Bekavac Makes History in Latest MSPT Results
The Mid-States Poker Tour has been hosting some well-attended tournaments this year, crushing guarantees and making history. One particular player made history by winning more MSPT titles than anyone else. Dan Bekavac did that and then went on to turn around a very bad situation.
First, let’s recall that this year started for MSPT at Sycuan Casino in Southern California. The tour then went to Colorado and Las Vegas. Things took a turn for the interesting when the MSPT went to Riverside Casino in Iowa and a certain Dan Bekavac won it for nearly $200K. That was controversial because he was one of the people who tried to start a new tour back in 2020. That not only failed, it left many players without their prize money, as explained here.
As it turned out, Bekavac did start paying back those mistreated players from his 2020 tournament after he won the MSPT in March 2022.
When he won his latest title, as you’ll see below, he made everyone right. That’s a rarity in poker, that someone takes a situation in which he is vilified and turns it around to remedy mistakes. PokerNews’ Chad Holloway had followed Bekavac’s journey and reported on the resolution when it happened.
— Chad Holloway (@ChadAHolloway) May 21, 2022
Now, let’s get to the results from the Mid-States Poker Tour since Bekavac won his March tournament.
MSPT Running Aces
Players came out in force for the MSPT at Running Aces in Minnesota this spring. In fact, the 920 entries from three starting days created a prize pool nearly three times the guarantee and well over twice the record field for the venue’s 2017 event.
The three flights ensured that the 99 returning players on Day 2 were in the money. Well after the dinner break, the tenth-place elimination of Ron Olson for $12,473 set one final table, and Joe Barnard then took ninth for $16,036.
Brandon Kelzenberg had a solid chip lead going into the last table of the night, but Chan Pelton doubled through him eight-handed and then busted him. Pelton maintained his massive lead as the others fought it out. Ultimately, Pelton took 18.5M chips into heads-up against Ben Hanson’s 4.5M. Hanson did double and then take over the lead, but Pelton doubled back and ran away with it to claim his first MSPT title.
|Apr 7-10||$1,110 buy-in||MSPT Running Aces (Minnesota)|
|Total prize pool:||$890,900||($300K GTD)|
|Final table results:||1st place:||Chan Pelton $169,271|
|2nd place:||Ben Hanson $104,241|
|3rd place:||John Pierce $76,528|
|4th place:||Dan Warner $57,909|
|5th place:||Josh Reichard $43,654|
|6th place:||Mark Sandness $32,963|
|7th place:||Justin Barnum $25,836|
|8th place:||Brandon Kelzenberg $20,491|
In the largest major poker tournament ever held @RunAcesPoker Chan Pelton from College Station, TX takes down Event #9 $1,110 Main Event for the 🏆 and lion's share of the cash
— MSPT (@msptpoker) April 11, 2022
MSPT Sycuan Showdown
Quickly becoming a player favorite, Sycuan Casino in the San Diego area of California delivered the Sycuan Showdown Series in late April and early May. The Main Event’s three starting flights brought 473 entries into the field, flying right past the $300K guarantee to set the pot at $457,310.
Only 59 players made Day 2 of the tournament, but a few of them departed without pay as there were just 54 payouts. Eventually, Ronda Vankrey departed in 13th place, Daniel Guerrero in tenth, and Scott Sisler took ninth for $8,689 just after the dinner break.
Derek Molnar was one of the original chip leaders and busted Rob Wazwaz in eighth place, Hesam Fadaifar took out Andres Moran in seventh, and Rich Lanes ousted Adam Friedman in sixth. Molnar sent David Leese out in fifth place, after which the final four reached a payout deal with $23,500 left to add to the winner’s cash. They played on with Fadaifar out in fourth and Molnar out in third. Sebastin Kolman had a lead over Lanes as heads-up began and took that to the winner’s circle. It was the biggest tournament win for Kolman to date.
|Apr 28 – May 1||$1,110 buy-in||MSPT Sycuan Showdown (San Diego)|
|Total prize pool:||$457,310||($300K GTD)|
|Final table results:||1st place:||Sebastin Kolman $80,170|
|2nd place:||Rich Lanes $53,258|
|3rd place:||Derek Molnar $56,540|
|4th place:||Hesam Fedaifar $45,224|
|5th place:||David Leese $24,695|
|6th place:||Adam Friedman $18,750|
|7th place:||Andres Moran $14,634|
|8th place:||Rob Wazwaz $11,433|
Ending an amazing Showdown Series @SycuanCasino LA's Sebastin Kolman takes down Event #10 $1,110 Main Event besting an absolutely stacked 473 player field
— MSPT (@msptpoker) May 2, 2022
JACK Casino in Cleveland, Ohio was the place to be in early May as the MSPT rolled through with a $1,110 buy-in Main Event, which also served as the Ohio State Poker Championship. Players came from all over the surrounding areas to compete, bringing in 991 entries and a prize pool that fell short of $1M but nearly doubled the guarantee. It also became the largest major tournament in Ohio’s history.
John Dennehy sat atop the leaderboard when the 118 survivors from three starting flights gathered together for the last day of action. Just a few players busted outside of the money, and then the cash started flowing for the final 108 players.
Later, with Craig Stein’s tenth-place finish for $13,437, the final table of nine went to dinner, returning to play for the win. Chris Tryba had the largest stack, and Dennehey was near the bottom of the leaderboard. Tryba lost ground, though, as the shorter stacks hit the rail. Dustin Mcelhaney took care of most of the eliminations, as Tryba chipped up and kept everyone’s spirits high.
Mcelhaney eventually sent Tryba home in fourth place, as Dennehey mounted his comeback with a double through Mcelhaney. The latter busted Kevin Kerchenski in third place and had nearly a two-to-one lead over Dennehey in heads-up play. But Dennehy doubled through to take that lead away, and he quickly busted Mcelaney to win his first major tournament.
|May 5-8||$1,110 buy-in||MSPT Cleveland (JACK Casino)|
|Total prize pool:||$959,770||($500K GTD)|
|Final table results:||1st place:||John Dennehey $155,933|
|2nd place:||Dustin Mcelhaney $133,058|
|3rd place:||Kevin Kerchenski $81,580|
|4th place:||Chris Tryba $60,466|
|5th place:||Sscott Fitzhugh $46,069|
|6th place:||Todd Rizzo $35,511|
|7th place:||Dave Holmes $27,833|
|8th place:||Shaun Gillian $21,115|
Winning the largest major poker tournament in Ohio's history John Dennehey from Lakeville, MN ships our $1,110 Ohio State Poker Championship @JACKClePKR
— MSPT (@msptpoker) May 9, 2022
The Mid-States Poker Tour then traveled to Michigan for the Main Event at FireKeepers Casino. They knew it would be a big one and put a $1M guarantee on it. Little did they know that nearly a thousand entries would emerge to push the prize pool over $2.2M. It became the largest prize pool in Michigan’s history.
Day 2 brought 309 players back, though only 252 of them made the money. Much later on May 15, Dan Bekavac busted David Peterson in tenth place to strengthen his lead and bring the final nine to one table. CJ Peake took over the lead as the shorter stacks busted, but Bekavac eliminated Timothy Mulroy in seventh to take the lead back. Bekavac then sent Alex Oberlin to the rail, though Peake kept a strong stack.
Zinoviy Pelekh busted Jonathan Johnson in fifth place, but Bekavac ousted Pelekh in fourth. The final three agree to a chop, followed by Davis taking third place and then Peake out in second. Bekavac took down his fourth career MSPT title.
|May 12-15||$1,110 buy-in||MSPT Michigan (Firekeepers)|
|Total prize pool:||$2,258,600||($1M GTD)|
|Final table results:||1st place:||Dan Bekavac $252,090|
|2nd place:||CJ Peake $241,290|
|3rd place:||Marquez Davis $198,975|
|4th place:||Zinoviy Pelekh $119,706|
|5th place:||Jonathan Johnson $91,699|
|6th place:||Alex Oberlin $72,275|
|7th place:||Timothy Mulroy $56,465|
|8th place:||Ruben Delgado $44,043|
Winning the largest major poker tournament the Midwest has ever seen (2,330 runners)
Daniel Bekavac ships The $1,110 Main Event @FireKeepers bringing home his record setting 4th MSPT 🏆
— MSPT (@msptpoker) May 16, 2022
The tour finished out its busy May schedule at Silverado Casino in Deadwood, South Dakota. The $1K Main Event also served as the South Dakota State Championship with a $100K guarantee on it. But the two starting flights delivered 506 total entries to boost the actual prize pool to nearly six times that guarantee.
The 66 survivors met on Day 2 and played into the 54-spot payout window. Later, on the final table bubble, Gerald Cunniff busted John Schroer in tenth place for $7,340, and the final nine went to dinner.
Cunniff had the lead, but Mike Estes quickly took it away from him when play resumed. After a few short stacks departed, Cunniff mounted a comeback by busting Alex Smith. He still couldn’t catch Estes, though, who took out Joshua Kieval in fifth place, but Cunniff’s double through Ron Kohner helped. Estes busted Cannon in fourth.
Cunniff doubled through Estes to take the lead three-handed and then busted Kohner in third place. Estes had only 2.8M chips going into heads-up against Cunniff’s 10.05M, and it didn’t take long for Cunniff to take down the trophy and title.
|May 20-22||$1,110 buy-in||MSPT Deadwood (Silverado)|
|Total prize pool:||$589,320||($100K GTD)|
|Final table results:||1st place:||Gerald Cunniff $94,843|
|2nd place:||Mike Estes $75,000|
|3rd place:||Ron Kohner $46,583|
|4th place:||Wesley Cannon $35,231|
|5th place:||Joshuan Kieval $26,423|
|6th place:||Michael Williams $20,062|
|7th place:||Alex Smith $15,658|
|8th place:||Kevin Ellis $12,233|
— JerryC (@Jerryc11_) May 23, 2022
Off to Vegas for MSPT
The Mid-States Poker Tour goes a bit further west in June to bring two prime events to the Venetian. From there, it’s back to Colorado and Iowa, with many more stops lined up through the end of October.
|Season 13 Stops||Dates||MSPT Main Event|
|Venetian (Las Vegas)||Jun 6-10||$1,600 MSPT Venetian ($2M GTD)|
|Venetian (Las Vegas)||Jun 12-16||$1,100 MSPT Venetian ($1.5M GTD)|
|Bally’s Black Hawk (CO)||Jul 6-17||Showdown Series ($400K GTD)|
|Riverside (IA)||Jul 21-24||$1,100 Iowa State Championship ($300K GTD)|
|Grand Falls (SD)||Aug 19-21||$1,100 Main Event ($100K GTD)|
|Venetian (Las Vegas)||Sep 3-5||TBD|
|Sycuan San Diego (CA)||Sept 15-25||US Poker Championship ($400K GTD)|
|Firekeepers (MI)||Oct 13-16||$1,100 Main Event ($1M GTD)|
|Silverado (SD)||Oct 21-23||$1,100 Deadwood Shootout ($100K GTD)|
|Riverside (IA)||Oct 28-30||$1,100 Main Event ($300K GTD)|