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John McNulty Wins Card Player Poker Tour Palm Beach Kennel Club Main Event

by Diana Cox |  Published: Jan 22, 2014


Pockets Queens was the hand that captured a Card Player Poker Tour title for Jacksonville, Florida native John McNulty during the early evening hours December 16 at Palm Beach Kennel Club.

The 25-year old poker pro bested a field of 287 players in the first ever CPPT Palm Beach Kennel Club $1,100 no-limit hold’em $250,000 guarantee main event and outlasted a final table that included high-stakes cash game pro Brian Hastings and online tournament wizard Eric Blair to capture the $68,191 first-place prize, the CPPT trophy and 456 Card Player Player of the Year points.

The heads-up match came down to McNulty and Luke Brereton in a speedy conclusion to an even faster-paced final table which lasted a mere four and a half hours.

“Luke is an awesome player,” McNulty said after his win. “I ran good against him the whole tournament, on both days you know. That’s it. Your hands just have to hold and you have to get cards to win. It was cool.”

McNulty, who held a two-to-one chiplead to start the final battle, was up to 5.82 million compared to Brereton’s 1.35 million when the final hand began. Brereton got the last of his chips in the middle with ASpade SuitKClub Suit and McNulty snap called with pocket Queens.

Luke BreretonBrereton missed the flop of 8Spade Suit6Heart Suit4Club Suit and stood up from the table to wait for his needed outs. The 2Diamond Suit on the turn left Brereton drawing thin and the 7Club Suit on the river brought the end of the three-day tournament with McNulty as the reigning champion. An upbeat and congratulatory Brereton earned $42,142 for his runner-up finish.

“I played Day 1A and I ran up a big stack and I was up to nearly 200,000 which would have been in the top five chip stacks on Day 2 over both flights, but I managed to lose all that over the last two levels of the day,” Brereton said. “The next day I woke up and was in two minds as to take another bullet or not and I went for breakfast and I thought ‘ok, I’ll come and take another bullet’ and fortunately I did.”

For McNulty, the cash was the largest of his career.

“It’s cool, it’s awesome," he said. “I’m sort of stunned right now in the moment. It’s crazy.”

It was a fitting heads-up pairing as McNulty and Brereton were responsible for every bust out from the final table.

Gerard Donaghy, who won his seat to the main event through Palm Beach Kennel Club’s Player of the Month leaderboard in November was the first casualty of the final table.

Donaghy had been crippled by Evan Teitelbaum in an earlier hand and made his move for his tournament life when he open-shoved his last 71,000 to the middle from the hijack seat. McNulty raised to 175,000 from the cutoff but found no callers. The hands were tabled with Donaghy turning over 5Spade Suit4Club Suit against McNulty’s KDiamond SuitQClub Suit. The board ran out 10Heart Suit3Diamond Suit3Club Suit8Club Suit2Club Suit and Donaghy made his exit.

However, his $6,257 payday on a complete freeroll was not a bad way to end the tournament.

Brian HastingsNext to go were Tom Gleason and Hastings, who were eliminated in a double knock-out hand to Brereton.

The double elimination began when Brereton raised to 50,000 from middle position and Hastings moved all-in for his last 350,000 from the hijack seat. Gleason moved all-in for less from the big blind and Brereton wasted no time making the call. Hastings had made his move with 4Diamond Suit4Club Suit, Gleason held QHeart SuitQSpade Suit and Brereton flipped up the AClub SuitKHeart Suit. Gleason was ahead but not for long when Brereton picked flopped two pair on a ASpade SuitKClub Suit8Club Suit flop. Brereton’s lead held after the 9Club Suit fell on the turn and he picked up the club-flush on a 6Club Suit river to eliminate both Hastings and Gleason.

Because he had moved all in with the larger stack, Hastings secured a seventh place finish for $9,947 while Gleason left in eighth place for a $7,842 payday.

“It was a pretty tough table,” Hastings said. “There are a lot of good players at that table.”

A second double knock-out nearly happened, this time at the hands of McNulty, but Ian O’Hara managed to stay alive through the hand with about one and half big blinds.

Eric BlairO’ Hara raised and McNulty just called before Blair got all-in for his last 500,000 with AHeart Suit9Heart Suit and was called by both O’Hara and McNulty. McNulty held pocked Aces and O’Hara, who barely had McNulty covered, held pocket Kings. Blair’s hand failed to improve when the board ran out ASpade SuitQSpade Suit5Club Suit8Diamond Suit9Diamond Suit and he left as the sixth place finisher for $12,894.

Down to almost nothing, O’Hara made his exit not long after when he shoved with 10Heart Suit5Heart Suit and Brereton called with KHeart Suit5Diamond Suit. O’Hara never found the needed cards to stay alive and the young pro was eliminated in fifth to the tune of $16,920.

Next to go was Sean Winter, who on Day 2 had been down to nearly nothing and battled back to start the final table second in chips to Teitelbaum. Winter raised to 60,000 from the cutoff and McNulty three-bet to 155,000. Action folded back around to Winter who moved all-in for 1.15 million. McNulty took his time before he called with the 9Club Suit9Diamond Suit and was up against the ADiamond SuitQClub Suit of Winter. The race began as the dealer spread KDiamond Suit7Diamond Suit4Club Suit[suit:spade]]7Club Suit. McNulty chipped up to about 5 million while Winter hit the rail in fourth, collecting $22,560.

Teitelbaum, who began the day as the chipleader saw his tournament life come to an end as the third place finisher for $30,580 when he moved all-in for his last 645,000 with ASpade Suit9Heart Suit and McNulty called with ADiamond SuitJHeart Suit. A board of JClub Suit9Club Suit5Club Suit8Club Suit7Diamond Suit was of not help to the former chipleader and he made his exit.

In all, McNulty eliminated five players from the final table to become to second CPPT champion of Season II.

Here is a look at the payouts and Card Player POY points awarded at this final table:

Place Player Earnings (USD) POY Points
1 John McNulty $68,191 456
2 Luke Brereton $42,142 380
3 Evan Teitelbaum $30,580 304
4 Sean Winter $22,560 228
5 Ian O’Hara $16,920 190
6 Eric Blair $12,894 152
7 Brian Hastings $9,947 114
8 Tom Gleason $7,842 76
9 Gerard Donaghy $6,257 38