The Heartland Poker Tour made a stop at the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel, & Tower in Las Vegas for its HPT Stratosphere $1,650 Main Event. The event was widely attended with 441 entries vying to get best dibs on the $638,655 prize pool.In the end, Las Vegas-based technical advisor John Bunch outlasted the field to come away victorious, winning the title and the accompanying $150,081 in first place money.
It was tough sledding for Bunch, who had to navigate his way through a tough final table that included poker pros Ryan Laplante and Dan Sindelar. The latter recently finished 7th in the World Series of Poker Main Event, further highlighting Bunch’s impressive accomplishment.
The final table started with a bang with the elimination of Ben Palmer, who had to meet the unfortunate acquaintance of Laplante. Sindelar was the next to go when his all-in shove against Joey Brown in Level 26 sent him home in 8th place.
From there, players fell by the wayside one after another. In fact, it only took two levels before the final table was whittled down to the last three players. Peter Nigh, Ryan Tosoc, Paul McCaffrey, and Gary Bolden all big the door, setting up a three-way showdown between Bunch, Laplante, and Brown.
After a few rounds of careful action, it was Brown who seized control of the action, booting out Laplante for third place and seizing a significant chip lead over Bunch. But Bunch settled down and, slowly but surely, regained control of the stack before the inevitable final hand.
With a Qd9d hand, Brown opened the action for 275,000, forcing a call from Bunch. When the flop of Jh10c9h hit, Bunch checked to Brown, who proceeded to bet 325,000. Bunch check-raised to 875,000, eliciting a 4.205-million, all-in push from Brown.
With a straight made from the flop, Bunch dutifully called and when the turn and the river went belly-up and showed nothing, Bunch had his title won.
Final Table Results
1st. John Bunch – $150,081
2nd. Joey Brown $92,605
3rd. Ryan Laplante $60,672
4th. Gary Bolden $42,151
5th. Paul McCaffrey $31,294
6th. Ryan Tosoc $24,269
7th. Peter Nigh $21,012
8th. Dan Sindelar $17,244
9th. Ben Palmer $14,050