Last Entrant is Last Man Standing on Heartland Poker Tour

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Last Entrant is Last Man Standing on Heartland Poker Tour

Commerce, CA - Jonathan Chen was the final player to register for the Heartland Poker Tour Main Event at The Commerce Casino this weekend. When it was all said and done, he was also the last player with chips. Chen finished off a tough field at the nationally-televised Final Table on Monday to earn $159,780 and an HPT title.

The recent college grad has been playing poker professionally but had planned to get a new job because, "my mom's making me." It took the new champ only sixteen hands to defeat film editor David Rosenbloom. When the two got all of the chips in the middle Chen held top pair and Rosenbloom had a straight draw. The straight never came and Rosenbloom was eliminated in second place for $112,010. "I'm very happy with how it all turned out," said the runner-up from Los Angeles.

Poker pro Jeff Madsen may have had the most at stake when the day began. Madsen, who won this event in May, needed a top-two finish in order to take the lead in the Player of the Year race. He was in good shape when he went all-in with pocket aces against the ace-queen of Chen in a massive pot. However, the board brought two queens and Madsen's quest to repeat was thwarted, sending him packing in eighth place. The Los Angeles native earned $21,300 for his efforts. "I'd like to play more events on HPT," Madsen said. "It's a good mix of recreational players but also good players. I just felt very comfortable here."

Peter Hengsakul reiterated that thought. "Everyone's super friendly. It's definitely the friendliest tour of all the major tours," remarked the real estate investor from Pasadena. Hengsakul had made one previous Final Table with HPT, finishing in eighth place at Commerce last September. He was able to improve on that performance this time around with a fifth-place finish for $39,990.

Third-place finisher Danny Geyser plans to use his newfound winnings to purchase a new car. The software engineer from Redondo Beach should have plenty of options after earning $72,020.

Players who entered the Main Event at The Commerce Casino hailed from all over the country, but each of the elite nine at the Final Table call California home. The tournament saw 583 entrants build a prize pool of $845,350. 

Stan Jablonski set a landmark over the weekend, finishing in 40th place for $4,230 to move ahead of Craig Casino for most career cashes on HPT. Other notables in the field included David "ODB" Baker and last year's Gold Rush champion, Shawn Motameni.

Commerce is the second of four California stops to make up the second annual Gold Rush Series. Players compete for points in preliminary events and the Main Event at each stop. The player with the most points at the end of the series earns a sponsorship package to play HPT's Main Event in Las Vegas in November. Learn more about the Gold Rush here.

Ron Jenkins of Los Angeles became the third player knocked out at the Final Table when his king-queen was unable to outdraw the ace-king of Hengsakul. Jenkins, a real estate broker, collected $26,710 for his weekend's work.

One of the favorites coming into the nationally-televised table on Monday was Chris Hyden. The poker pro felt very good about his chances of coming out on top. "Commerce is kind of a home for me in a sense. I'm very comfortable here," said the poker pro from Laguna Beach. Hyden's run for the title came to an end in a classic race all in with ace-king against Chen's pocket queens. The queens held and Hyden was sent to the rail in sixth place with $32,040.

Shortly after Hyden's departure, Bruce Kramer made his exit. Kramer finished in fourth place and walked away with $53,340. The owner of a commercial construction business enjoyed his time at the venue. "Commerce Casino is excellent," said the Westminster, California man. "The staff here is perfect."

The only true short stack coming into the day belonged to Gary Hawkins of Long Beach. He knew he'd have to get lucky early on. Unfortunately, the poker gods were not on his side. The event consultant was the first to be eliminated, earning $15,980 for ninth place. 

HPT now heads to Lincoln, California for the third leg of the Gold Rush Series. From there, the tour returns to Fresno to crown the Gold Rush champion before heading east to Daytona Beach, Florida. See a full schedule of upcoming events at