Darryl Ronconi Wins $175K at Heartland Poker Tour's First 2018 Stop

3 years ago
Darryl Ronconi Wins $175K at Heartland Poker Tour's First 2018 Stop
20 Jan

The new year began with a bang for the Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) as it kicked off 2018 action at the Ameristar Casino in East Chicago, Indiana.

Darryl Ronconi, from the Chicago suburb of Naperville, took down the featured $1,650 Main Event, topping 544 entrants to win the top prize of $175,482. Those entrants combined to create a prize pool of $783,360, with the top 63 finishing in the money.

To say that Ronconi worked hard for the win is an understatement, considering that he doubled up his final table opponents seven different times. He also single-handedly knocked out four of them, including the last three, to land in the winner's circle for the first time in more than 10 years.

Ronconi last tasted a live tournament victory in December 2007 in a $1,080 NLHE event at the Bellagio in Las Vegas for $31,940. He also came ever-so-close to winning a WSOP gold bracelet in 2011 in the $5,000 Triple Chance tournament, settling for second place prize money of $510,053 - his best cash ever.

All told, Ronconi's lifetime earnings stand at $1,607,677. With his newest title, he also shot up to the top 20 in career cashes at HPT events.

Final Table Action

With four players remaining, Ramie Lantz was able to double up when his pocket tens held against Ronconi's A-Q. Lantz was celebrating his birthday, and watching his chip stack get 2x bigger was an awesome present - at the time.

Just a few hands later, Lantz was dealt pocket tens yet again and was hoping to ride the pair to another double up. But the community cards didn't cooperate, allowing Ronconi to hit a straight on the turn and send Lantz home to eat his birthday cake and ice cream with his pockets heavier by $49,365.

Next to hit the rail was Jim Kasputis of Rockford, IL, who had a slightly better starting hand than his opponent, Ronconi.  With his K-9 facing Q-9, Kasputis looked on helplessly when the flop of J-10-8 gave the Naperville native a straight, ending Kasputis' run in third place ($71,045).

That left Ronconi and Ryan Kulovitz heads-up, the latter down in chips by about 6-1. The final blow saw Kulovitz and his K-8 hit two pair when the flop appeared as 4-8-4. But Ronconi's pocket cards were A-4, good for a set and the HPT title.

Chicagoland - Ameristar East Chicago $1650 - Final Table Results

1Darryl Ronconi
2Ryan Kulovitz
3Jim Kasputis, Jr.
4Raymond Lantz
5Boulos Estafanous
6Reginald Roberts
7Aaron Porter
8Steven Clark
9Brian Thomas

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Charles is a Chicago native and long time poker player who dusted off his journalism degree and began writing about poker following the events of Black Friday in 2011. He has written for a number of leading poker websites, offering his insights and expertise on subjects ranging from online poker leg...Read more


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