Blair Hinkle Wins His Fourth RunGood Poker Series Main Event for $92,228!

Blair Hinkle Wins His Fourth RunGood Poker Series Main Event for $92,228!

Article written by Liam Gannon via PokerNews / Photos taken by Rachel Winter via 8131 Media

The sun has set on the penultimate event of the 2023-2024 season at the Destination RunGood series with the conclusion of the $1,100 Kansas City Main Event. A total of 477 entrants came out to play to create a prize pool of $462,690, ensuring that 58 places would be paid out and the winner would walk away with $92,228. What arrived on Day 2 was one of the most star-studded days in RGPS history as many legends of the tour came to play.

Just eight months ago when the RunGood Poker Series last came to Kansas City, three-time RGPS Main Event champion Blair Hinkle ended his run in sixth place in the very same event for $17,421. A close call for his fourth main event title in an effort to extend his lead over the rest of the champions. This effort has come to fruition today because after just under 11 hours of play, Hinkle defeated Shaun “The Ghost” Emery heads up to conquer his fourth RGPS Main Event title.

“I’m feeling tired, but really great,” Hinkle said, surrounded by a large supportive rail of family and friends. “That was a tough final table, I ran insanely hot, I had a huge chip lead. But the final table was a roller coaster. I’m just glad it worked out for me.”

Blair Hinkle, Main Event Winner KC
Blair Hinkle and Family

Hinkle’s career dates back to 2008 when he won his first WSOP bracelet. “I love the game,” Hinkle said when asked about why he keeps coming back. “10 years ago I wasn’t sure, and now you kinda realize, what else am I gonna do? I really do enjoy myself playing more, especially with these RunGood stops. This final table especially, people were chatting and having fun, it makes it more fun for me, and that’s why I keep coming back.”

Hinkle’s rail had worn mushroom hats to support him. “My wife’s maiden name is Morrel, so they were all wearing mushroom hats for her. She was at home watching the kids, my two-year-old and seven-month old.”

Hinkle came into the final table with a massive chip lead and never relinquished it throughout the final table. When the field got to six-handed, Hinkle’s chip lead began to shrink. The momentum went back to his direction when he made a hero call with ace-high to eliminate Michael Lucas in fifth place.

“It was a nasty spot to be in,” Hinkle said, recounting the hand. “He really put me in some tough spots on this final table, and I didn’t see a lot of his hands. That card is such a hard card for him to be bluffing, so when he shoved for the pot, it made it tough. It helped that I had a lot of chips, so I trusted my gut.”

Hinkle’s plans for the next stretch of time are to go home to be with his wife and children before the beginning of the World Series, then head out to play. A nice boost to the start of his summer.

Final Table Results

Place Player Hometown Prize
1 Blair Hinkle Kansas City, MO $92,228
2 Shaun Emery Raymond, IL $61,485
3 Cory Smith Oklahoma City, OK $45,473
4 Beau Wilshire Shawnee, KS $33,971
5 Michael Lucas Lathrop, MO $25,637
6 Zachary Steuterman Kansas City, MO $19,546
7 Colin Riesman Leawood, KS $15,058
8 Frank Kissick Kansas City, MO $11,722
9 Michael Fouts Omaha, NE $9,223

Final Day Action

Out the gate, Michael Miller (50th-$1,748) was eliminated from play. He played the other two events during the day but he secured no cashes and was unable to hop into the top 5 on the RGPS player of the year race. Following him out the door were players like Steven McKuin (40th-$2,337), Justin Gish (33rd-$2,337), and Mark Barrientos (28th-$2,749). Jackson Turrentine (26th-$2,749) was also in the running for the RGPS POY 5th place spot, but with his run finishing short of the final table, he was unable to secure enough points to hop up.

Forrest Kollar
Forrest Kollar

Clayton Soliz (25th-$2,749), Jesse Jones (21st-$3,271), Justin Coliny (17th-$3,937), and Chris Audrain were apart of the next chunk of players that were eliminated. Forrest Kollar’s run came just short of the final table when after losing a large chunk to Ryan Ramsdell, he ended up getting his final chips in with ace-two against Michael Fouts’ queen-jack only to lose to a queen on the river. With his eleventh place finish worth $7,334 Kollar finishes up an impressive RGPS season in third place on the leaderboard, no doubt to return again next season.

The final player to fall before the final table began was RGPS regular Ryan Ramsdell, who moved all in on the turn with ace-five of diamonds drawing to a flush, only for Shaun Emery to call him holding top pair with king-jack. The river bricked out for Ramsdell, leaving Emery to take the second largest stack to the final table and Ramsdell to end his run in tenth place for $9,223.

Final Table Action

It did not take long for the final table to lose a player as one of the most decorated players at the final table exited. Michael Fouts was involved in a preflop raising war with Blair Hinkle. After Fouts’ five-bet jam his pocket queens, Hinkle called with ace-king suited and they were off to the races in a pot worth nearly seventy big blinds. All seemed well for Fouts until the river ace paired up with Hinkle to put his chip lead at near 2:1 with the rest of the table and the 2018 RGPS Council Bluffs Main Event champion took his exit in ninth place for $9,223.

Final Table
RGPS Kansas City Final Table

Not too long after, Hinkle would eliminate the next player as Frank Kissick drifted down towards the bottom of the chip counts. He would eventually move in his final chips with pocket eights, only for Hinkle to be holding pocket jacks and the jacks held up for Hinkle to add even more, while the RGPS regular Kissick finished his run in eighth place for a career-best $11,722.

It seemed as if Beau Wilshire would be the next player to leave when he got in his final chips with king-jack against Hinkle’s pocket queens. A flopped straight would provide him more life and he became the first player to double through Hinkle at the final table. The next player to be at risk was Cory Smith as he got in his last chips with ace-queen against Colin Riesman’s pocket threes. The seven-high board provided no help for Smith, but the queen on the turn secured him the pot and left Riesman with nothing more than a big blind.

The following hand he moved in his final chips with jack-ten and was called by three players. A jack-high board would seem favorable for his hand, but Michael Lucas bet out all of the other players holding a set of sixes, leaving Riesman dead on the turn and he collected a career-best $15,058 for his seventh place finish.

Zachary Steuterman was a quiet presence throughout the day as he maneuvered his way silently up the pay ladder and into the final six players. His day came to end when after losing a few pots, he moved in his final chips with ace-two only for Smith to look him up with pocket nines. No help was brought to Steuterman and he collected a career-best $19,546 for his sixth place finish.

It was at this point that both Lucas and Wilshire ended up doubling through Hinkle a few times, with Lucas gaining some traction after winning a couple of pots against Hinkle. This came to a head in a massive pot when Lucas bluffed all in holding just a gutshot to a straight, and Hinkle hero called with ace-high in a hand that the other players in the tournament were quite impressed with. Lucas wished his tablemates well, and from just one big blind on Day 1, he turned out a fifth place finish for a career-best score of $25,637.

Wilshire would be next to go in fourth place. Wilshire ended up getting in his final chips with pocket fours against Hinkle’s pocket jacks. A four would come on the flop, much to Wilshire’s delight, with the board pairing again to fill him up. The same card coming again on the river would be the nail in the coffin as his full house was counterfeit by Hinkle’s better full house and the midwestern regular collected $33,971 for his efforts.

Three handed play got underway with Smith immediately doubling up through Hinkle to put him on even ground with Emery. A couple of pots later, Hinkle had taken most of Smith’s chips and Smith moved all in with king-ten up against Emery’s ace-seven. The ace-high board was the end of Smith’s run in third place as he shook hands with both of his opponents to add $45,473 to his already illustrious resume.

Shaun Emery
Shaun Emery

Hinkle started heads up play with a 3:1 lead over Emery, and while the early pots went Emery’s way, Hinkle fought back to keep the stacks around where they started the match. It wasn’t too long before a massive confrontation saw Hinkle call with eights on the button, and Emery checked jack-six in the big blind, then jammed on the ten, six, three board when Hinkle bet at it. Hinkle asked for a count and then called to put Emery at risk. No help was brought to Emery, and Hinkle was crowned the champion. “The Ghost” finished in second place to cap off what has been an outstanding debut year on the RGPS circuit, finishing second in the RGPS POY race and collecting $61,485 to add to his resume.

Thank you for reading along here on PokerNews for all updates regarding The RunGood Poker Series. Be sure to check back in for new faces, new rings, new competitions, and new tournaments will be seen all around the country!