The Lone Star Poker Series Inaugural Texas State Main Event $1,300 buy-in no-limit hold’em tournament attracted a massive field of 1,818 total entries to the Champions Social Poker Club in Houston, TX. The huge turnout saw the $1 million guarantee easily surpassed, ultimately creating a final prize pool of $2,090,700 that was paid out among the top 220 finishers.
In the end, the lion’s share was awarded to eventual champion Joon Park. The 29-year-old Austin, TX resident earned $271,429 for the win, by far the largest score of his career. Prior to this victory Park’s largest cash was a $10,000 payday earned earlier this year for a seventh-place finish in a $500 buy-in event at The Lodge Poker Club & Card House in Round Rock, TX.
In addition to the title and the money, Park was also awarded 1,080 Card Player Player of the Year points for coming out on top. This was Park’s second POY-qualified final table of the year, and it brought his point total to 1,194. With $281,429 in year-to-date earnings, he has climbed into 18th place in the 2021 POY race, which is sponsored by Global Poker.
The final day of this event began with 17 players remaining. By the time the final table of nine was set, Christopher Doan had climbed into the lead, with Park sitting in fourth chip position.
Shawn Rice was the first to fall at the final table. He got the last of his short stack in with Q-4 offsuit, only to run into the pocket aces of Jared Hemingway. The aces held up and Rice was eliminated in ninth place ($26,000). Park secured his first knockout of the day by winning a preflop race with pocket sixes against the AQ of Kevin Kaylor. Park made a straight by the river to send Kaylor home with $34,375 for his eighth-place showing.
Doan came into the final table with the chip lead, but lost two sizable all-in pots after getting his chips in ahead to hit the rail in seventh place. First his A-K lost out to the K-Q of Gabriel Andrade, then his pocket kings were unable to hold facing the pocket jacks of Nick Shkolnik. Doan earned $45,375 for his deep run in this event.
Park picked up his second knockout when Robert Wright shoved with A-5 into his A-K. Park made a flush by the river to send Wright packing with $61,375. World Series of Poker gold bracelet winner Michael Wang was the next to hit the rail. He got all-in with J9 and was called by the A6 of Andrade. Wang paired his jack on the flop, but Andrade rivered a pair of aces to eliminate Wang in fifth place ($79,875). He increased his career tournament earnings total to $2,935,536 with this latest score.
Park doubled up early in four-handed play to take the lead. Nick Shkolnik leapfrogged him by busting Jared Hemingway in fourth place, though, with his flopped flush draw with an overcard beating out the pair and straight draw of Hemingway by improving to a higher pair on the turn. Hemingway was awarded $104,375 for his strong showing in this event.
The final three agreed to a deal that saw Shkolnik lock up $257,170 as the chip leader, with Park guaranteeing himself $241,429 and Andrade securing at least $195,955. The three left the title and $30,000 from the prize pool to play for. Shkolnik fell out of the lead after the deal was done, and was ultimately knocked out in third place when his A-6 failed to improve against the pocket eights of Park.
Park took a sizable lead into heads-up play with Andrade. It didn’t take too long for all of the chips to get into the middle. Andrade shoved from the button with A2 and Park called from the big blind with AQ. The board ran out AK9A8 and Park’s trips with a superior kicker earned him the pot and the title.
Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table:
Photo credits: Lone Star Poker Series Twitter account.