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Monday, February 24, 2020

Garosshen Takes Down HPT St. Louis for $131,184!

Recap by Brandon Temple of PokerNews...

"It's still sinking in..." Kevin Garosshen told HPT Tournament Director Jeremy Smith after taking down the Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) Hollywood St. Louis $1,650 Main Event for $131,184 and a $3,500 Championship Package. Garosshen bested Brent Cunningham in heads-up action after a lengthy final table, and the Las Vegas, Nevada native said about his victory, "I didn't come in with a top stack, and there were a lot of solid players at the final table. I just ran pretty hot, picked my spots pretty well, and it worked out."
Garosshen, who now boasts over $430,000 in career tournament earnings according to Hendon Mob, was able to overcome a tough final table that included a pair of WSOP Bracelet winners in Kyle Cartwright and Brett Apter. "Once Brett got out, he was the best player with four left. Once I won the flip versus him, it was steadily uphill from there. It would've been really tough if Kyle or Brett made heads-up, because they're some of the best."
"Potter", as he was affectionately called by guest commentator Jerod Smith throughout the HPT's Twitch stream, thanked his friends and family after his victory in just his second-ever HPT Main Event, and added, "It still feels kinda crazy!"
Lucas Tae was the first player to exit the final table, finding himself on the wrong end of a flip. Tae's jacks couldn't hold against the Big Slick of chip leader Austin McCormick, who continued his dominating run that started with two tables remaining on Day 2. His fellow St. Charles, Missouri native Neil Patel left next, his ace-five bested by the ace-eight of Kyle Cartwright. Cartwright had a hand in the next bustout as well, as Brian Reeder got his last ten or so big blinds in preflop with pocket sixes. Cartwright was waiting in the big blind with pocket queens, however, and Reeder exited in seventh.
McCormick's hot run finally came to an end in sixth, after a pivotal hand that changed the entire dynamic of the final table. McCormick attempt to run a three-barrel bluff against the start of the day short stack Laura Hoppe, but Hoppe called down with top pair, top kicker, sending her soaring into the chip lead and leaving McCormick as one of the shorter stacks. He managed to find a few ladders up the pay chart, before jamming jack-nine into Cartwright's ace-king preflop. McCormick found no help on the board to end his second HPT St. Louis final table two spots shy of his fourth-place showing last August.
From there, the chip lead bounced back and forth between the quintet for a few hours, with Cartwright, Brent Cunningham and Brett Apter all spending time as the short stack, while Kevin Garosshen and Hoppe stayed near the top of the counts. After the dinner break, Garosshen, Hoppe and Apter all held over 35 big blinds, while Cartwright and Cunningham were down to under fourteen big blinds. The two short stacks found themselves battling soon after play resumed, and Cartwright's ten-nine couldn't overcome Cunningham's ace-eight in a blind versus blind confrontation. Cartwright, who won a WSOP Bracelet in 2014 in a $1,000 No Limit Hold'em event, lost his last crumbs shortly after to finish in fifth-place, leaving him with $28,233 to take home to Tennessee.
The other WSOP Bracelet winner at the table would be the next to exit, as the 2019 WSOP $1,500 Shootout Bracelet winner fell victim to Hoppe. Apter flopped top pair with ace-king, but Hoppe's ace-ten flopped top two, and Apter put all but around half a big blind of his stack in on the river. Hoppe called with the best hand, and although Apter managed to spin his stack back up to around seven big blinds, he fell in a flip to Garosshen to exit in fourth.
Hoppe's magical day would be the next to end, however, as Cunningham spiked a three-outer to take a chunk of chips from Hoppe. A few hands later, Hoppe tried to bluff Garosshen on a coordinated board, but Garossen made the call with second pair to leave Hoppe short. She got her last five big blinds in with ace-eight, but Cunningham was waiting with kings and sent Hoppe, a NASA Engineer, home short of heads-up action.
Heads-up action was a short-lived affair, as Garosshen steadily ground Cunningham down to around fifteen big blinds. Cunningham tried to steal over a Garosshen button open. Garosshen held ace-ten and called, and Cunningham couldn't hit with his ten-deuce to send the Colorado food truck operator home a little over $80,000 richer.
When asked what his plans for the money where, Garosshen beamed and said, "I'm definitely going to fire a lot more events now; maybe fire some more HPT stuff. It's definitely gone well!"
That concludes our coverage of the HPT St. Louis Main Event. The HPT's next stop is a Mini Series in Toledo, Ohio from March 5th through the 15th.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

McCormick on a Heater After Day 2 of HPT St. Louis

The final table is set in St. Louis. The remaining nine players will resume play tomorrow at noon on HPT's televised set. You can watch the stream (roughly 12:15pm start) at or follow text updates at Here's Brandon Temple's end of day report:
On Day 2 Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) Hollywood St. Louis $1,650 Main Event, 72 players returned to the felt, and after eight levels of play, the televised final table of nine was reached. Leading the charge is Austin McCormick, who went on a white-hot tear with two tables remaining to bag up the chip lead with a 2,775,000 stack.
McCormick, who finished fourth in an HPT St. Louis $1,650 Main Event last September, was responsible for five of the final nine knockouts of the day, including one of the more memorable triple knockouts in recent memory, when his ace-queen overcame aces, kings, and sixes by hitting running queens on the turn and river to send Day 1a chip leader Ryan Tepen (18th - $5,532), former HPT St. Louis champ Paul Belken (17th - $5,532), and Thomas Rennier (16th - $5,532) out the door all in one fell swoop. McCormick claimed two more victims in Mark Koeln (13th - $7,358) and BJ McBrayer (12th - $9,753) before play ended for the day.
A pair of WSOP Bracelet winners are hot on McCormick's trail, however. Kyle Cartwright flopped a combo draw against the set of Mike Thompson (10th - $9,753), and when Cartwright made his straight on the turn, all the chips went in the middle, and a blank river left Thompson one spot shy of the televised final table. Brett Apter, meanwhile, was Austin Tjaden's (11th - $9,753) nemesis, first fading a big draw from Tjaden to take a good portion of Tjaden's stack, then snagging the rest when Apter won a flip.
Day 1c chip leader Kevin Garosshen and Colorado native Brent Cunningham are the only other players over a million in chips, while Brian ReederLucas TaeNeil Patel, and Laura Hoppe round out the final table of nine.

Final Table Seat Draw and Chip Counts

TableSeatNameChip CountBig Blinds
171Lucas Tae700,00035
172Neil Patel480,00024
173Austin McCormick2,775,000139
174Kevin Garosshen1,590,00080
175Kyle Cartwright2,120,000106
176Brent Cunningham1,125,00056
177Brian Reeder935,00047
179Brett Apter1,735,00087
1710Laura Hoppe300,00015

Day 2 Action

72 players returns from the 392 entrants that started the three opening flights, but only 45 would walk away with a payday. Reigning HPT Player of the Year Nick Pupillo, three-time HPT champ Reginald "Shawn" Roberts and Jerod Smith all were unable to make it to the money. Former HPT champ Mike O'Neill ended up as the bubble boy, jamming pocket fives into the aces of Justin Coliny (15th - $7,358). O'Neill got a sweat when he flopped an open-ended straight draw, but he would improve no further to leave empty-handed.
From there, 36 players left with a payday before play ended for the day, including Jimmy Bussey (14th - $7,358), former HPT Vicksburg champ Jay Friedman (21st - $4,563), last year's defending champ Bill Byrnes (25th - $4,563), Hyndi Khomutetsky (27th - $4,563) and former HPT Florence champ Sameer Al Dbhany (41st - $3,137).
Day 3 will kick off tomorrow at Noon local time, and the final table will be taped and televised for future use. The final table will also be streamed at the HPT's Twitch channel on a delay (no hole cares will be shown due to Missouri gaming laws), and the PokerNews blog will sync up with the stream during tomorrow's play. Be sure to tune in to see who will walk away with the $131,184 top prize, the $3,500 Championship Package, and the trophy here at Hollywood St. Louis!

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Welcome to Day 1C from Hollywood St. Louis

Follow along with the tournament action all weekend at
Day 1c of the Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) Hollywood St. Louis $1,650 Main Event kicks off at Noon local time, the third and final flight for players looking to bag up chips for Day 2. 181 entrants have hit the felt over the first two starting flights, and a big crowd is expected to arrive today in hope of joining the 27 players already advancing to Sunday's Day 2.
In yesterday's Day 1b flight, BJ McBrayer bagged the chip lead with a 473,000 chip stack, making him the overall chip leader after two flights. Mark Koeln (453,000) also managed to find a healthy bag, while Reginald "Shawn" Roberts (320,000), Ian Nelson (262,000), Paul Belken (246,000), and Craig Welko (90,000) also advanced.
Today's Day 1c flight features 40-minute levels, and registration is open through the dinner break after Level 9, or approximately 7:30 local time. A single re-entry option is available for players unfortunate enough to bust. Day 1c will conclude with 9:46 in Level 14 (the stopping point for Day 1a) or when 13% of the field rounded down remains, whichever comes first. All players who manage to bag up chips will return tomorrow at 11 a.m. to play down to the final table of 9, and the televised final table kicks off on Monday, February 24th at Noon. Friends and family are welcome to come watch the final table live, and you can also follow the final table action on the HPT's Twitch channel on a short delay.
Who will manage to navigate their way to a bag to join the 22 survivors for Sunday action here at Hollywood Casino St. Louis? Stay tuned to PokerNews to follow all of today's action straight from the tournament floor.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Welcome to Day 1b from Hollywood St. Louis

You can follow along with the action all weekend long at with reporting from Brandon Temple.

The second of three starting flights is slated to kick off at 2 p.m. local time for the Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) Hollywood St. Louis $1,650 Main Event, and a much larger field is expected to converge on the felt in hopes of joining the five survivors from yesterday's Day 1a flight.
Ryan Tepen made his late entry count, as he surged to the top of the counts quickly and never relinquished the lead before bagging up a healthy 402,000 chips. Igor Holdaiy spun a stack of 19,000 all the way up to 295,000 in just two levels to bag the second largest stack, while WSOP Bracelet winner Brett Apter (270,000), Thomas Rennier (175,000), and Season XV HPT $2,500 Championship runner-up Christopher Audrain (88,000) were the only other players to bag chips at the end of the night.
Today's Day 1b flight will feature 40-minute levels, with a fifteen-minute break after every three levels, and a dinner break after Level 9. Registration remains open through the completion of the dinner break (approximately 9:30 p.m.) and a single re-entry option is available for players unfortunate enough to bust. Day 1a's flight ended with just under ten minutes remaining in Level 14, and the final two flights will stop at that point, or when 13% of the field (rounded down) remains, whichever comes first. One final flight is on tap for players, as Day 1c will kick off on Saturday at Noon local time.
Reigning HPT Player of the Year Nick Pupillo is expected to be in action again today, while Henry ZouJames Pupillo, and Keith Heine are also expected to make their initial appearance in this weekend's Main Event. Cards will be in the air at 2 p.m. local time, so be sure to stay tuned to PokerNews as we continue our coverage here at HPT Hollywood Casino St. Louis.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Play Underway in St. Louis

You can follow along with the action all weekend long at with reporting from Brandon Temple.

Season XVI of the Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) continues rolling on this weekend, as the $1,650 Main Event at Hollywood St. Louis with a $400,000 Guarantee, kicks off today at 2 p.m. with the first of three starting flights.

Mike Shin topped a field of 480 players here last August, earning $160,632 after beating 2019 HPT Player of the Year Nick Pupillo heads-up. Last March's iteration of this event saw Bill Byrnes best a field of 444 entrants for $148,547. Keith Heine (2nd - $91,735), Kou Vang (5th - $31,978) and Tim Burden (7th - $20,673) were just a few of the heavy hitters at a talented final table that Byrnes had to overcome.

Players will receive 30,000 in starting chips, and Day 1 features a total of fifteen 40-minute levels. There will be a fifteen-minute break after every two hours of play, and a 60-minute dinner break will take place after Level 9. Registration and a single re-entry option are open for players through the dinner break (approximately 9:30 p.m. for today's flight). The field will play until the end of Level 15, or until 13% of the field rounded down remains, whichever comes first.

There are two other starting flights available for prospective players, as Friday's Day 1b kicks off at 2 p.m. local time, while Day 1c will commence at Noon on Saturday, February 22nd. All players that manage to bag up a stack will return on Sunday at 11 a.m. local time to play down to the final table of nine. Monday's televised final table will resume at Noon, and the public is welcome to come and watch the action, which will also be streamed on Twitch on a short delay.

Will Shin and Byrnes make another run to grab a second HPT Hollywood St. Louis title? Or will HPT legends Craig Casino, Shawn Roberts, or Mike O'Neill lay claim to the title? Stay tuned right here to PokerNews all weekend long, as we bring you all the action straight from the tournament floor.