Tuesday, October 25, 2016

From $85 Satty to a @HPTPoker Cash

Justin Pitts of Fair Oaks had not played a poker tournament for 10 years - and that one HPT event at the Commerce Casino in LA was his first one ever. A decade passed, and Pitts found himself last month thinking about taking another try at sitting down to a tournament poker table.

"I saw a brochure about the HPT here (at Thunder Valley) and I decided to try it," he said just as the clock flipped from Monday to Tuesday and the Season XII Championship Event moved in to its 21st hour of play.

Go back in time, now, to 11am last Thursday - a $85 HPT Championship Event satellite, where 1-in-8 entries wins a seat into a $350 satellite. Pitts follows through on what he read in that brochure and enters. A few hours later he is picking up his entry into that day's 5pm Monster Stack Multi-Table Satellite with 10 seats guaranteed into the $2500 HPT Season XII Championship Event.

"I got a full house, I collected a lot of chips, and then a lot of lower stacks went out," he said, thinking back on Thursday night's 6 hours of play. Play came to a close and Pitts was one of 17 players who won a seat into the Championships.

Pitts opted to play his $2500 Championship seat on Sunday, Day 1C, the final starting flight of the event. His day was off to a rocky start, but things smoothed out as the 10 hour-long levels of Day 1 play went along.

"I was down to 14,000 chips at one point," he said, "and I bagged 75,000."

His Day1C stack placed Pitts 76/178 and he needed to fade 132 players if his second-ever tournament was to become his first-ever cash.

Pitts spent his entire Monday at Table 2 - with HPT Reno 5th place finisher Marty Gorenc on his right.

"This guy was great, he's a great story," said Gorenc about his tablemate.

Not only did Pitts survive to dinner break, he survived the nearly hour-long bubble ... AND a pay jump to end his HPT Championship Event in 33rd place, and a $6,314 cash.

A $85 investment became a $6,229 profit.

"I've had lots of fun playing," Pitts said, sitting back at an empty poker table after his day came to a close. "I will play here again."