Richard Monroe Defeats HPT’s Biggest Field

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Richard Monroe Defeats HPT’s Biggest Field

Fifth Consecutive Million-Dollar Prize Pool at Golden Gates

Black Hawk, COHeartland Poker Tour’s annual visit to Golden Gates Casino & Poker Parlour in Black Hawk, Colorado is typically the tour’s biggest event of  the year.  Despite massive flooding in the area, the latest event did not disappoint.  The field swelled to 716 entries and the prize pool surpassed a million dollars for the fifth consecutive stop at Golden Gates.  By late Monday, local retiree Richard Monroe came out on top for $235,494. 

The 62-year-old from Sedalia, Colorado took down his final opponent on the 100th hand of the nationally-televised Final Table.   In the final showdown, Monroe turned two pair while Alex Greenblatt, a 22-year-old student from Atherton, California, had middle pair with an open-ended straight draw. The river was no help to Greenblatt who collected $145,898 for his second-place effort.

Heavy rains that closed roads and delayed flights did not keep players from descending on the tiny mountain town.  Several notable players made the trip including pros Kathy Liebert, Cyndy Violette, and Greg “Fossilman” Raymer, who didn’t finish in the money.  Bernard Lee picked up $8,777 in 16th place before providing live commentary at the Final Table.

Keith Love started the day as the chip leader looking to improve on his second-place HPT finish two years ago. He fell short, finishing in third-place when his ace-three was unable to improve against Monroe's pocket deuces. The marketing professional from Denver collected $95,803.

Also making a repeat appearance was David Gutfreund of Chicago. He was back for more after finishing sixth at HPT’s last stop just a couple of weeks ago.  He progressed to fifth place after Greenblatt eliminated him with a pair of aces. He adds $48,918 to the $28K he won last month. 

"Playing on TV will be new for me,” said Garth Thompson, an airline captain from Fort Collins, Colorado, “I hope I can tune it out and just play my game." Thompson was the first to be eliminated when he moved all-in with ace-king on an eight-high flop and was called by Greenblatt who held pocket aces. The turn and river did not help Thompson who collected $21,408 in ninth place.

Runner-up Greenblatt cleared the path for Monroe to claim the title by eliminating all but one opponent himself.  Matthew Colvin was eliminated in fourth place when he ran his ace-deuce into Greenblatt's ace-king. Greenblatt flopped two pair and that was enough to eliminate Colvin of Dallas, Texas in fourth place for $66,901.

He also took out Ian Glycenfer of Fort Collins, Colorado.  The 24-year-old met his fate when his flopped set of nines met a queen on the river for Greenblatt. Glycenfer collected $37,465 for his sixth-place finish.

Greenblatt ended the tournament for Kevin Eyster of Denver and Kenneth Cordova of Thornton, Colorado.  Eyster moved all in with middle pair but was far behind the pocket kings that belonged to Greenblatt. He was unable to improve on the turn or river, sending him to the rail in seventh place for $21,363. Cordova was looking for his king-queen to catch against Greenblatt's ace-ten. The ace on the flop was unwelcome and the turn and river were of no use.  Cordova collected $26,225 in eighth place.

"I really like the HPT because they get big fields, a lot of fun people to play with, and have a good structure," said Greenblatt. 

Fields continue to grow on the tour in its ninth season.  New expansion on the West Coast could match the field sizes in Colorado, said HPT Director of Operations Jen Mastrud.  Over the next three weeks, HPT heads to California for back-to-back events at The Commerce Casino, followed by Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Sacramento and Club One Casino in Fresno.

After back-to-back success, David Gutfreund has some advice for HPT, “The new slogan should be, ‘if this shmuck can make a Final Table, why aren't you playing?"