MSPT Hosts Popular Events at Venetian in Vegas

MSPT Hosts Popular Events at Venetian in Vegas

Poker tours have been cautious to return to live tournament action. Poker itself was the last game to return to most land-based casinos, and most poker rooms offered cash games only. Considering capacity limitations and travel dangers amidst the coronavirus pandemic, few tours (and casinos) believed they could host safe and profitable tournaments.

The Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) decided to give it a go. It was the first live tour operator in the United States to offer a large poker event since the pandemic ripped across the country and closed every casino and card room in mid-March.

Grand Falls Casino in Iowa set up one MSPT Main Event for August 28-30. Not only did the tournament succeed, it set a new record with a total of 518 entries for the $1,100 buy-in event. The resulting prize pool of $500,960 far surpassed the $150K guarantee.

That success prompted the MSPT to take it to Las Vegas.

Series with Two MSPT Events

The Venetian on the Las Vegas Strip has become famous for its DeepStack Extravaganza Poker Series, which ran several times a year before the pandemic. Often in more recent times, the series brought in the MSPT to host its Main Event.

This time, the Venetian and MSPT were so confident that players wanted to compete that they set up two MSPT events in the 52-event series.

The first one was a $1,100 buy-in MSPT event with two starting days: Friday, November 13 and Saturday, November 14. They placed a $200K guarantee on the prize pool and put up an official MSPT trophy and coin for the winner.

The second was a $1,600 buy-in MSPT, this one with three starting days: Thursday, November 19 through Saturday, November 21. That tournament had a $400K guarantee, along with a trophy and gold coin for the last player standing.

PokerNews was on the spot to report live.

Main Event 1 for $1,100 Buy-In

The first starting day alone delivered 485 entries, already exceeding the $200K guarantee. The night ended with 62 players and Alan Findlay in the lead. Day 1B added another 638 entries for this result:

Total entries: 1,123

Total prize pool: $1,089,310

Brian Heeb led the group of 84 players finishing that day and took the overall chip lead.

The 148 survivors returned to the tables for Day 2, though only the top 128 players were paid. As play moved forward, some of those payouts went to Jacqueline Burkhart, Ryan Hughes, Aaron Massey, Matt Stout, Brian Heeb for 51st place, and Alan Findlay for 36th place.

Ultimately, Mike Shin bubbled the final table and took home $14,706 for ninth place. Jesse Vilchez led the final table of eight players, followed by Abraham Hichman, Landon Tice, and Sara Stohler.

Andrew Rodgers had been one of the shortest stacks and was the first to bust, and David Larson followed. Landon Tice busted Byung Shin in seventh place and then catapulted into the chip lead. Tice then ousted Hichman in fifth place, though Brandon Lombardo soon doubled through Tice.

Soon after, Tice eliminated Stohler in fourth place and Vilchez in third, taking 21.1 million chips into heads-up play against the 7.35 million of Lombardo. The latter doubled and chipped up, eventually moving into the lead, but Tice took it back in a big double-up. Lombardo then pushed his last 2.4 million chips all in with 10-9, but Tice had Q-9 and won the tournament.

1st place:  Landon Tice ($201,529)

2nd place:  Brandon Lombardo ($135,074)

3rd place:  Jesse Vilchez ($91,502)

4th place:  Sara Stohler ($62,091)

5th place:  Abraham Hichman ($40,304)

6th place:  Byung Shin ($30,501)

7th place:  David Larson ($22,876)

8th place:  Andrew Rodgers ($17,429)

Main Event 2 for $1,600 Buy-In

Next up was the Main Event with a bigger buy-in. It delivered 252 entries on the first of three starting days. The second starting day brought another 492 entries into action. Day 1C put another 323 entries into the mix, but registration remained open into Day 2.

There were 326 returning players on Day 2, along with another 170 entries. That put the final numbers at:

Total entries: 1,239

Total prize pool: $1,771,770

Obviously, the $400K guarantee far underestimated the interest in the event and players’ willingness to mask up, take their chances, and play some live tournaments.

Not long after the dinner break, Michael Rossitto departed and burst the money bubble, guaranteeing the final 128 players at least $3,189. Some of those who did cash included Shannon Shorr, Aaron Van Blarcum, Katie Lindsay, Ben Keeline, and Landon Tice in 68th place. Only 63 players made it through, and John Lytle was the chipleader.

Day 3 paid out players like Aaron Massey, David Moshe, and Ralph Massey. John Lytle exited in 17th place for $11,871. And ultimately, Daniel Kusnerak busted in ninth place for $23,919 on the final table bubble.

Salim Admon was the far-and-away chipleader when the final table began, and Korey Payne was in a distant second, followed by David Poces, Martin Zamani, Dale Eberle, Satoshi Tanaka, Jorden Helstern, and Randy Froelich.

Eberle doubled through Admon, but the latter then eliminated Eberle in eighth place. Froelich chipped up enough to bust Helstern, but Admon took most of those chips. Tanaka doubled through Payne and then busted Poces in sixth place. Payne climbed through Admon, while Zamani eliminated Tanaka in fifth and then Froelich in fourth. Zamani doubled through Admon to take the lead, but Payne doubled through Zamani. That left Zamani short and out in third place, courtesy of Payne.

Payne took 31.5 million chips into heads-up play against Admon and his 5,575,000. The short stack doubled quickly, though, and then doubled again. But it wasn’t enough. Admon tried again with Q-9 on a K-Q-7-6 board, but Payne showed K-6. The river blanked and gave Payne the victory.

1st place:  Korey Payne ($327,773)

2nd place:  Salim Admon ($219,699)

3rd place:  Martin Zamani ($148,829)

4th place:  Randy Froelich ($100,991)

5th place:  Satoshi Tanaka ($65,555)

6th place:  David Poces ($49,610)

7th place:  Jorden Helstern ($37,207)

8th place:  Dale Eberle ($28,343)


About Jennifer Newell

Jennifer began writing about poker while working at the World Poker Tour in the mid-2000s. Since then, her freelance writing career has taken her from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back to her hometown of St. Louis, where she now lives with her two dogs. She continues to follow the poker world as she also launches a new subscription box company and finishes her first novel. Jennifer has written for numerous publications including and has followed the US poker and gaming market closely for the last 15 years. Follow Jen on Twitter

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