Eric Salazar Triumphs in HPT Daytona Beach Main Event

Eric Salazar is the new HPT Daytona Beach Main Event champion

Eric Salazar took his lifetime winnings to $650,000 this week when he triumphed in the HPT Daytona Beach Main Event. The $98,476 top prize is Salazar’s second-largest score, weighing in behind the $172,431 he locked up in Cherokee in August.

The Heartland Poker Tour Daytona Beach $1,100 Main Event attracted a field of 445-players and paid out the top 45. Nobody wanted to finish in 46th place and burst the money bubble, but someone had to. That someone was Carlos Guerrero.

Day 2 started with 79 players in the hunt for the title, Guerrero among them. With 46 players remaining and blinds at 6,000/12,000/12,000a, Guerrero moved all-in for 66,000 with king-queen. Miguel Hernandez called and revealed a pair of kings in the hole. Those cowboys stood up, Guerrero busted in 46th place and the surviving players locked up at least $2,355.

HPT Daytona Beach Main Event: Salazar Marches Towards the Final Table

Those 45 in-the-money players were reduced to the final table of nine over the next five hours. Players such as Maurice Hawkins, Tony Nguyen, Michael Rossitto, and Tony Miles fell short of a final table berth.

Luke Graham not only reached the final table but did so as the overall chip leader. Graham has almost $1.2 million in live poker tournament cashes dating back to 2011. Salazar navigated his way to the finale with 1,680,000 chips, enough for fourth place in the overnight standings.

HPT Daytona Beach Final Table Seat Draw

Seat Player Chips
1 Ronnie Dowdy 800,000
2 Arthur Boatman 500,000
3 Martin Borras 2,855,000
4 Michael Rosenberg 870,000
5 Tom Nguyen 690,000
6 Paul Chung 1,785,000
7 Eric Salazar 1,680,000
8 Miguel Hernandez 665,000
9 Luke Graham 3,505,000

Miguel Hernandez busted within minutes of Day 3 commencing. Several of the players at the final table started the day with a short stack and needed to make moves to improve their position. Hernandez made such a move with an all-in bet with ace-jack. Graham, unfortunately for Hernandez, woke up with the dominating ace-king in his hand. Neither player improved on the community cards and Hernandez busted in ninth-place.

Hernandez gained some company on the rail when Arthur Boatman fell in eighth-place moments later. Boatman chose ace-king to move all-in with for his last 15 big blinds, a hand more than worthy of a shove. Salazar made the call with a pair of red aces and Boatman was in a world of pain. The five community cards kept Salazar’s bullets the best and the player count reduced by one.

The tournament lost another player almost immediately after Boatman’s exit when Tom Nguyen ran out of steam. Nguyen was all-in for his last 11 big blinds with ace-seven of diamonds against the pocket nines of Martin Borras. An ace on the flop looked to have gifted Nguyen a much-needed double, but a nine on the river sealed his fate.

Salazar Finds Aces Again!

Paul Chung saw his tournament come to an abrupt end just as Level 29 began. Chung jammed from the button for 13 big blinds with ten-eight and Salazar again found aces. No help arrived for Chung and he handed his 1,300,000 chips over to Salazar.

Graham was the next to fall despite being the chip leader with six players remaining. Again, it was Salazar who woke up with a monster hand to send an opponent the rail. Graham raised to 275,000 with blinds at 60,000/120,000/120,000a, Salazar three-bet to 635,000 before Graham moved all-in. Salazar snap-called and showed pocket kings. Graham could only muster a pair of jacks. Those kings held and Salazar soared into the lead.

While Salazar’s kings held, those in the hand of Borras were cracked. Ronnie Dowdy made a move with ace-three for 11.5 big blinds from the button and Borras called off his 9.5 bigs from the small blind with pocket kings. An ace on the turn gave Dowdy the lead with a three on the turn extending that advantage. The river had to be a king to keep Borras alive, but it was a five and he busted in fourth-place.

Dowdy pinned his hopes of a revival on a lowly pair of fives when Michael Rosenberg shoved on him. Unfortunately for Dowdy, Rosenberg held pocket tens. Those tens remained best and the tournament progressed to the heads-up stage.

Neck and Neck Going Into Heads-Up

The chip stacks of the heads-up players were almost even at the start of the one-on-one battle, but matters soon changed. Rosenberg won the opening exchanges, but Salazar won a massive coinflip with queen-jack versus sixes to take a near 10-to-1 lead.

Rosenberg fought back valiantly, but Salazar emerged victoriously. An all-in bet of 3,200,000 by Rosenberg with queen-ten was called by Salazar holding pocket threes. The dealer fanned the 8c-6d-5h-8h-3d board, gifting Salazar a full house and resigning Rosenberg to second-place.

It has been an incredible few months for Salazar. A third-place finish in the HPT East Chicago Main Event yielded $74,456. He followed that up with a $172,431 prize for a second-place finish in a $10,000 WSOP Global Casino Championship. Now he has a HPT title, $98,476 and a $3,500 seat to the HTP Championship Event at the end of the season.

HPT Daytona Beach Final Table Results

Place Player Prize
1 Eric Salazar $98,476
2 Michael Rosenberg $60,797
3 Ronnie Dowdy $40,460
4 Martin Borras $28,044
5 Luke Graham $21,193
6 Paul Chung $16,484
7 Tom Nguyen $13,701
8 Arthur Boatman $11,346
9 Miguel Hernandez $9,591
Matthew Pitt

Matthew Pitt

If it’s something you can play online for real money, chances are Matthew knows a bit about it. He’s been writing about slots, craps and poker for the better part of the last decade. He’s written for PokerNews, PartyPoker and many other respected online gambling websites during the last nine years.

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