rieck of Louisiana, Missouri exited in sixth place at the hands of White.
He earned $17,467. Shortly before his departure, Trenton, Illinois’ Jason Bliven was knocked out in seventh
for $14,556. Bliven, a roofer by trade, started the day with a sizable chip
lead but was never able to get anything going.
The table’s eighth-place finisher was Vadim Kleydman. The local poker player got $12,061 for his
weekend’s worth of work and he plans to use those winnings to play in more tournaments
down the road.
The first elimination of the day came when Phil Gilreath pushed his short stack in with queen-nine and was
called by Fehlig’s ace-eight. When the cards ran out, Fehlig had three of a
kind to Gilreath’s lone pair and the Columbia, Illinois man was out in ninth
for a $10,439 payday.
HPT will take a short break before making a
return visit to Ameristar Casino Hotel East Chicago at the end of the month.
That 10-day series will run from April 30 to May 10. All of the details are
available now at HPTpoker.com.