Freddie Krueger is a monster in people’s dreams, but today it was David Kruger who had the monster stack, the monster hands, and a dreamy victory to the tune of almost $200,000.
David Kruger came into today’s third and final day in the Horseshoe Tunica Circuit Main Event with the chip lead and spent the day putting those chips to work, but even though he began as the big stack, this tough final table saw everyone’s chips fluctuate, including Kruger, who had to battle back from a chip deficit heads-up against a player who has already won one Circuit Main Event this year, Horseshoe Southern Indiana winner Russ Head.
In the end, Kruger prevailed though, rallying back with a huge hand where he made a straight flush, then finishing off his heads-up opponent with none other than pocket aces to win his first-ever Circuit ring, $198,657, and a seat in the WSOP Global Casino Championship.
It was a long road to victory for Kruger, who survived a field of 646 entries to take the title. The turnout for this event saw a huge uptick from last season, jumping from 457 to 646. Among the notables to turn out for this year’s event include Tommy Vedes, six-time ring winner Kyle Cartwright, five-time ring winner Mark Smith, past Tunica Main Event Champs Jonathan Gaviao and Johnny Landreth, bracelet winner Jonathan Hilton, and 2003 WSOP Main Event Champion, Chris Moneymaker.
With such a strong turnout, the prize pool narrowly missed out on the million-dollar mark, but did award 72 payouts to notables like John Holley (64th), Mina Greco (45th), Warren Sheaves (41st), Cartwright (35th), Martin Zentner (26th), Sean Small (17th), and Jessie Bryant (14th).
Kruger said the final table was the toughest one he has ever played, and it is with good reason. It featured three Circuit ring winners in Head, Christian Rodriguez (9th), and Ryan Tepen (6th) as well as another big stack, Jeremy Drewery, who finished Day 1A as the big stack and stayed near the top of the counts until his exit in fourth place.
Kruger, 54, is a Slater, MO resident who plays poker recreationally when not running a waste management company back home. His wife was on the rail cheering him on, and his four children were sweating their father’s success via the live updates. While this is Kruger’s first victory, he has an impressive number of Circuit final tables to his credit. Of his 11 ITM finishes on the Circuit, seven of them have been final tables, but it was only today that he could call himself a ring winner.
Here are the final table results from the Horseshoe Tunica Main Event:
1st: David Kruger - $198,657
2nd: Russ Head - $122,918
3rd: Matthew Lawrence - $90,156
4th: Jeremy Drewery - $67,045
5th: Ryan Tepen - $50,533
6th: Chris Trotter - $38,595
7th: Orlando Romero - $29,865
8th: Ben Thomas - $23,411
9th: Christian Rodriguez - $18,585