Tom West has won the Heartland Poker Tour Main Event in Thunder Valley after overcoming a relatively inexperienced final table in California.
For Tom West, the fifth tour stop of the freshest Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) season to date was all about redemption.
At the turn of the year West experienced equal measures of pain and pleasure finishing third in the HPT Main Event in Thunder Valley. He picked up $64,676 for that finish. Nick Shkolnik took the first prize of $159,599.
Victory means the $154,590 that West took home to his family is the largest score of his career. His previous best was $126,925 secured when he finished runner-up to Michael Woo in a 2007 LA Poker Classic side event that brought players into the fold in their droves. He also has two World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event cashes to his name.
The beauty of the HPT is its target audience. Whilst they welcome the time-honored pros with open arms, this tour is all about the fresh meat – the gas fitters, electricians and waiters. True to form it was another final table that would give inexperience the chance to shine. Only Craig Gold held a major title, after he won a World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOPC) gold ring at Planet Hollywood last year.
“I feel incredible,” West told the HPT crew after his victory.” It’s hard to express in words how it feels.”
West earned his HPT corn after disposing of Nic Vu in heads-up action. It was a fairly typical hand with Vu moving all-in, in search of a flush draw that never came, and West clinging on to dear life with the best hand.
Thunder Valley will return to the HPT schedule in January, where West will be trying to make it three final tables in a row.
Final Table Results
1st. Tom West – $154,590
2nd. Nic Vu – $94,500
3rd. Randall Smith – $62,642
4th. Minh Nguyen – $43,553
5th. Craig Gold – $32,598
6th. Adam Ghattas – $25,205
7th. David Carey – $20,500
8th. Daniel Hatch – $16,803
9th. Doron Shao – $13,442