Ari Engel, a Las Vegas pro, has more than $1.16 million in earnings, but his $142K victory at the Heartland Poker Tour’s stop at River City Casino and Hotel in St. Louis was his biggest. The final table was top-heavy at the start as first and second place held more than half of the chips in play.
Paul Fehlig of St. Louis came in with only7 percent of the chips but rallied to finish second ($87,696), followed by Jose Ivan Motes ($57,456).
The event attracted 420 players to generate a $604,800 prize pool.
Jacob Bazeley of Cincinnati made his second HPT final table in a year and finished fourth ($39,917), followed by Joseph Sanfilippo of St. Louis ($29,635), Peter Brooks of St. Louis ($22,982) and Keith Brodie of Columbia, Mo., ($19,898). Local poker podcaster Andy Kazen finished eighth ($16,330) and Kyle Caslin was ninth ($13,306).
Returning champions Greg Raymer, Will Failla, Stan Jablonski and Craig Casino were in the main-event field. The tournament showed a 25 percent growth in main-event entries.
“The cash tournaments saw a 10 percent increase overall and qualifiers have drawn well,” River City tournament director Tony Russo said.
Satellites played a big role in the final table as Montes won his entry in a $60 satellite and Kazen won a $160 satellite. More than half of the final-table players were from the St. Louis area.
— Don Matusofsky is our Missouri Ambassador. Email him at email@example.com.