Matt Paten Wins HPT St. Charles to Deny Craig Casino Third Title


On Monday, Heartland Poker Tour Ameristar St. Charles wrapped up, and the king of the HPT fell just short of his third title. Craig Casino, the all-time HPT money leader with over $700,000 in cashes, made it to heads-up play but fell at the hands of local player Matt Paten, who claimed $110,386 in prize money.

Casino had to settle for padding his lead over Shawn Roberts by adding $69,882 to his total, putting him about $230K clear of his nearest competitor and putting distance between him and players like Cord Garcia, Alex Greenblatt and Greg Raymer, who are all among the top HPT money winners.

Official Final Table Results

Place Player Hometown Prize
1 Matt Paten St. Charles, MO $110,386
2 Craig Casino Winfield, IL $69,882
3 Tom Morse Chesterfield, IL $46,796
4 Jeff Cremer Jefferson City, MO $32,637
5 Paul McGuire St. Louis, MO $24,478
6 Brock McCoy St. Charles, MO $19,198
7 TM Williams Indianapolis, IN $16,223
8 Donald Forshey Desoto, KS $13,439
9 Derek Schroeder St. Charles, MO $11,567

The $1,650 tournament drew 338 entries and paid the top 36. Sal DiCarlo, Michael Hahn, and Roberts were among the notables making the money but all fell before the final table.

Casino advanced to his 11th HPT final table and went into the final nine second in chips, according to the live updates.

Tom Morse, who won this event earlier this year, had the lead and he padded that advantage by eliminating Derek Schroeder early on, turning an ace with ace-king against pocket kings.

Morse looked well on his way to a repeat win, but Casino put a major dent in his plans with a huge cooler. They saw a board of {4-}{8-}{j-}{7-}{7-}, with Morse holding sevens full of eights and Casino {j-}{j-} for top boat. All the money went in on the river and Casino doubled to 1.7 million at 15,000/30,000/5,000 while Morse fell to a still-hefty 3.1 million.

Morse got back on track by winning a race against Ted Forshey, and Casino then busted TM Williams in seventh. A short-stacked Brock McCoy followed in sixth.

Five-handed, Paten was the shortest stack with about 20 big blinds at one point but chipped up and then found a huge double with {a-Spades}{a-Hearts} against the {j-Clubs}{j-Spades} of Jeff Cremer. That put Paten over 4.1 million at 30,000/60,000/10,000, giving him the chip lead.

Casino busted a short-stacked Paul McGuire with {a-Hearts}{q-Hearts} against {a-Diamonds}{2-Diamonds} to move into the lead himself.

After Cremer lost the last of his chips, Casino shoved all in on a board of {j-Hearts}{5-Hearts}{9-Diamonds}{7-Diamonds} against Morse. Morse called with {j-Diamonds}{10-Diamonds} for top pair and a combo draw but needed improvement as Casino had two pair with {j-Clubs}{9-Hearts}. All of Morse’s outs bricked as the {a-Hearts} arrived. Left with crumbs, he bowed out in third.

Paten was ahead nearly 3-1 to start heads-up play. Casino was hungry for that third title though and got a dream {4-Hearts}{k-Spades}{6-Hearts} flop while holding {6-Clubs}{4-Clubs}. He doubled through Paten, who couldn’t get away from {k-Hearts}{3-Diamonds}, and that left the two about even.

Casino then flopped another monster when he hit a set of sixes on an {8-Clubs}{k-Clubs}{6-Spades}{2-Diamonds}{4-Diamonds} board. All of the money went in on the river, but Paten had hit a straight with {7-Diamonds}{5-Spades}. That left Casino all but done, and he lost his remaining two big blinds right after that to wrap things up.

Photo courtesy of HPT

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