Arkansas High School Teacher Wins $73K as RunGood Poker Series Kicks Off 2024 Season

Arkansas High School Teacher Wins $73K as RunGood Poker Series Kicks Off 2024 Season

Article written by Kirk Brown via PokerNews

After three days of play, the RunGood Poker Series $800 Main Event here at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma has come to a close after almost 11 hours of play on the final day. The total number of players from all three flights came to 558 entries, creating a $390,600 prize pool that almost quadrupled the $100,000 guarantee.

After navigating through a tough final day, it was Todd Tucker who emerged victorious after defeating David McFeely heads-up to claim the title, the championship ring, and the $73,242 first-place prize. Adding to the champion's purse in a big way is the addition of the Dream Seat package, which provides a full travel package and a seat to the Dream Seat Invitational, the winner of which will be entered into the televised PokerGO Tour Championship $1,000,000 Freeroll. This is a 64-player capped field, meaning Tucker could parlay this win into serious money.

This is the second-highest score for Tucker, as the high school math teacher placed fourth in a WSOP Circuit main event last July for $97,797. When asked if he had any plans for his winnings, he replied:

“Oh no, not really, I'm just a family man from Arkansas...I grew up in Boonesville, Arkansas, I live in Van Buren, Arkansas, and I teach in Alma, Arkansas. And I've got two girls who are involved in all sorts of things, so most of the money will be spent on them.”

The proud Arkansas native certainly is a family man, as he was sporting a bracelet made by his two daughters, and the coin he was using as a card protector was another gift from them from a Catholic teacher’s organization.

RGPS Tulsa Final Table Results

Place Player Hometown Prize
1 Todd Tucker Van Buren, AR $73,242
2 David McFeely Bolivar, MO $49,098
3 Joshua Brower Tulsa, OK $36,170
4 Duster Ellis Papillion, NE $26,912
5 Chris Baumhoer Bentonville, AR $20,272
6 James Traber Edmond, OK $15,468
7 Zachary Smith Mena, AR $11,952
8 Todd Nichols Edmond, OK $9,335
9 William McCracken Bolivar, MO $7,382


Action on the Day

When the 69 players who returned to play the Day 2 session took their seats, the action started from the onset and showed no signs of slowing down as a flurry of eliminations saw the field cut from 69 down to 27 within just a couple of hours. Ashley Frank and Jared Ward hit the rail at this point as they exited in 39th and 38th for $2,031. From there, stacks were a little deeper and play began to find a slightly slower pace. During the next level, Daniel Lowery (26th- $2,344) and Papa Karn (19th- $3,281) reported to the rail. Next to go was PoY points leader Brian Winter as he padded his stats with another deep run, exiting in 15th place for $3,906.

Final Table Action

The final table of nine was still reached relatively early in the night but would take up the majority of the day as everyone was eyeing the title and no one was willing to go out easy. The final table got off to a fast start with the first two eliminations happening in short order, the first of which being William McCracken, who was eliminated when McFeely called his huge river bluff-shove with just a pair of sixes.

Exiting shortly after was Day 1 chip leader Todd Nichols, who ran his ace-ten into the pocket aces of Duster Ellis to earn himself the eighth-place payout of $9,335. The action then slowed way down until Zachary Smith shoved 43 big blinds with ace-ten into James Traber’s pocket tens and failed to improve. He was left with less than a big blind and was eliminated in seventh place when he was forced in from the small blind the very next hand.

It was almost an hour before another player was lost and it was Traber who hit the rail in sixth place. He was the third player in a row to exit holding ace-ten when Tucker flopped a set of nines. That’s when Tucker gained momentum and he went on to knock out Chris Baumhoer in fifth and Duster Ellis in fourth soon after. A few hands later, he knocked out Joshua Brower in third when his king-queen trumped Brower’s ace-nine when he hit trip queens.

Heads-Up Battle

Once heads-up play began, Tucker held a 3:1 chip lead against McFeely, but after a few key hands, McFeely closed the gap and even took the chip lead. However, this did not last long as he misread his hand and jammed into Tucker with a pair of kings, five kicker. Tucker made the call and flipped over a pair of kings, but with a superior queen kicker and he was awarded a full double-up as McFeely was left devastated. It only took a few more hands before Tucker sealed the deal. He made a full house, and McFeely jammed once more, drawing dead. McFeely exited as the tournament’s runner-up, while Tucker was crowned the champion.

The next RunGood Poker Series kicks off on February 20 at Jamul Casino in San Diego, California, so mark your calendars!

Photos provided by 8131 Media/Spenser Sembrat