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42016 Tampa Downs Fall Classic
$370 NLHE Main Event (Re-Entry)
$50,000 Guarantee

September 16th-18th, 2016

Total Entries: 196
Total Prize Pool: $49,706 + $12,426 PPC Aruba Packages = $62,132

John Santone PPC Tampa Downs Fall Classic Main Event Champion

John Santone
PPC Tampa Downs Fall Classic Main Event Champion

Recap: (by Mark Hoke of “The Mark Hoke Show” on KSHP 1400 AM Las Vegas and

The PPC Poker Tour returned to the Silks Poker Room at Tampa Bay Downs for the PPC Tampa Downs Fall Classic and after four flights of poker warfare, John Santone found his way to the winner’s circle to claim the Main Event title capping off an incredible weekend for one of the Silks Poker Room’s most beloved players.

The festivites kicked off on Friday with the first two starting flights of the tournament.  Day 1A did not disappoint as Anthony Pellegrini stopped an incredible comeback in the flight by Ed VanLandingham to score the top count of the flight bagging 330,600 chips.  He was followed by Event 1 Champion Michael LeMay with 202,000 and Sky Kim with 155,700.  Day 1B then got underway and it was dominated by Bobby Dugan.  Dugan raked in 294,000 to easily lead the flight’s chip counts.  Mitchell Menes was a distant second with 159,800 and Angela Praitano was third with 141,600.

Saturday brought the final two flights into the spotlight in Tampa.  Day 1C saw three of the most consistent players in the Silks Poker Room finish the flight at the top of the leaderboard with Stan Holley leading the way at  218,500, Bill McKown in second with 161,500 and John Santone putting away 138,000 for third.  Day 1D also saw some of the best players Tampa Bay Downs has to offer step up the plate with Peter Wang bagging 239,000 chips for the flight lead followed by Sean Hampson with 208,500 and Shawn Barnett just behind him at 208,000.

Overall, 196 entries were recorded in the tournament easily passing the $50,000 guarantee for the Main Event.  26 players would return for Day 2 with Anthony Pellegrini leading the way followed by Bobby Dugan and Peter Wang. Michael LeMay would start the day in seventh place looking for a second title in the series and was joined by notables like PPC Poker Tour Season 3 Player of the Year Allen Wiseman, Alex Ivan, Bill Linderman, Alexi Hernandez and Kathy Stackpoole.

Day 2 got underway with the field five players away from making the money.  Peter Wang had been the top stack in Day 1D but nothing could save him from running into quads to get knocked out of the tournament and missing out on some potentially critical points in the PPC Player of the Year standings.  David Walker was then knocked out in 22nd place by Sean Hampson to burst the money bubble for the rest of the field.  The eliminations kept coming with Allen Wiseman falling in 15th place and Day 1’s overall chip leader, Anthony Pellegrini, going down in 14th place.  Bill McKown hit quads against Mitchell Menes and after the loss Menes finished in 12th place.  Ed Sojack then went down setting for 11th place and the final table was set.

The final table started off with the top three stacks only 16,000 chips apart.  Bobby Dugan led the way with 621,000 chips and Sean Hampson and Bill McKown were just behind him with both holding 605,000 chips.  Stan Holley, Alexi Hernandez, John Santone and Kathy Stackpoole were also in the mix along with Michael LeMay, Canadian Reggie Bautista and Angela Praitano.

It was not to be for the great white north as Reggie Bautista was the first to go in 10th place.  Then Stan Holley had his aces cracked by the queens of John Santone to shockingly end his night in 9th place putting Santone over the 700,000 chip mark.  Sean Hampson was then ousted by Bill McKown in 8th place and McKown also finished off Alexi Hernandez in 7th place.  Kathy Stackpoole then got in on the action and caught Angela Praitano making a move to try to steal her blind eliminating Praitano in 6th place.

Once the dust settled, the remaining players decided to make a chop deal taking some more money out of the prize pool to make five PPC Aruba Packages, split the remaining money and end the tournament.  When the chips were counted, John Santone was the chip leader and declared the 2016 PPC Tampa Downs Fall Classic Main Event Champion winning the title, $5,200, a $4,500 PPC Aruba Package, a pair of Blue Shark Optics Glasses, apparel from Kicker Problem/Kicker Power and a trip to the PPC Champion of Champions Tournament at Maryland Live! Casino.  Bill McKown finished in 2nd place followed by Bobby Dugan in third with both players winning $5,200 plus a $4,500 PPC Aruba Package.  Michael LeMay finished fourth and Kathy Stackpoole took fifth place with both winning $5,200 and a $3,500 PPC Aruba Package.

After the tournament, John Santone could barely control his enthusiasm after winning the championship.  “I can’t believe it.  It’s the biggest tournament I’ve ever won.  I prepare and study and I try to have a game plan every time I play in a tournament.  So I was ready and couldn’t believe how I executed and I really didn’t make many mistakes.  It’s just changed everything.  It’s such a joy right down to the heart of me and I’m so grateful to be in this position to have this happen.  I can’t believe it.  The PPC is terrific.  This tournament was run well.  The people communicated what was going on and ran a tight ship which I love and they did a wonderful job.”

Congratulations to our 2016 PPC Tampa Downs Fall Classic Main Event Champion – John Santone!

Final Table Results:

1st: John Santone – $5,200 + $4,500 PPC Aruba Package
2nd: Bill McKown – $5,200 + $4,500 PPC Aruba Package
3rd: Bobby Dugan – $5,200 + $4,500 PPC Aruba Package
4th: Michael LeMay – $5,200 + $3,500 PPC Aruba Package
5th: Kathy Stackpoole – $5,200 + $3,500 PPC Aruba Package
6th: Angela Praitano – $2,403
7th: Alexi Hernandez – $1,857
8th: Sean Hampson – $1,458
9th: Stan Holley – $1,163
10th: Reggie Bautista – $943