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Hometown Hero Ben Scrogins Wins Card Player Poker Tour bestbet Jacksonville Main Event

25-Year-Old Poker Pro Defeats A Field of 339 Entries To Win $158,915

by Erik Fast |  Published: Jul 28, 2021


Ben Scroggins entered one of his first live poker tournaments at bestbet Jacksonville back in 2015, a $25 buy-in event geared towards college-aged players. In the years since, the player from nearby Atlantic Beach has gone on to enter more than 200 tournaments at his hometown cardroom, racking up multiple deep runs and a victory in a WPT preliminary event.

On Monday, June 28, Scrogins earned his largest ever tournament title, defending his home turf by defeating a field of 339 entries in the 2021 Card Player Poker Tour bestbet Jacksonville $2,500 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event. Scrogins earned $158,915 as the champion after defeating WSOP bracelet winner and eight-time WSOP Circuit ring winner Kyle Cartwright heads-up for the title.

The 25-year-old secured the victory in front of a rail that was dominated by his family and friends.

“Having the whole rail here made it feel even better. I almost cried for a second, but I got myself together,” said Scrogins after the final cards were dealt.

“My experience here has been amazing,” Scrogins continued. “This is my home and I love everybody here. I know most of the dealers by name, and every time I walk into the door, it’s ‘Hey Ben, how are you doing?’ It’s first-name basis. It really is like a home away from home. I got a second family here for sure.”

This was Scrogins’ first six-figure tournament score. His largest win prior to this event came when he took down the 2017 Heartland Poker Tour Daytona Beach Kennel Club main event for $94,515. He now has $378,499 in lifetime live tournament cashes to his name.

In addition to the title and the six-figure payday, Scrogins also earned 720 Card Player Player of the Year points. This was his first POY-qualified score of the year, moving him into 162nd place in the 2021 standings, which are sponsored by Global Poker.

This was the eighth time that the CPPT teamed up with bestbet Jacksonville for a tournament series, and the first time that the main event featured the $2,500 buy-in price point. Scrogins’ six-figure top prize was the largest ever awarded to a CPPT bestbet Jacksonville main event champion. Here is a look back at how this event played out.

Strong Turnout Builds $759,360 Prize Pool

This tournament featured two starting flights, with unlimited re-entry and late registration available for the first 10 levels of play. Day 1A drew 133 entries by the time registration closed, with another 206 entering on Day 1B, bringing the total number of entries to 339 and creating a prize pool of $759,360 to be paid out among the top 43 finishers.

Players started with 30,000 in chips, and a structure with 40-minute blind levels. When the dust settled on the first day of play, just 62 players advanced, with top poker pro Jeremy Joseph taking the Day 1A chip lead.

Joseph closed out the day by eliminating WPT champion Jonathan Jaffe in a preflop cooler, with his pocket kings prevailing against Jaffe’s AHeart Suit KDiamond Suit. While Jaffe’s first bullet ended with a loss in a massive pot, he managed to bounce back in a big way on his second attempt, ending up with the largest stack on Day 1B.

Setting The Final Table

There were 19 players to be eliminated before the money bubble burst on Day 2. Christopher Okoli was the last player to be sent home without a payday after having been whittled down to less than a big blind.

The bustouts came quickly after that, with the remaining 43 players having locked up at least $3,929 for their efforts. It took just four hours to narrow the field from 43 down to the final two tables. With 16 remaining, recent Palm Beach Summer Classic final tablist Jessica Cai scored a double knockout when her pocket jacks held up against the J-10 suited held by Jaffe and the A-K of Matthew Leecy to catapult her towards the top of the leaderboard.

Raminder Singh was looking for his second title of the series and was among the biggest stacks in the room with 14 remaining, but he lost a huge chunk of his stack when his AHeart Suit QSpade Suit ran into the ADiamond Suit KHeart Suit of Scrogins. Singh failed to come from behind and was left short, finishing 11th for $12,738. With that, Scrogins vaulted toward the top of the chip counts with a final-table berth in sight.

The eight-handed final table was officially set after Jeremy Eyer’s A-K clashed with the pocket aces of Joseph Crowley. The board brought Eyer no help and he was sent to the rail in ninth place, earning $15,891 for his deep run.

Deciding A Champion

The final table was broadcast on bestbetLIVE, the venue’s high-quality live streaming show, which showcases cash games and tournaments from the poker room with cards-up coverage and commentary. The popular show can be viewed on Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook LIVE.

Dustin Holladay held the chip lead, while Scrogins was essentially tied for second place with Cai. Joseph was among the shorter stacks at the table when play resumed, and he was ultimately the first to be eliminated after losing much of his stack with pocket jacks against the straight of Lamare Davis. Joseph hit the rail in eighth place, earning $20,081.

Mac Johnson was the next to fall. The Jacksonville local came into the day as the shortest stack but managed an early double to stay alive. His run came to an end in seventh place when his KHeart Suit 10Heart Suit ran into the ASpade Suit JDiamond Suit of Cartwright. The flop gave Cartwright top two pair and he held from there to send Johnson home with $25,695.

Crowley got the last of his chips in the middle with JHeart Suit 10Spade Suit on a 10Diamond Suit 8Heart Suit 3Heart Suit 2Club Suit board, but ran into the 10Club Suit 8Spade Suit of Scrogins. The 6Diamond Suit river was of no help to Crowley and he was knocked out in sixth place for $33,292.

Cai lost a sizable pot to Scrogins, and then ran her open-ended straight draw into the top pair, top kicker of Cartwright for the remainder of her stack. Jessica, who is married to 2019 WSOP main event sixth-place finisher Zhen Cai, earned $43,669 as the fifth-place finisher.

Davis battled his way on the short stack to the final four to lock up a healthy payout. He was unable to ladder up any higher than fourth place, however, banking $77,910.

Scrogins raised with pocket kings and Holladay called from the small blind with pocket sixes. The 6Heart Suit 4Spade Suit 4Heart Suit flop saw Holladay flop a full house. He checked and Scrogins checked behind with his overpair. The KClub Suit on the turn gave Scrogins the bigger full house, and all the money went in by the river. Holladay earned $77,910 for his third-place showing.

Heads-up play began with Scrogins holding a nearly 4:1 chip advantage. Cartwright, who has more than $2.5 million in tournament earnings, was able to mount a quick comeback, winning a few sizable pots and then doubling up to take the chip lead.

Kyle CartwrightScrogins was not deterred, however, and regained the advantage not long after that when his flopped top pair held up against the nut flush draw of Cartwright. On the final hand, Scrogins raised the button with QClub Suit 6Spade Suit and Cartwright called from the big blind holding 9Club Suit 7Heart Suit.

The QDiamond Suit QSpade Suit 8Spade Suit prompted Cartwright to check. Scrogins bet with his trip queens and Cartwright called. The 6Heart Suit on the turn gave Cartwright an open-ended straight draw. He checked and Scrogins bet again with his full house.

Cartwright check-raised all in, and Scrogins snap-called, leaving Cartwright drawing dead. He earned $105,942 for his runner-up finish in this event. Cartwright was also awarded 600 POY points for his deep run. This was his third final-table finish of the year, including a third-place finish in the Spring Series $2,500 buy-in main event at bestbet Jacksonville back in March. He now sits in 30th place in the 2021 POY race standings as a result.

Final Table Results

Place Player Payout POY Points
1 Ben Scrogins $158,915 720
2 Kyle Cartwright $105,942 600
3 Dustin Holladay $77,910 480
4 Lamare Davis $57,979 360
5 Jessica Cai $43,669 300
6 Joseph Crowley $33,292 240
7 Mac Johnson $25,695 180
8 Jeremy Joseph $20,081 120