Third Time's a charm for Englert on HPT

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Published on:
Feb/21/2018

Black Hawk, Colorado - Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) events at Golden Gates Casino & Poker Parlour have historically been among the tour's largest stops. This time around was no exception. The opening $400 Kick Off tournament set a Colorado state record with 912 entries. The Main Event drew 607 total players, building a prize pool of $892,290.

Realtor Mike Englert is no stranger to the cameras and bright lights of a televised HPT set, but it wasn't until Monday that he was able to call himself an HPT champion. The Windsor native beat out a field of 607 entries at Golden Gates to claim the $200,762 first-place prize.

"The staff and everyone does a great job running it," Englert said of the HPT event at Golden Gates. "It's just a well-run tournament."

Englert previously finished eighth and ninth in HPT events at Golden Gates. The score on Monday was his largest to date and was enough to double his career earnings. The road to victory wasn't an easy one, though. It was HPT veteran and Dallas, Texan Matt Bondwho held the edge when heads up play began with a chip lead of nearly two to one. It was Bond's fifth appearance at an HPT final table and he looked poised and ready to take down his first title when heads-up play began.

After a lengthy back and forth battle, Bond found himself with the shorter stack when the two players put all of the chips into the middle on an eight-high flop. Bond's pair of eights were trailing Englert's pocket queens. Neither the turn nor the river improved Bond's hand and he was out in second place, earning him $124,028 for the runner-up finish. Bond says he'll use the funds for investments and to play more poker.

"This is my bread and butter; and HPT is my favorite tour to play for sure," said Bond after adding another six-figure score to his resume. "The structure is the best in the business for this buy-in level."

Denver's John Beauprez also referenced HPT's popular structure as one reason he likes to play HPT events. Beauprez, co-founder of a poker coaching company called Chip Leader Coaching, had a sizable chip lead when play began on Monday. Eventually he found himself short stacked and went all in with king-nine only to be called by Bond's pocket tens. A ten on the flop sealed Beauprez's fate and sent him to the rail in third place with $81,288. He plans to put his newfound earnings toward the purchase of a new home.

Steve Klaus made his way to the final table on a $380 investment after winning his seat through a qualifier earlier in the week. The Denver chiropractor managed to quietly play his way to a fourth-place finish, good for a $56,482 payday.

Poker pro Will Berry needed a top three finish to catapult his career earnings total over the $1 million mark. Unfortunately, he came up two spots short when his pocket sevens failed to hold up against Englert's ace-queen. Berry, who lives in Norman, Oklahoma, intends to invest his $41,045 in fifth-place winnings into the cryptocurrency market.

Past HPT champion Nick Pupillo made a strong run at his second title early in the day. As the tournament progressed, the young poker professional from Gilbert, Arizona, found himself short on chips. Eventually he went all in with pocket jacks only to be called and eliminated by Bond's king-ten. Pupillo collected $31,855 for his efforts.

Freight broker Michael Hinde was one of the shorter stacks when play began. Though he was never able to get anything going, he was able to ladder up a few spots on the payout chart. Hinde, from nearby Monument, went out in seventh place to the tune of $26,769.

Wheat Ridge's Chris Denz and Ozark, Missouri's Jacob Phillips were sent to the rail in eighth and ninth respectively. Denz's eighth-place finish was good for $22,307, far and away the biggest career score on the software salesman's list of tournament cashes. Phillips took home $17,846 for ninth place.

"It's like a bucket list item to get on a final table that's televised," said Denz with a smile.

From here, HPT will make its way to the Eastern Caribbean for a tournament at sea in early March. After that the tour will make stops in Southern Indiana and Pittsburgh before returning to Vegas in early April for the first time since 2014. A full list of upcoming events, along with full schedules and hotel offers, is available at HPTpoker.com.

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