Heartland Poker Tour Hits Million Dollar Mark Again

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Heartland Poker Tour Hits Million Dollar Mark Again

Black Hawk, CO For the seventh consecutive time, Heartland Poker Tour surpassed the $1 million mark with its Main Event prize pool at Golden Gates Casino & Poker Parlour. In the end, it was deli owner Nader Wahdan who defeated the field of 686 entrants for the massive payday of $226,891.

Wahdan, of Aurora, Colorado, found a tough opponent in eventual runner-up Chad Leasure. After taking most of his chips two hands earlier, the final hand saw Wahdan's ten-seven outdraw Leasure's queen-four for the victory.

After starting the day near the bottom of the pack, Leasure strategically played his way to the second-place finish for a score of $140,170. The Colorado Springs native made his way to Monday's Final Table on an investment of just $200. Denver's Nils Bardsley also found his seat among the final nine on a small investment. He spent just $380 on a qualifier entry and managed to parlay that into a payday of $36,001 for his sixth-place finish. The retiree's pocket nines fell to the ace-king of Phil Mader.

Mader later moved his remaining chips to the middle holding ace-eight and was called by Leasure with pocket kings. An ace never came and Mader was sent home with $91,867 for a weekend's worth of work.The farmer from Grand Island, Nebraska enjoyed his time in Black Hawk. "It's great," he said. "It's a really enjoyable place."

Denver surgeon John Sacha is no stranger to the lights and cameras of a Final Table. Sacha was hoping to repeat his victory in Black Hawk five years ago. The past HPT champ was never able to get anything going, walking out with $25,211 in eighth place.

Many big names made their way to Golden Gates for what is often HPT's largest event of the year. Tour regulars Craig Casino and Stan Jablonski were both eliminated before the money bubble on Sunday. Former world champion and HPT Player of the Year, Greg "Fossilman" Raymer finished in 57th place for $3,630. Raymer also commentated the live stream of the event online Monday afternoon.

Player of the Year hopeful Colin York had a lot riding on the outcome Monday. A top two finish would give him the lead in the POY standings. "I've been trying quite hard," the Black Hawk native said of his efforts to become the POY. "To win it would be a major accomplishment for me. I'd be proud to represent Heartland Poker Tour." Unfortunately, the professional poker player's pocket aces were unable to hold up against the ace-king of Wahdan and he was sent to the rail in seventh place for $30,253.

This was the second Final Table appearance in a row for Adam Zimowski. The Racine, Wisconsin resident started the day as the chip leader and was able to best his eighth-place finish in last month's event at Ameristar Casino East Chicago. In the end, his king-seven was outdrawn by Wahdan's king-ten. Zimowski exited in fourth place for $63,833.

Lakewood, Colorado's Matthew Schierenberg has big plans for his fifth-place earnings. The anesthetist says he will spend some of the $46,387 in Vegas later this week celebrating his birthday with his wife.

Edith Mortellaro of Lakewood, Colorado took sixth place in HPT's Black Hawk event back in 2011. She was unable to improve on that finish this time around as she was the first elimination of the day. The ninth-place finish garnered her $20,168. She enjoyed the weekend and plans to return in the future. "HPT does a wonderful job," she said. "They always have."

"It's an awesome tournament," agreed the winner, Wahdan. "The structure's beautiful. I love it."

Next up for Heartland Poker Tour is a string of three stops in California, all of which are a part of the second annual Gold Rush Series. In all, there are ten stops left on the 2014 schedule. Information for each remaining tour date is available at HPTpoker.com.