For the second time, the Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) came back to the Ameristar Casino in East Chicago for its run from 22nd August to 2nd September 2019. The biggest highlight of the poker festival was its $1,650 Main Event, which drew an impressive field of 579 entries and created an $833,760 prize pool. After several days of intense battles, it was Wisconsin poker pro Josh Reichard who emerged victorious to claim a $186,812 in top prize and a $3,500 HPT Championship package.
This win was Reichard’s second biggest live score with his best performance coming from the same event last year in November when he won the HPT at Ameristar East Chicago title for $221,293 in top prize. With his latest victory in the main event, the 11-time WSOP Circuit ring winner took his live tournament earnings to $1,441,798 to place him 8th in Wisconsin, USA All Time Money List.
Reichard entered the FT second in chips with 2,820,000, behind Mike O’Neill who held 4,920,000, nearly a third of the chips in play. After Michael Koh exiting in 9th place, Reichard eliminated two players one after the other. First, he sent Nikola Budzakoski to the rail in 8th place and then eliminated Kevin Albers in 7th place. Thereafter, there was no looking back for the rising star and he went on to outlast everyone from the FT, including Henry Zou (6th place), Brett Apter (5th place), Mike O’Neill (4th place), Eddie Blumenthal (3rd place) and eventually the runner-up David McDermott.
Going into heads-up, Reichard held a 2:1 chip advantage over McDermott and he didn’t take long to win the coveted title. There were a few back-and-forth tussles between the two but in the end, it was Reichard who emerged victorious. The last hand of the duel saw Reichard shoving all-in with 7d 3d and McDermott made the call with his Kc Jd, thus putting his tournament life at risk. The board ran out 3s 4s As 3h 10h, giving Reichard the coveted pot as well as the HPT main event title.
Top 63 finishers were paid out in the tournament with a min-cash of $2,989. Some notables to finish in the money were Blake Whittington (12th for $12,786), Eric Salazar (14th for $9,548), Aaron Johnson (24th for $5,480), Chris Moon (35th for $4,566) and Nick Pupillo (53rd for $3,238) to name a few. Shawn Roberts was the player who earned the unfortunate title of the ‘Money Bubble’.
Final Table Payouts (USD)
- Josh Reichard – $186,812
- David McDermott – $115,406
- Eddie Blumenthal – $75,637
- Mike O’Neill – $52,555
- Brett Apter – $38.192
- Henry Zou – $29,640
- Kevin Albers – $24,908
- Nikola Budzakoski – $20,757
- Michael Koh – $16,605