Published first on PokerNews.Com
The Heartland Poker Tour Soaring Eagle Casino $1,650 Main Event concluded on Monday, May 20 at the Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. The tournament created a $662,280 prize pool after 462 players turned out, including 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event champ Joe Cada. The 25-year-old poker pro made it all the way to the final table, but ultimately fell in fourth place. Meanwhile, Pat Steele of Chelsea, Michigan went on to capture the $155,636 first-place prize.
HPT Soaring Eagle Casino Results
|1||Pat Steele||Chelsea, MI||$155,636|
|2||Tom Midena||Jackson, MI||$96,031|
|3||Penelope Banhidy||Cleveland, OH||$62,917|
|4||Joe Cada||Shelby Township, MI||$43,710|
|5||Adam Bacon||Bryan, OH||$32,452|
|6||Rudy Ballard||Rochester Hills, MI||$25,167|
|7||Mark Davis||Toledo, OH||$21,789|
|8||Sai Mudduluru||Lansing, MI||$17,882|
|9||Phung Ngo||Commerce Township, MI||$14,570|
According to the HPT live blog, the first elimination of the final table took place in Level 27 (25,000/50,000/5,000) on Hand #18 when Sai Mudduluru opened for 100,000 under the gun and then called when Phung Ngo moved all in for 575,000 from late position.
Ngo, a 36-year-old mechanical engineer from Commerce Township, Michigan, got a little help when the flop gave him the lead with a pair of kings, but Mudduluru did pick up a flush draw. The turn was of no consequence, but the river was as Mudduluru hit his flush to send Ngo home in ninth place.
Unfortunately, Mudduluru’s momentum would be short lived as he was eliminated 10 hands later after his was cracked by the of Rudy Ballard in an all-in confrontation. The beat was especially brutal as the killing stroke came on the river as the board ran out . Mudduluru, a 30-year-old program analyst from Lansing, Michigan, finished in eighth place for $17,882.
The next elimination didn’t occur until Hand #63, which took place in Level 18 (30,000/60,000/10,000), when Mark Davis got his stack in holding the and was ahead of Adam Bacon’s . Unfortunately for Davis, a 44-year-old attorney from Toledo, Ohio, the board ran out , and Bacon’s pair of aces took down the pot. Davis earned $21,789 for his seventh-place finish.
After Cada eliminated Ballard in sixth place on Hand #87, Bacon followed him out the door in fifth. Then, on Hand #128 in Level 20 (50,000/100,000/10,000), it was Cada’s time to go. It happened when Tom Midena moved all in and Cada called off his stack.
Cada was dominated, and the flop wasn’t particularly helpful as it gave Midena the nut-flush draw. The turn gave Cada an open-ended straight draw, but the river would miss it. With that, the former world champion was sent to the rail in fourth place for $43,710.
“Winning the HPT title would mean a lot,” Cada said, “You play a tournament to win.”
After the last woman standing, Penelope Banhidy, was knocked out in third place, a heads-up battle was set up between Midena, a 23-year-old professional player from Jackson, Michigan, and Steele, who you may recall finished as the third-place finisher in the PokerNews Mid-States Poker Tour Ho-Chunk Main Event back in March for $27,773.
The match was just 22 hands in before a winner was determined. It happened in Level 31 (60,000/120,000/15,000) on Hand #157 of the final table when Steele raised to 260,000 and then called when Midena moved all in.
Steele got it in good and held as the board ran out . With that, he secured the $155,636 first-place prize while Midena was left with a $96,031 consolation prize for his runner-up performance. Despite falling short of victory, Midena was quick to praise the HPT.
“HPT has been great,” Midena said, “They probably have one of the best structures out there for poker tours.”
The next HPT will take place this weekend at Route 66 Casino & Hotel in Albuquerque in New Mexico, and the Main Event will start May 24.
*Photos courtesy of hptpoker.com.