Ben Scroggins participated in one of his first live poker tournaments at bestbet Jacksonville again in 2017, with a $20 'College Tournament' buy-in targeting college-age players. The 10-year-old poker player from Atlantic Beach, Jacksonville, has gone further to enter more than 200 tournaments at Jacksonville's bestbet since then, including several deep stints and a win in World Poker Tour qualifying event.
On Monday, Scrogins won his biggest-ever tournament title, despite everything in his home territory, breaking a field of 300 entries in Card Player Poker Tour bestbet Jacksonville $2,500 buy-in no-limit hold'em main event. The Skrogins earned the $088,910 champion after beating World Series of Poker bracelet winner and eightfold WSOP ♥ Circuit ring winner Kyle Cartwright heads up for the title. He secured his victory in front of a rail that was dominated by his family and friends.
“Having the entire rail here was even better. I cried for almost a second, but pulled myself together, ”Scrogins said after it was over.
"My experience here has been amazing," said Scrogins when asked about winning the title at Jacksonville's bestbet. “This is my home and I love everyone here. I know most dealers by name and every time I walk in the door I say "Hey Ben, how are you?" This is the basis of the name. It really is like a home away from home, I definitely have a second family here. "
This was Scrogins' first six-digit tournament score. His biggest win before this event was winning 2017 Heartland Poker Tour Daytona Beach Kennel Club main event for $088,500. He now has $378,378 in Lifetime Live Tournament Wins.
In addition to the title and a six-figure salary, Scrogins also made 910 Card player Player of the Year points as the champion of this event. It was his first POY qualifying result of the year, but it was enough to bring in 162 2nd place in the 2017 POY ♥ race rankings which are sponsored by Global Poker.
The final day of the event kicked off with the eight remaining players and Dustin Holladay in the lead. Scrogins was basically a draw for second place with Jessica Cai who recently made the final table at the Palm Beach Summer Classic final table. Day 1A leader Jeremy Joseph was one of the smaller stacks at the table when the game resumed, and was eventually eliminated first after losing most of his stack thanks to pocket jacks against Lamare Davis' straight. Joseph hit the queue in eighth place, earning $10,081 for his deep streak in the event.
Mac Johnson was next to be eliminated. A local player from Jacksonville entered the day as shortest stack but managed to double early to stay alive. His run finished in seventh place when his K ♥ 000 ♥ crashed into Cartwright's A ♣ J ♣. The flop gave Cartwright the top two pairs and he held on from there and sent Johnson home with $695.
Joseph Crowley grabbed the last chips in the middle from J ♥ 10 ♠ to 000 ♣ 8 ♥ 3 ♥ 2 ♣ board. Popped in on 108 ♠ Scrogins who have performed the check. River 6 ♣ did not help Crowley and was eliminated in sixth place ($33,300).
Jessica Cai lost a sizeable pot to an unimproved ace-queen against two pair of Scrogins, then lost to her top pair open straight draw, Cartwright's top kicker for the remainder of her stack. Cai who is married to 2017 WSOP Main Event 6th - place winner Zhen Cai, earned $050,625 as the fifth place winner.
When the final table started, Lamare Davis was second with the smallest stack. Davis struggled to make his way to the final four to cut a healthy payoff in the event. On his last hand, he pushed all-in from K ♣ J ♣ to A ♣ 000 ♣ 7 ♣ 9 ♠ board. The Scrogins called with 10 ♣ 8 ♠ for second pair and an open straight draw. Davis was unable to find any of his outs, and 3 ♣ on the river eliminated him in fourth place. Davis scooped the $77,625.
An exciting series of hands was played in three-handed action. In one such hand, Cartwright raised to 125,000 on the A ♣ J ♣ button and chip leader Dustin Holladay saved his big blind with Q ♥ 9 early in the day. The flop was J10 ♣ 8 ♣ and Holladay checked with a straight on the flop. Cartwright 125 bet, with top pair and best flush draw. Holladay check-raise to 400, just to get Cartwright moving in. Holladay quickly called to create one of the tournament's biggest pots. The 7 ♣ on the turn gave Cartwright a flush with an ace high, but Holladay folded the straight, leaving Cartwright dead.
With this hand, Holladay returned to the lead, but was soon overtaken by Scrogins. Two big stacks ended in a clash of monstrous hands. Scrogins raised to 105,000 on the K ♥ K ♣ button and Holladay called from the small blind with 6 ♣ 6 ♣.
The 6 ♥ 4 ♠ 4 ♥ flop gave Holladay a full house. He waited while Scrogins waited with his overpair. K ♣ on the turn gave Scrogins a bigger house. Holladay 94 bet, and Scrogins raised to 400. Holladay called and 8♣ completed the board. Holladay checked and a bet of Scrogins 850. Holladay check-raise all-in for 3,050, and Scrogins quickly called with his better boat. Holladay earned $33,910 for third place.