Fourth time is the charm at HPT for Colo. man

chip stack

Despite being named the Heartland Poker Tour Player of the Year for 2007, James Mutchler was still trying to get a win on the tour under his belt up until last Sunday.

Mutchler had made the final table of three different events on the Heartland Poker Tour last year to earn the Player of the Year title, but none of those final-table appearances had earned him a win.

He hit the tournament trail again this past weekend, heading to Gary, Ind., for the latest stop on the HPT at the Majestic Star Casino. This time it paid off with a win.

"This is so awesome," said Mutchler in an HPT article. "I finally got the monkey off my back."

It's probably a good thing it worked out for him this time around. He made the trip despite having planned to close on a new home the same day the HPT final table was scheduled to take place.

Mutchler told the HPT, "My fiancée and realtor both told me to make plans to be on the final table today. I was all set to fly home Sunday to be back in time for closing on my house. Guess it worked out for me."

To get to that win, Mutchler had to make his way through a playing field of 311 players, but the work was worth it for a big piece of the $603,100 prize pool. For his win, Mutchler got $180,030 of that.

Just behind him was Judi Bilar, who had worked her way back from being the short stack at the final table to ending up in the second-place spot.

"Twenty-five years ago someone told me to quit because I just wasn't very good," Bilar told the HPT. "I took his advice for a long time and started playing again after I retired. Guess I'm getting better."

She pockets $90,015 for her second-place finish. The full final-table results from the event were:

Place Name Prize
1st James Mutchler $180,030
2nd Judi Bilar $90,015
3rd Nicholas Woolworth $54,009
4th Jeff Boehm $42,007
5th Scott Rokita $36,006
6th Frank Rusnak $30,005
7th David Baldwin $21,004
8th Fred Pavlich $18,003
9th Kurt Jewell $13,502

With his win, Mutchler has also been propelled to the top of the HPT's Player of the Year leaderboard once again, giving him a fighting chance at earning the title two years in a row.

The next event on the HPT will take place May 5-11 at the Island Resort Casino in Harris, Mich., with the main event taking place May 11.

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