Heartland Poker Tour completed 2013 with their 20th stop of Season IX, making it a record year for the televised poker tour. The recent stop in Gary, Indiana also pushed HPT past the $50 million mark in prize money awarded to date. Over $152k of it went to the latest champ, Edward Ochana of Elgin, Illinois.
The heads-up battle between accomplished pro Aaron Massey and Ochana lasted ten hands. Ochana started with the lead and maintained his control, only allowing Massey to win four hands during their match. Massey moved allin when the board showed a pair of twos, a nine, an eight, and an ace. Ochana called after asking for a count and thinking for a couple of minutes. Massey paired his eight, but Ochana paired a nine. Massey collected $94,082 while Ochana scored $152,447.
Ochana and Massey were joined by a handful of notable players at the Final Table. Past champion Nick Schwarmann started things off right like a seasoned pro. He was responsible for the downfall of 29-yearold pro Ryan Olson of West Chester, Illinois. Olson started the day towards the middle of the pack, but became the first elimination when Schwarmann got a majority of his stack. Olson collected $14,274.
Nemesio Alegado managed to squeeze every bit of play that he could from his Final Table starting stack. Alegado came into the Final Table as the short stack but managed to get himself all the way to a sixth-place finish. His final hand did not involve much theatrics as he got all-in with king-ten against Joseph Hebda’s ace-queen. He did turn an inside straight draw but was unable to finish it off on the river sending the Rolling Meadows, Illinois native home with $24,656.
Hebda only held onto his newly acquired chips for one hand. The 28-yearold professional poker player was eliminated in the next hand when he got all-in with pocket kings against Aaron Massey’s pocket aces. One of the two remaining kings did not appear on the board for Hebda, eliminating him in fifth place for $31,793.
After back-to-back eliminations, the next knock-out didn’t come for another forty hands. It finally happened when Schwarmann moved all-in and was called by Ochana. Schwarmann’s king-jack was ahead with Ochana holding king-ten. A ten came on the flop to flip the lead and Schwarmann was unable to improve. He adds a fourth-place finish for $42,823 to his HPT resume, which includes a first and second place.
Schwarmann was not the only player to have previous experience under the lights at an HPT Final Table. Imari “Doc” Love finished in fourth place in Gary, Indiana in 2011. The 39-year-old stock analyst from Chicago improved on his best career HPT finish by one spot for $61,640. Earlier in the day, Love eliminated new father George Dietz of Chicago in eighth place for diaper money totaling $17,519.
John Grace started the Final Table second in chips but was eliminated in seventh place when he ran his king-queen into the pocket queens held by Aaron Massey. The Ohio retiree takes home $21,347, his highest career cash.
HPT kicks off their milestone 10th season aboard a Card Player cruise next month. Two dozen stops fill the calendar so far, making 2014 another record year for the tour. Some dates and locations have already been posted at HPTpoker.com.
MAJESTIC STAR CASINO
HEARTLAND POKER TOUR
EVENT 7 12/5/13
NO LIMIT HOLD’EM
BUY-IN $1,500 + $150
PRIZE POOL $648,840
1. Edward Ochana . . $152,477
2. Aaron Massey . . . . . $94,082
3. Imari Love . . . . . . . $61,640
4. Nick Schwarmann . $42,823
5. Joseph Hebda . . . . . $31,793
6. Nemesio Alegado . . $24,656
7. John Grace . . . . . . . $21,347
8. George Diezt . . . . . . $17,519
9. Ryan Olson . . . . . . . $14,274