The Heartland Poker Tour’s most lucrative location is the Golden Gates Resort in Black Hawk, Colorado, featuring prize pools over $1,000,000 on each of their last six visits. The streak continued for a seventh straight trip this past week as a field of 686 entrants created a prizepool of $1,008,420. The final table featured three players making a return visit to the HPT final table at Golden Gates but it was Aurora, Colorado deli owner Nader Wahdan – with only one previous tournament result – earning the victory good for $226,891.
Several notable names headed to Black Hawk looking for their piece of the seven-figure prize pool. HPT Player of the Year contender Stan Jablonski missed the money, along with a chance to gain ground on current HPT POY leader Aaron Massey. Notables making the money included Chris Tryba (21st), Bryan Devonshire (24th) and Greg Raymer (57th).
When the final table commenced, here’s how the final nine were situated:
Seat 1: Phil Mader – 2,025,000
Seat 2: Nader Wahdan – 3,245,000
Seat 3: Colin York – 1,325,000
Seat 4: Matthew Schierenberg – 3,485,000
Seat 5: Edith Mortellaro – 860,000
Seat 6: John Sacha – 2,395,000
Seat 7: Adam Zimowski – 3,670,000
Seat 8: Nils Bardley – 1,675,000
Seat 9: Chad Leasure – 1,890,000
The first elimination at the final table happened only five hands into play as Edith Mortellaro, a sixth place finisher at the HPT Golden Gates stop in April 2011 saw her TV time come to an abrupt end. Mortellaro, the short stack as play resumed, opened from middle position with AT as Phil Mader called from the big blind holding J T. On a flop of K 4 3, Mader checked his flush draw and called when Mortellaro shoved. Mortellaro remained ahead when the T hit the turn, but the 7 on the river completed Mader’s flush to send Mortellaro to the rail.
Over an hour later, John Sacha – victorious at Golden Gates in 2009 – saw his attempt at winning a second HPT title fall by the wayside. Sacha, Wahdan and Zimowski saw a flop of Q T 9 as Sacha shoved with Q T for top two pair as Zimowski called with A J for the open-ended straight draw as Wahdan stepped aside. Zimowski added a flush draw when the 2 appeared on the turn. The J on the river sealed Sacha’s fate as he exited in eighth.
The next elimination wouldn’t take as long, as Colin York was next to head to the cashier. Nader Wahdan opened from middle position as York flatted from the hi-jack. Zimowski then three-bet from the button as Wahdan four-bet, York shoved as Zimowski laid down his hand and Wahdan called. York held A A, well ahead of Wahdan’s A K. York improved to two pair when the flop came down JJ2, the turn was the Q giving Wahdan a gutshot, which he hit when the T on the river to send York out in seventh place. York, a runner-up at Golden Gates in February, needed a top-two finish to pass Massey in the HPT POY standings. Instead, he moves past Jablonski in the standings with the result.
Nader Wahdan moved into the chip lead after the York elimination, as Phil Mader and Nils Bardsley held the two shortest stacks at the table. They faced off in the next elimination hand as Mader opened from under the gun as Bardsley shoved from the small blind. Mader held A K as Bardsley was flipping for his tournament life with 9 9. The A 7 5 flop moved Mader in front and Bardsley was unable to improve as the 5 turn and 3 river sent Bardsley out in sixth.
Matthew Schierenberg started as the chip leader, but couldn’t get much going, finishing in fifth. Schierenberg moved all-in from the cutoff with T8 as Zimowski snap-called with A Q. Hopes of a double-up were extinguished quickly when Zimowski made a straight on the KJT flop. Schierenberg was drawing dead when the 6 arrived on the turn and the irrelevant T completed the hand leaving four at the final table.
Adam Zimowski has been on a tear recently, making the final table at each of his last four cashes, including an eighth place finish at HPT East Chicago. Unfortunately for Zimowski, the good fortune was about to end. Phil Mader kicked off the action with a raise as Wahdan and Zimowski called from the small and big blinds respectively. On a flop of A Q T, Wahdan checked, Zimowski pushed his chips into the middle and Mader folded. Wahdan held K T for bottom pair as Zimowski turned over K7 for a flush draw. The A completed Zimowski’s flush but Wahdan made two pair, improving to a full house when he spiked the T on the river . Zimowski would settle for fourth place money as Wahdan widened his lead.
Phil Mader earned his biggest cash since finished 43rd at the 2013 WSOP Main Event when he was eliminated by Chad Leasure, turning his $200 satellite into his first live tournament cash. In a battle of the blinds between the two short stacks, Leasure limped in the small blind with K K and quickly called when Mader shoved from the big blind with A8. The board ran out K J 8 5 9 giving Wahdan a three to one chip lead heads-up.
Undaunted by the chip disadvantage, Leasure chipped away at Wahdan’s stack, eventually taking the lead when Leasure’s turned set had Wahdan drawing dead. Leasure’s momentum lasted about 15 hands when Wahdan regained the chip lead. An opening raise by Leasure was met by a three-bet from Wahdan. When Leasure moved all-in with AJ, Wahdan called for his tournament life with 9 9. Wahdan made a set on the 9 3 2 flop, but Leasure picked up outs on the 5 turn. Leasure couldn’t make his straight as the 2 paired the board to give Wahdan a nine to one chip lead over Leasure. Two hands later, Wahdan won the rest of Leasure’s chips. Leasure shoved with Q 4 as Wahdan called with T 7. The A 9 6 flop gave Wahdan straight and flush draws, but Leasure remained in front when the dealer put the K on the turn. But once again, the river was kind to Wahdan as the 4 completed the flush for his triumph and six-figure score.
The Heartland Poker Tour now heads to California as they continue their “Gold Rush” series with a visit to the Commerce Casino September 18-22, featuring a guaranteed prize pool of $500,000.
Heartland Poker Tour Golden Gates Final Table Results
- Nader Wahdan – $226,891
- Chad Leasure – $140,170
- Phil Mader – $91,867
- Adam Zimowski – $63,833
- Matthew Schierenberg – $46,387
- Nils Bardsley – $36,001
- Colin York – $30,253
- John Sacha – $25,211
- Edith Mortellaro – $20,168
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