Lloyd Marshall, a retired veteran from Hawaii, admitted he only just recently learned to play poker from watching it on TV. Now he’ll have to learn from himself as he captured the televised Heartland Poker Tour event at the Peppermill Casino in early December.
“It is an honor to show people I can do it,” said Marshall, who earned $55,565 for his victory.
Daniel Holhos, a youth soccer coach from nearby Incline Village, Nev., was playing in his first major tournament and finished second ($30,640).
The Peppermill, with its recent expansion, was a fine setting for Marshall’s victory as poker room manager Mike Gainey has made every effort to provide the best for his players.
Some of poker’s most popular players made the trip to the Biggest Little City in the World, including world champs Jerry Yang and Jamie Gold, and well-known pros Dennis Phillips, Kathy Liebert and Chad Brown. All busted on Day 1, except Brown, who bubbled the money with pocket threes against fours. Yang and Gold offered seminars during the week for tournament players.
The main event drew 119 players for a prize pool of $171,360
“This is the most fun I’ve ever had,” said Joe Christman of Pacifica, Calif., who earned $16,835 for third.
Mark “Poker Ho” Kroon was fourth ($13,470).
Past HPT champs Mary Jo Belcore-Zogman and Eric Stocz made the final table. Belcore-Zogman, the 2008 HPT Player of the Year, made her third final table but couldn’t survive as the short stack and finished sixth ($8,420). She and her husband, Dan, have 15 HPT cashes combined.
Stocz, a former NFL player with four HPT cashes added $10,100 to his bankroll with his fifth-place showing.
— Ante Up Reno Ambassador Cordell Howard contributed to this report.