Greg Raymer Wins First Stop of HPT in 2020
When the new year began, the Heartland Poker Tour was preparing to kick off its 16th season of live poker tournaments. And it did so at the Ameristar East Chicago, which is actually in Indiana and has become a regular stop for the HPT and its players.
Not only was the turnout impressive for the HPT Main Event, a very familiar name to poker fans – Greg Raymer – won it to capture his fifth HPT title.
HPT Ameristar East Chicago
Season XVI kicked off with a multi-tournament festival at Ameristar East Chicago on January 9. About one week into it, the $1,650 buy-in HPT Main Event got underway.
Season XVI kicks off TOMORROW in Chicagoland. Here’s Thursday’s schedule at @AmeristarEC…
11am: $90 Qualifier into Monster Stack (1 in 5 advance)
2pm: $350 Monster Stack 1A – $200k Guarantee
— Heartland Poker Tour (@HPTPoker) January 8, 2020
The first of three starting days brought 97 players to the tables with 16 surviving with chips. Day 1B added another 172 entrants, and several dozen players made it through. The final starting day delivered with 251 more entries, which set the tournament numbers as follows:
Total players: 520 (554 last year)
Total prize pool: $748,800 ($797,760 last year)
Total paid players: 54
Minimum payout: $3,205
A total of 89 players made it through the starting days to return to play on Day 2. Reginald Roberts had the chip lead at that point. Action then whittle the field down until the money bubble burst. From there, players like Alex Ziskin, Ravi Raghavan, and Rich Alsup cashed. Also, Roberts busted in 49th place.
With the 10th place elimination of Brian Brunner for $12,074, play stopped with the nine final table players. Evan Bethyo was at the top of the leaderboard, with former World Series of Poker Main Event champion and four-time HPT champion Greg Raymer in a distant second place. Bohdan Slyvinskyi was third, followed by Marc Yofon, Matt Schurter, David Gutfreund, Tim Barany, and Dale Hackney. Benjamin Craig was on a very short stack.
Day 3 on January 20 with a lot of action. Bethyo eventually busted Craig in ninth place, and Gutfreund eliminated Hackney. Bethyo was back in action to oust Schurter in seventh, and Yofon sent Slyvinskyi home in sixth. Bethyo then took out Barany in fifth place and Yofon in fourth, while Raymer sent Gutfreund out in third.
Heads-up play began with Bethyo holding 11 million chips to the 4.1 million of Raymer, but the latter quickly doubled to nearly even the stacks. Raymer took the lead, but the two exchanged that position back and forth in an intense match. Ultimately, though, Bethyo was short and risked it with Q-2 on a board of A-3-Q-8. Raymer had 8-3, and a nine on the river ended it.
Greg Raymer topped a field of 520 entries at @AmeristarEC to become the first 5-time HPT champion! Congratulations @FossilMan. He'll collect $171,411 plus a $3,500 championship package for his efforts.
— Heartland Poker Tour (@HPTPoker) January 21, 2020
1st place: Greg Raymer ($171,411)
2nd place: Evan Bethyo ($104,789)
3rd place: David Gutfreund ($69,462)
4th place: Marc Yofon ($48,295)
5th place: Tim Barany ($36,147)
6th place: Bohdan Slyvinskyi ($27,949)
7th place: Matt Schurter ($22,732)
8th place: Dale Hackney ($18,633)
9th place: Benjamin Craig ($14,906)
Raymer was already the leader in HPT history with four Main Event victories through the years, but he solidified that position by winning a record fifth title. “It feels great,” he told a reporter. “Every one’s more special than the last.”
Rest of Season XVI on Tap
In just a few days, the next stop on the 2020 HPT will take place on the Symphony of the Seas, a cruise ship in partnership with Card Player Cruises. The rest of the season is scheduled as follows:
January 25-February 1: HPT on the High Seas in the Caribbean ($1,100 Main Event)
February 5-17: Golden Gates Casino in Denver, Colorado ($1,650 ME)
February 13-24: Hollywood Casino St. Louis in Missouri ($1,650 ME)
March 5-15: Hollywood Casino Toledo ($500 Mini Series ME)
April 30-May 12: Ameristar East Chicago ($1,650 ME)
More stops will be announced as the year progresses.