The RunGood Poker Series Checkpoint has seen the completion of the $600 Main Event at Downstream Resort and Casino outside of Joplin, Missouri. After three days of starting flights, the final tally settled at 683 entrants, creating a prize pool of $348,330, which smashed the $100,000 guarantee initially set for the tournament.
The final table of the main event had the rare distinction of holding two players who have won RGPS Main Events before. Dakotah O’Dell and Blair Hinkle ended up becoming the final two to battle for another main event title to add to their illustrious resumes. After a hard-fought battle, O’Dell emerged as the victor, claiming his second RGPS Main Event title and $63,647.
Final Table Results
“It feels great,” the newly crowned two-time champion said, exhausted from an hours-long battle at the final table. “This is my hometown casino here,” he said when asked about this win compared to the title he took down just months ago in Council Bluffs. “I travel to many of the circuit events, but doing it here feels like a dream come true.”
While playing cash games for many years, O’Dell only started playing tournaments in 2019, amassing over $300,000 in Hendon Mob earnings since then. “I learn by talking to players better than me, taking in a lot of content, and grinding. It’s not always easy, just staying focused and playing.”
O’Dell came into the final table with just five big blinds, but through a series of double-ups, he arose as those overwhelming chip leader but then dropped down to the middle of the pack in what he described as “a rollercoaster.”
“When you come into the final table with five big blinds, you kinda write yourself off sometimes,” he said, describing his mental state at the beginning of the final table. “I had people in my corner, and this time it worked out.”
When asked about the three-handed match that lasted for many hours, O’Dell remarked, “I had perceived my opponents as better than me, so I had to adjust my playing style. They’re good players and were very hard to play against.”
On top of the ring, the title, and the money, O’Dell won a seat for the Dream Seat giveaway tournament at Thunder Valley Casino later this year. “I believe you’ll see me there,” he said in response to whether or not he would go. “That would be my first trip ever to Cali, but I believe you’ll see me there.”
Day 2 Recap
Early play in the day saw many players eliminated from the competition early. Among the casualties were RunGood Poker Series Legends like RGPS Tulsa 2022 champion Shantanu Garg (75th-$940), two-time RGPS ring winner Joey Gargiulo (64th-$1,149), Youtuber and Poker Pro Ashley “PokerFaceAsh” Frank (54th-$1,289), RGPS Tulsa 2023 Champion Pete Petree (42nd-$1,463), and RGPS Joplin 2014 Champion Mark Martin (33rd-$1,707) all finished outside of the final table. The final player to fall prior to the tournament being brought to one table was Joe Ferguson who ended up getting in his king-jack on a king-high board against Richard Hawkins, who held a set of tens. Ferguson collected $6,374 for his deep run, and the table was then brought to just one table.
Final Table Recap
The final table began with many short stacks jockeying for positions to ladder, and the first one to go was John “Cracker” Reynolds. The RGPS ring winner moved in his final eight big blinds in over Jared Ward’s raise with ace-ten. Ward looked him up with king-ten offsuit, and while the situation seemed initially favorable, Ward ran out a king-high flush, giving him the pot and leaving Reynolds to exit the tournament in ninth place for $6,374.
Danny Barnes had come into the final table with an overwhelming chip lead, sitting at over 100 big blinds from two tables left onwards to the final. He found his kryptonite in the form of O’Dell, who doubled up through him four times consecutively. Once for eight big blinds and O’Dell holding king-nine while Barnes held ace-ten, a second time for 20 big blinds where O’Dell held king-nine, and Barnes held ace-queen, a third time for 35 big blinds where O’Dell held ace-king. Barnes held tens and a final time for nearly 80 big blinds when Barnes got in his set on the turn against O’Dell’s top pair open-ended straight draw which connected on the river. O’Dell ascended high, holding half of the chips in play with eight left, while Barnes tumbled down the counts to the shortest stack.
Despite this, it would be Jael Lewis who would be next to go when she lost most of her stack, doubling up Barnes when she held ace-ten against his jack-eight. She was left with only a few chips after that confrontation, and while she did find one double, her final five big blinds went in with king-ten offsuit and Kevin Unkel called her with pocket queens. Lewis found no help, and the final woman standing departed the tournament in eighth place, collecting $8,081 for her efforts.
Barnes finished his run in seventh place just after her. He defended big blind against Jason Darland’s raise and then moved all-in on a four-high board with just a king-seven suited for king-high and a flush draw. Darland called with his ace-king for just ace high and doubled into the middle of the pack, leaving Barnes with just two blinds. On the next hand, he was eliminated when his queen-seven offsuit could not improve against O’Dell’s ace-ten, and the start of table chip leader collected $10,345 for his efforts.
What followed was a series of three players doubling through O’Dell, giving the chip lead to Richard Hawkins, who held it until Darland took it in a confrontation between the two of them. The next to go would end up being Unkel, who moved all in on a flop with nine-seven after flopping middle pair against Blair Hinkle, who flopped top pair holding ace-nine. Unkel could not find the two-outer to survive, and last year’s 12th-place finisher improved his finish to sixth place this time around, earning $13,411 for his second impressive run on this property.
Ward found himself ending his run in fifth place shortly after that. After falling to the short stack of the table, he moved in his final chips with ace-nine from the small blind against O’Dell’s button open, only for Darland to wake up with pocket kings in the big blind and hold against his hand. No ace or miracle straight appeared, and Ward collected $17,591 for his deep run, and Darland took nearly half of the chips in play.
Despite an early lead, Hawkins couldn’t find much success beyond the beginning levels of the tournament and his run ended in fourth place. He moved in his final eight big blinds with pocket fours against O’Dell, who called him with ace-queen. An ace-high flop spelt the end for Hawkins, and he wished his tablemates luck as he collected $23,338 for his efforts.
What followed was a 90-minute three-handed battle, where each player shared a decent amount of time as the big stack, the middle stack, and the short stack. Hinkle began three-handed play as the short stack, but a timely double-through Darland saw him take the lead from him. Hinkle seemed to be the runaway leader with well over half of the chips in play, but after a timely double and some three bets, O’Dell took the lead back from his opponents and began applying pressure. At the end of it all, O’Dell raised with ace-seven offsuit and then called an 11 big blind all in from Darland, who held queen-ten. No improvement was had with the queen ten, and O’Dell went into heads up with a 2:1 lead, while Darland finished his impressive run in third place for $31,210.
Despite the early lead heads up, Hinkle took it back when he flopped a straight against O’Dell’s top pair putting the two stacks nearly even. A few hands later, O’Dell raised on the button with ace-five offsuit, and Hinkle moved all in with pocket fours. O’Dell thought about his decision for a minute but called in the tournament deciding hand. The flop came out ace-high, and no set or straight followed it for Hinkle, leaving O’Dell the winner and the two-time RGPS Main Event champion to exit the tournament with an impressive second-place finish for $42,427. This comes after Hinkle only started the day with eight big blinds.
RGPS Joplin Series Winners
|Event Number||Event Name||Entrants||Prizepool||Winner||Prize|
|1||$225 Seniors NLH||179||$32,220||Kathy Schimmel||$8,472|
|2||$200 Ambassador Bounty NLH||223||$33,450||William Hill||$8,315|
|3||$250 Deepstack||376||$75,200||Preston McEwen||$15,629|
|4||$225 Single Day NLH||115||$20,700||Clayton Soliz||$6,198|
|5||$150 Flip And Go||144||$18,000||Joey Gargiulo||$5,013|
|6||$600 Main Event||683||$348,330||Dakotah O’Dell||$63,647|
|7||$300 Pot-Limit Omaha||114||$29,070||Trent Wilson||$7,044|
|8||$225 Closer||98||$17,640||Michael Phillips||$4,999|