HPT final table dominated by Arizonans

Empire Casino, London

Andreas Foulias rode out a perilous final table to clinch the championship at the Heartland Poker Tour's first-ever stop in Arizona at the Casino Del Sol in Tucson.

With 141 hopefuls offering up their $1,500 for the championship event, the prize pool had reached impressive proportions, totaling $204,118.

The citizens of the Grand Canyon State certainly did their locale proud, with the final table completely comprised of Arizonans.

Foulias, of Gilbert, Ariz., won the Arizona Poker Championships main event earlier this year. He became the latest HPT champion after battling a familiar foe in Don Sjulstad of Phoenix, Ariz.

"I've played poker with Don for 14 years," said Foulias. "We play together a lot at our home casino in Phoenix."

Foulias put his knowledge of his opponent to good use as the final table played out.

After seesawing back and forth with the chip lead, Foulias faced an all-in challenge from Sjulstad. Taking only a very short time to consider his options, Foulias made the call. It was the right one; Foulias' Qc-9c held up over Sjulstad's 8d-6d.

"I knew I had the best hand there," Foulias said. "I've played with him a long time and I know something he doesn't think I know. He has a tell that I remembered noticing 10 years ago."

"Maybe I should have been more patient," Sjulstad noted for his part. "He'd folded every other time when I went over the top of him like that."

The hand crippled Sjulstad, who was left with only $36,000 chips out of more than $2 million in play. Things did, however, remain interesting as Sjulstad doubled-up four times in a row until finally losing when Foulias hit a set of deuces on the deciding hand.

Foulias took the largest part of the prize pool and was followed at the final table by these players:

Place Name Prize
1st Andreas Foulias $56,313
2nd Don Sjulstad $28,157
3rd Todd Lundwall $18,101
4th Ray Yee $14,070
5th Seth Krasne $12,067
6th Chuck Weaver $10,056

The Heartland Poker Tour has quickly become one of the preeminent smaller poker tours in the United States. With stops in Colorado, Iowa, New York and Nevada (among others), the HPT has been able to bring people the opportunity of playing larger buy-in tournaments while helping them rack up the experience to go on to the upper echelons of poker.

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