Michael Esquivel Earns a Vacation With Destination RunGood Tunica Win ($55,321)*

Michael Esquivel Earns a Vacation With Destination RunGood Tunica Win ($55,321)*

Article written by Matt Hansen via PokerNews

The Destination RunGood Tunica Main Event has come to an end and Michael Esquivel is the winner after a deal with Loi Hoang at the beginning of heads-up play.

The latest stop for the RunGood Poker Series at Horseshoe Tunica drew 662 players — one more than the previous trip in November 2023 — and the best 82 players split up a prize pool of $337,620.

Esquivel dominated a wild final table to finish with the big stack for a top prize of $55,321, along with the RGPS ring. The deal was cut with Hoang, who won $45,608 for the second-place effort. They both outlasted Brian Duffy in third and Michael Chilton in fourth. Chilton parlayed the second-highest stack from Day 1c to a $22,614 payday. Chris Cochran rounded out the top five.

Destination RunGood Tunica Final Table Results

Rank Player Prize (USD)
1 Michael Esquivel $55,321*
2 Loi Hoang $45,608*
3 Brian Duffy $30,337
4 Michael Chilton $22,614
5 Chris Cochran $17,047
6 Walker Miskelly $12,996
7 Brian Winter $10,022
8 Chris Dandrea $7,819
9 Dorothy Crossman $6,172

* Denotes heads-up deal

Winner’s Reaction

The win takes Esquivel over $500,000 in lifetime earnings, and the score is the third-biggest of his career. His top win came in 2019 at MSPT Minnesota for $98,113 and he won $63,666 in a Heartland Poker Tour Main Event in 2018.

“The money is good, but I don’t need to prove myself to anybody,” Esquivel said in his post-game interview. “That’s the beauty of this game, anybody can win.”

Esquivel plans to take a couple of weeks off to spend some much needed time with his family.

“I have cheated them for so long about spending time with them because I have to work, but business is done and I can take two weeks off before I get back to the grind.”

Day 2 Highlights

The day started with 82 players and Juston Hamilton led the way after three opening flights. Also near the top of the leaderboard was Chris Dandrea, who held the chip lead after Day 1b. Dandrea, along with Chilton, were the only players from the top ten chip stacks at the beginning of the day to advance to the final table.

Just outside that top ten was Brian Winter, the prohibitive favorite to win RGPS Player of the Year honors. Winter also made a deep run to the final table and added some more room to his lead.

Other early Day 2 exits include Terrance Reid, Andrew Todhunter, and WPT champ Mark Davis. David Moses also qualified for Day 2 and finished in 68th for $1,034.

Dorothy Crossman
Dorothy Crossman

The final table was reached in the 10th level of the day, and Dorothy Crossman was first to go after Walker Miskelly beat her pocket sixes with Big Slick to leave the Cordova native short. Her fate was sealed a few moments later when Duffy knocked her out with ace-queen.

Dandrea got it in with ace-jack in the opening moments of Level 29, but Duffy was there once again with ace-king to knock him out in eighth place. Winter was next to go in seventh after an ill-timed bluff slowed his final table momentum. He got it in with pocket sixes but Esquivel called with ace-eight and turned the top pair to eliminate Winter before he could do serious damage.

Hoang began to surge after Winter’s elimination and he held almost half of the chips at one point during six-handed play. Miskelly fell next in sixth place when his suited queen-ten wasn’t good enough to beat Chilton’s pocket eights.

Five-handed play was over quick when Cochran got his short stack in with four callers. It was Chilton who beat them all with pocket tens after the board checked down to send Cochran home in fifth.

Brian Duffy
Brian Duffy

The players took a break and Duffy returned to double twice, setting up the chips for his third-place finish. Chilton was the unlucky fourth-place finisher when he shoved with pocket sixes and ran into Esquivel’s wheel. Duffy’s fate was soon sealed when his ace-jack ran into Hoang’s ace-king.

After Duffy left the room, Hoang and Esquivel stepped away to broker a deal. Esquivel had a two-to-one chip lead at that point and a modest deal was made to end the tournament.

That wraps up the PokerNews live coverage of Destination RunGood Tunica. Be sure to join us again next time when the RunGood Poker Series returns to bestbet Jacksonville from March 14-24.