Florence, IN - Local sales manager Michael Scarborough topped a field of 436 this weekend at Belterra Casino Resort for his first Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) title. The Lawrenceburg, Indiana native collected $95,470 for the victory.
After his win, the new champ spoke about his experience with HPT at Belterra. "It's one of the best tournaments for value and you couldn't play against nicer people. I just love it and everybody's super nice," he said.
Scarborough came into the final table fifth in chips. He managed to stave off elimination early and ramped up the aggression late. His final competitor was Hamilton, Ohio's Adam Stephens. Stephens, a regional manager at a fitness center, only invested $260 into the tournament. He was more than pleased when he ended up finishing second to Scarborough for $58,943. That score more than doubled his career winnings at the tables.
When asked of his plans for the money, Stephens said with a smile, "Disneyland is the cliché answer, right?".
Perhaps the most experienced player among the final nine was Kurt Jewell. The poker player from Frankfort, Kentucky has over $1 million in previous earnings on the felt. After giving up the chip lead to Stephens in a large hand, Jewell pushed his last twelve big blinds into the middle with jack-ten. He was called by Stephens' king-queen and a king on the turn sealed his fate. Jewell walked away with $39,226 for third place.
Land surveyor Jeff Maiden had only played one HPT before and he finished in 18th place. He managed to improve on that result this time around, climbing his way to a fourth place finish, good enough for a $27,188 payday.
Shortly before Maiden hit the rail, Barbara Walston was eliminated in fifth place. The lone woman at the table played well all day, but was ultimately ousted by Scarborough when her ace-ten lost to his king-queen. Walston, a retired bank manager, would collect $20,547 for her efforts.
Matthew Lawrence came in as the chip leader, but didn't have any luck running his stack up as the day progressed. On his final hand, Lawrence's pocket kings were cracked by Maiden's pocket sevens and he was sent to the rail in sixth place with $15,981. Lawrence is a landscape business owner from Clarksville, Tennessee.
Fleet manager Chris Hoagland didn't have a single tournament cash to his name when the weekend began. He won his seat into the HPT Main Event through a $260 qualifier. When it was all said and done, the Lexington, Kentucky man had played his way to a seventh place finish that was good enough for $13,283.
Don Dukate and John Nelson were the first two players to be eliminated at Monday's final table. Dukate, an independent contractor from Indianapolis, earned $9,298 for ninth place. Nelson resides in Curtice, Ohio and he went out in eighth place with $11,000.
From here, HPT continues its Midwest leg of the tour with a stop just outside St. Louis, Missouri. That event kicks off March 29 and ends the following weekend. Buy-ins start at just $75. Visit HPTpoker.com for all the details.