Meeks inherits HPT Greektown title

Dean Hamrick
2008 WSOP Main Event 10th place finisher Dean Hamrick nearly won HPT Greektown.

It was a spur-of-the-moment decision for Pat Meeks to enter the Heartland Poker Tour's Greektown event but it turned out to be the right one as he walked away from the tournament $162,792 richer.

Meeks hails from Walker, Mich., and it took some serious convincing from his friends for him to make the three-hour journey to Greektown Casino in downtown Detroit. He outlasted 374 players to take top honors in the Greektown event, and was understandably exhausted.

"This is all pretty overwhelming right now," said Meeks. "I'm working on a couple hours of sleep and I'm practically unconscious right now. I'm sure it will take a few days to sink in."

Perhaps the most interesting story at the final table was actually the player who finished second. Dean Hamrick, of East Lansing, Mich., busted out of the WSOP Main Event 10th, narrowly missing out on the opportunity to be a part of the November Nine. He has been seen on national TV the past two months and many players were likely feeling bad for the guy whose claim to fame is being the bubble boy in the second-largest poker tournament ever held.

Hamrick proved the poker world hasn't seen the last of him, however, by coming within one player of adding a major poker tournament win to his poker resume.

Meanwhile, Meeks hit two miracle hands to catapult him to victory. In the first hand Meeks was all-in with J T against AA and KK but managed to hit a flush, while in the second Meeks spiked a queen with QQ versus KK. Not a bad time to run hot.

"We just had a feeling," said one of his friends after the finish. "We figured worst case we could just party in Detroit for the night, but this is better."

HPT Greektown would have to be considered an overwhelming success for the tour, as the 374 entrants combined to create a prize pool of $545,646. It was one of the largest tournaments ever held in Michigan.

The Heartland has three more events for the 2008 season starting this coming weekend in Tama, Iowa at Meskwaki Casino. The next two weekends are booked as well with events at Running Aces Card Room in Twin Cities and the year-end finale at Majestic Star Casinos in Gary, Ind.

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