Prize Pool: $710,040 | Entrants: 732 | Congratulations to Austin Peck for winning $152,671!
Austin Peck can claim he is the newest champion on the Heartland Poker Tour after outlasting a field of 732 entries en route to a first-place prize of $152,671. The victory was Peck’s second career victory after winning a World Series of Poker Circuit ring in 2016 and his first one on the HPT. With over $371,000 in live earnings coming into the day, the victory brought him up over half a million in career winnings.
Peck entered the day seventh in chips on the bottom end of a pack of players that was all separated by around five big blinds. Shortly after Igor Leshchinskiy was eliminated in ninth place, Peck found himself all in with ace-king suited to the ace-queen offsuit of Dapo Ajayi and had Ajayi drawing dead when a king hit on the turn to secure a double up and bring him to an average stack.
Ajayi then took the spotlight momentarily, winning two coin flips in short succession to knock out Rich Dixon (8th place - $16,544) when his sixes held versus Dixon’s ace-ten and Nick Pupillo (7th place - $19,810) when his nines held versus Pupillo’s ace-king. The eliminations had Ajayi sitting firmly in second place in the chip counts behind eventual fourth-place finisher and start-of-day chip leader Nathaniel Zoller.
Six-handed play lasted for nearly two hours at which point Peck had chipped up to around 6.9 million and taken the chip lead. Ajayi found himself as one of the short stacks and it was his turn to be on the losing end of a coin flip when his tens lost to Scott Horvath’s ace-queen after a queen hit on the river.
Horvath had spent much of the day as a short stack, finding himself as low as four big blinds at one point before doubling up multiple times to put himself in a position to knock out Ajayi. He then proceeded to record three more knockouts in a matter of minutes to take the chip lead.
The first of those hands happened in an all-in preflop situation, finding himself with ace-queen to put both Albert Winchester and Zoller at risk for their tournament lives with pocket fours and pocket kings, respectively. He spiked an ace on the river to take a field of five down to three and woke up with pocket queens in the big blind a few hands later. Maxx Holland was short and shoved into him with ace-three suited from the small blind. The queens held and that was all she wrote for Holland.
Heads-up play started with Horvath holding a two-to-one chip lead over Peck and he increased it from there to more than four-to-one after flopping a flush and getting three streets of value. However, Peck won a few pots before making a flush on his own to pull within reach of the chip lead, which he attained a few hands later after winning a hand at showdown with two pair. From there, he continued to grind Horvath down and eventually the two got stacks in preflop when Horvath called his remaining chips with ace-five and was unable to get there against Peck’s pocket fours.
When asked about what is next on his radar, Peck said that this was his last stop on his way home after spending the last six weeks in Las Vegas. He said that the victory helped recoup some of the losses he had over the summer and that the remaining balance would feed his poker bankroll in addition to taking his friends out to sushi for dinner tonight and going on a vacation with his sister in the fall.
Next up on the Heartland Poker Tour is HPT St. Louis with prelims beginning in just a few days’ time and the $1,650 Main Event set to get underway Thursday, August 1. Once again PokerNews will be live reporting that tournament.
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