Scott Eckert wins HPT Deadwood

Scott Eckert
The final table of the 2007 Heartlands Poker Tour event in Deadwood, S.D., at the Lucky Nugget Casino.

Deadwood, S.D., was the site for an old-fashioned poker shootout and when the dust had settled Scott Eckert was the last cowboy standing and the winner of the Heartland Poker Tour stop at the Lucky Nugget Card Club.

The painting contractor from Fargo, N.D., was absolutely thrilled to take down the championship.

"This is terrific," Eckert said after winning the tournament. "I can't tell you how good it feels to finally win something like this."

The Heartland Poker Tour carries a theme of "Real People, Unreal Money" and at least the first half of the slogan certainly rang true in this event. The final table was comprised of a butcher, a painter, a construction manager, a retired sheriff, a poker dealer and a hunting guide.

The action at the final table was fast and furious and it proved to be the shortest in HPT history.

Eckert was a long shot to win because he entered the final table with the short stack. He got a huge break when just a couple of hands into the tournament he shoved on a board of J-9-9 and got a call from James Mutchler of Brighton, Colo. It proved to be a very costly call for Mutchler because he had misread his own hand. He'd thought he had Q-9 when, in fact, he had a feeble Q-8. Eckert had enough of a hand to win the pot and he was suddenly right back into the competition.

Retired sheriff De Glassgow controlled the action early on and built himself a very sizable chip lead. At one point De Glassgow had Eckert on the ropes with A-7 versus A-3 for all of Eckert's chips. A miracle card hit on the river and paired the board meaning it was a split pot.

With three players left action began to heat up and Glassgow got involved in a large pot with Mutchler. The board went 9-8-6 and Mutchler moved all-in holding A-9 for top pair, top kicker. Glassgow instantly called with K-10 looking for a gut-shot straight or an overcard on the turn or the river. Unfortunately for him he missed both chances and was crippled. A few hands later Glassgow was eliminated in third place.

Mutchler had a commanding chip lead and many thought he was destined for his first HPT title. Surprisingly Eckert took the lead for himself just a few hands into heads-up play when his flush dominated Mutchler's straight. Mutchler was eliminated several hands later and Eckert was declared the winner.

"What can I say... I'm really bummed," said Mutchler. "I can't stop thinking about that hand early on when I misread my cards and doubled him (Eckert) up. One of these days I'm going to win one of these things."

It was the third final table for Mutchler at the 2007 HPT. The silver lining for Mutchler is that points he garnered for his second-place finish catapulted him into the lead for the HPT Player of the Year award.

Eckert took home $64,133 plus a prize package worth $3,000 into the year-end HPT Open Championship.

The 2007 season of the HPT is nearing the end; there are only three more events left including Tama, Iowa, on Oct. 28, Tucson, Ariz. in mid-November and the wrap of the year with the HPT Championship Open at Majestic Star Casinos in Gary, Ind.

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