HPT: James Carroll Wins $104,253 at the Palms in Las Vegas

James Carroll won the HPT event at the Palms, earning the biggest live score of his career. (Photo c/o HPT)

The Heartland Poker Tour’s stop in Las Vegas was bound to attract a number of local pros, but they couldn’t have asked for a much better final table that the one that they got. There was a 2012 bracelet winner in Randy Ohel, major final table experience in Trevor Pope (2012 WPT Championship) and a local pro in Dan Alspach with over $1 million in lifetime tournament earnings.

When the final card hit the felt, however, it was James Carroll claiming victory at HPT Nevada, winning over $104,000 for his victory at the Palms. He defeated Mike Ryan heads-up and claimed three of the five eliminations at the final table, putting on a fairly dominant showing to record the biggest cash of his career and push his own lifetime winnings to over $1 million.

A number of other Vegas-based pros fell just short of this final table as well, making the money but failing to make as deep a run as they had hoped. This group included Eric Froehlich (11th), David “ODB” Baker (17th), Allyn Shulman (20th), Jeremy Ausmus (23rd), David Williams (24th) and Mandy Baker (28th).

It took 35 hands at the final table to lose the first player, and Alspach was the unfortunate one to go. After getting his pocket aces cracked by Vic Gupta’s pocket jacks to cripple his stack, Alspach doubled his short stack once through Ryan with A 6 against 2 2, though he was still critically short. He open shoved 288,000 from the cutoff at 15,000/30,000 and Ryan called to put Alspach at risk. Alspach’s K 4 was no match for Ryan’s A J as the board ran out A 9 6 9 6 to put an end to Alspach’s tournament in sixth place.

Ohel was the first to fall at Carroll’s hands at this final table, three-betting all-in over a raise from Gupta only to run into a four-bet from Carroll. Ohel’s A 8 was dominated by Carroll’s A T, and nothing on the Q 9 4 T 2 board could change that, eliminating Ohel in fifth. Pope would lose a flip for his tournament life against Gupta shortly thereafter, his A J unable to catch up to Gupta’s 5 5 as the board ran out 9 6 5 T 5 to give Gupta quads and send Pope out in fourth place.

That feeling wouldn’t last long for Gupta, though, as just three hands later he found himself all-in against Carroll. Gupta opened to 120,000 from the button and Carroll called to bring a flop of K 7 6. Carroll lead out for 175,000, Gupta raised all-in and Carroll called, and it was bad news for Gupta. He had been badly outflopped by Carroll, whose K J was now well ahead of Gupta’s J J, which now had just one out to hit. The A gave Carroll the flush and sealed it, eliminating Gupta in third and setting up a heads-up match between Carroll and Ryan.

Though he managed one double up in their 52 hand heads-up match, with A K against Carroll’s 5 5, Ryan could simply not overcome the chip disadvantage. On the final hand of the tournament, Ryan opened to 225,000, Carroll raised enough to put Ryan all-in and Ryan called, putting his tournament on the line. It looked bleak for Ryan, who had A T against Carroll’s A K, and he could not hit enough of the board, which ran out 9 4 2 9 A to give Carroll the same two-pair with a better kicker, and thusly the title.

Here are the final table payouts for HPT Nevada.

  1. James Carroll – $104,253
  2. Michael Ryan – $58,669
  3. Vic Gupta – $37,818
  4. Trevor Pope – $32,707
  5. Randy Ohel – $25,144
  6. Dan Alspach – $20,238
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Tim Fiorvanti

Tim Fiorvanti graduated from St. John's University with a B.S. in Journalism in 2008. After several years in the industry, he started working for BLUFF in the summer of 2010. He worked his way up at BLUFF and joined full time as a Senior Writer in April of 2012. Fiorvanti now serves as the Managing Editor of BLUFF. He's a tortured Mets and Jets fan, along with several other frustrating allegiances, but he's also a two-time defending BLUFF Fantasy Football Champion.
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