Thomas Fuller Wins Title and $116K on HPT

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Black Hawk, CO - Thomas Fuller, former poker pro turned teacher, added $116,242 to his career earnings total Monday evening by winning the Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) Main Event at Golden Gates Casino & Poker Parlour. 

The Louisville, Colorado native outlasted a field of 521 entries to take home the cash and the title. Fuller said in an interview shortly after his victory that he plans to use the winnings towards building a farm with his wife, Melissa.

The final player at the table standing between Fuller and poker glory was Evergreen, Colorado's Terry Harper. After a long heads up battle, the two got the chips into the middle with Fuller holding pocket sevens and Harper having jack-queen. Harper's hand didn't improve and the contractor was sent to the rail with $71,055 for second place.

One of the more entertaining hands at the nationally televised Final Table occurred during three-handed play. Local business owner Dave Hampel had the best of it with pocket aces when all three players got their chips into the middle before the flop. By the end of the hand, Hampel's hand was third best behind Harper's full house and Fuller's flush. Hampel would collect $47,100 for third place.

"I'm already thinking about September," said Hampel, referring to HPT's next scheduled visit to Golden Gates. "It's been a lot of fun. It really has."

Fourth-place finisher Adam Thoutt made the most of his first appearance in an HPT event. The structural steel estimator from Westminster, Colorado started the day with the smallest chip stack but was able to climb the pay ladder to a $32,748 payday.

Shortly before Thoutt made his exit, Ronald Scott was eliminated at the hands of Hampel. Scott, a contracts administrator by trade, listed his total career winnings at the poker tables at $0 coming into the day. He can now add $24,510 to that total after finishing in fifth place. Scott plans to use his winnings to pay off student loans.

Syracuse University student Matthew Moore also had a goose egg listed as his earnings total when the tournament began. The Westminster man would go on to finish in sixth place for a score of $18,951.

Richard Klein was one of the most experienced players at the table. The long-time poker player has won more than $300,000 at the tables over the years. Klein, from nearby Littleton, made a deep run in an HPT event back in 2011, but he's still in search of his first title with the tour. He'll have to wait at least once more as he finished in seventh place, taking home $15,414.

Martial arts school owner James Lee came in with a decent stack of chips, but was never able to get much going. The Eagle, Colorado resident collected $12,634 for eighth place. "It all goes to the family pot," said Lee.

The only player at the start of the day with prior experience under the lights of an HPT Final Table was Nils Bardsley. The Denver man finished sixth back in 2014. He was unable to improve on that performance this time around as he was sent to the rail in ninth place for $10,107.

HPT will return to Golden Gates for another series in mid-September, but not before making stops in Mississippi and Chicagoland first. For a full list of remaining 2016 tour stops, visit HPTpoker.com.

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