Drake student wins HPT event

Jason Joerling

The Heartland Poker Tour made a stop at the Meskwaki Casino in Tama, Iowa last weekend to lay down some poker action.

More than 750 poker players came out to participate in the qualifiers for the HPT stop, and 171 players ponied up the buy-in for the main event. The result was a $274,089 prize pool for the event.

It doesn't take an economics student to realize that's a pretty good deal for a player who makes the money, but it did take an economics student to win the main event this time around.

Jason Joerling, a student from Drake University, drove an hour north of campus to play in his first-ever No-Limit Texas Hold'em poker tournaments. What he lost in study time he made up for with an $82,227 win.

Joerling turned 21 just a few days before the HPT Meskwaki main event started. He'd gained some tournament experience playing online, but this tournament was his first foray into the live tournament realm.

"I started the final table as the slight chip leader, and I was thinking of nothing less than first place," Joerling said after his win. "This is a really great way to start my live tournament career."

The Iowa event was also filled with a few veteran players from the HPT circuit. Sitting at the final table with Joerling was Mary Jo Belcore-Zogman, who is a recent HPT champion.

Blake Bohn and Quan Le, two poker-playing buddies, also made the four-hour drive from Minneapolis together and found themselves at the final table.

In the end, the experienced players at the table fell victim to Joerling's mission to win. It came down to Bohn versus Joerling, and Joerling's A-2 defeated Bohn's K-J for the win.

The final-table results were:

Place Name Hometown Prize
1st Jason Joerling Shawnee, Kan. $82,227
2nd Blake Bohn Burnsville, Minn. $41,113
3rd John Roth Cedar Falls, Iowa $24,668
4th Martin Faldet Calmar, Iowa $19,186
5th Quan Le Savage, Minn. $16,445
6th Mary Jo Belcore-Zogman McHenry, Ill. $13,704

"I'm still planning on getting to my economy class tomorrow morning," Joerling said. "As for the money, I'm going to be able to pay off my school and invest the rest."

Joerling may have pocketed the biggest part of the prize for the day, but Belcore-Zogman's sixth-place finish has moved her into the lead on the HPT Player of the Year leaderboard. There are only two events left in the 2008 season, which means Belcore-Zogman could become the first female Player of the Year for the HPT.

The HPT will make its next stop at the Running Aces Card Club near St. Paul, Minn. This is the HPT's first stop at the Running Aces, and players will get their shot at the main event there this weekend. Then the HPT will move on to the Majestic Star Casino in Gary, Ind., for the Championship Open.

Related Articles:


Best Poker Sites - Editor`s Pick

Latest Blogs »