The Mid-States Poker Tour at Running Aces saw Peixin Liu best a field of 328 entries to claim the coveted trophy and $85,498 in prize money. Liu is a previous MSPT Champion, having won the Canterbury Park event in Shakopee, Minnesota in December of 2014; as a result, he becomes just the fifth player in history to win two MSPT titles. Furthermore, Liu has now cashed seven times on the MSPT for $300,509 in earnings, which makes him the tour's all-time money winner.
Day 2 started with 61 returning players, and the field lost 25 before making the money. Among the more notable players to fall included MSPT Pros Matt Kirby and Matt Alexander, as well as Kenny Fleming and Cody Lindquist. The bubble officially burst when Nicholas Revello was knocked out in 37th place in Level 18.
Some notable players that were eliminated in the money but before the final table included Erick Wright ($1,963), Mark Hodge ($1,963), Rich Alsup ($1,963), Aaron Johnson ($2,217), Kuo Vang($3,404), Nancy Anderson ($3,404), Jonathan Hanner ($4,117), and John Reading ($4,117), who busted on the final table bubble in 11th place.
The first to fall at the final table was Mike Gantzer, who was eliminated in 10th place. Gantzer had lost a big hand after he doubled up Derek Lesniak when his A♣10♣ failed to improve against Lesniak's 5♥5♣. After that hand, Gantzer was left with only two big blinds. A few hands later,Gantzer found himself all in and was called by four players. His ace-queen failed to improve againstScott Johnson's Q♣J♦ after Johnson had hit a jack on the flop.
Clayton Warner was then eliminated in ninth place by Ben Marsh, the former getting it in with the A♥J♣ versus the latter's 6♦6♥. Warner flopped trip jacks when the J♠J♦8♣ fell, but unfortunately for him Marsh turned a boat when the 6♣ spiked. The river was a blank and Warner was sent home with a $6,333 payday.
Shortly thereafter, on a board reading Q♠10♣7♦, Muneer Ahmed shoved all in and was called by Liu. Ahmed had flopped an open-ended straight holding the K♥J♠ but failed to hit any of his outs. Liu’s pair of tens with the A♥10♥ was enough to send Ahmed home just moments before the player’s first break of the final table.
From there, Lesniak shoved all in from the small blind and Jon Maras quickly called off in the big blind. Maras was ahead holding the 5♣5♦ against Lesniak’s 8,, but that changed when Lesniak hit a six on the flop to send Maras out the door in seventh place.
Johnson was then eliminated in sixth place after shoving all in with the A♦J♠ and getting called by Liu’s K♥Q♥. Johnson was ahead but that all changed when the flop came down K♠7♥4♠. The 10♣ turn and K♦ river sealed the deal for Liu, and Johnson was sent home.
Not long after, Dennis Stevermer was eliminated in fifth place when he shoved with pocket sevens but failed to hold against Lesniak’s ace-king when the board ran out K♥6♦5♦5♠K♠. Stevermer would take home $18,683 for his efforts.
Shortly before busting in fourth place, Marsh had doubled through DJ Buckley, but a little while later Marsh shoved all in with the A♣Q♦ and was up against Liu’s J♣J♦. The board ran out Q♠10♠9♠K♥A♥ to give Liu a straight, and that was all she wrote for Marsh.
Buckley was eliminated in thirdrd soon after Marsh's departure. Facing a raise of 125,000 in the small blind from Lesniak, Buckley shoved all in from the big blind holding the A♥Q♥. Lesniak called with the A♦3♥ and hit a three on the flop. Buckley never improved and was eliminated from play.
Heads-up play lasted less than an hour. In what would ultimately be the final hand, Liu raised to 200,000, Lesniak reraised all in, and Liu asked for a count before eventually making the call.
The board ran out J♣8♣8♥8♠Q♣, giving Liu a full house and sending Lesniak home in second place with a $47,499 consolation prize.
Meanwhile, the win vaulted Liu into second place in the MSPT/Holm Audio Player of the Year points race. The MSPT next heads to FireKeepers Casino in Battle Creek, Michigan from October 10-18 for the Michigan State Poker Championship, which features a $200,000 guarantee. For more information visit msptpoker.com.