The MSPT has set yet another record, this time for largest-ever major ($1,000+ buy-in) poker tournament in Iowa.
The 2017 MSPT Iowa State Poker Championship drew 496 entries (226 from Day 1A, 270 1B), the most the MSPT has ever drawn to Meskwaki in 17 visits (the previous record of 466 was set earlier this year in the #MSPT100, the tour’s 100th ever Main Event).
On Sunday night, 29-year-old Carter Myers went wire-to-wire at a boisterous and entertaining final table to capture the title and $115,109 first-place prize, a new career-high score for the man from Michigan.
“It feels good right now, I really don’t know how to describe it,” said Myers, who traveled to Iowa with his longtime girlfriend, Alisha, and their two-year old daughter. “Obviously, I’ve played a ton of tournaments, got a lot of seconds, so whenever you win one it feels pretty good.”
Prior to the win, Myers had $452,781 in tournament earnings dating back to 2010. His prior best of $112,420 came when he finished runner-up in a WSOP Circuit Main Event back in February 2014. It marked the second win of the year for Myers, who has a WSOP Circuit ring on his résumé. Back in March, he won the Chicago Poker Classic Event #6: $600 NLH 6-Max for $28,742. He also had three prior MSPT cashes including a 2016 final table at Tropicana Evansville (8th for $9,234).
“More poker tournaments,” Myers said when asked what he’ll do with the prize money. “I love the MSPTs so I’ll be at as many as I can.”
Day 2 began with 96 returning players, but with just 45 of them slated to get paid more than half the field would leave empty handed. They included former MSPT champs Dan “DQ” Hendrickson, Ken Komberec, and Ken Pates.
On the bubble, action folded to Brian Weipert in the small blind and he raised enough to put Nikki Nelson, who was sitting with 25,000 in the big, to the test. She opted to call off and the two waited until action completed at the other tables before tabling their hands.
Nelson was way out in front, but the 10♣8♠Q♥ flop made things interesting by giving Weipert an open-ended straight draw. The 9♦ turn completed it, and suddenly Nelson found herself in need of a jack to stay alive. It wasn’t meant to be though as the 10♠ bricked on the river to send Nelson out in 46th place.
With that, the remaining 45 players were guaranteed a minimum payday of $2,398. The in-the-money bust outs came quick and included Dustin Dirksen (39th - $2,398), last woman standing Jay Philips (28th - $2,878), MSPT champ Kou Vang (24th - $3,597), 2017 Minnesota State Poker Champ Jon Hanner (18th - $4,625), and MSPT Season 7 Player of the Year Rich Alsup (11th $8,154).
A double elimination on the final table bubble saw just nine players make it to the live-streamed final. At the time, Myers held the chip lead, which he would maintain throughout. He kicked things off by looking down at pocket kings and eliminating the short-stacked Nick Manganaro, who had shoved with queen-ten.
Not long after, Jason Ramos, who was looking to go back-to-back at the MSPT Meskwaki after winning March’s #MSPT100, exited in eighth place after running pocket tens into the kings of Chicago’s Allan Cutler, who aimed to bring the fun back to poker ala the WSOP’s John Hesp.
Josh Reichard, the last former MSPT champ in the field, was the next to go after jamming pocket threes into the pocket queens of Josh Smith, and then Day 1A chip leader “Big” Al Hedin followed him out the door when his Big Slick failed to get there against Myers’ pocket sevens.
Cutler then cut down Smith in fifth place – the result of the latter’s ace-eight suited not getting lucky against the former’s cowboys – and Kurt Bales, the last Iowa player in the field, took his leave after his pocket fives fell to Myers’ ace-king.
Keith Block, who earlier in the year finished runner-up in the MSPT Golden Gates Main Event, was bounced in third place, which earned him a spot atop the MSPT Season 8 Kimo Sabe Mezcal Player of the Year Leaderboard with 2,500 points. The aforementioned Ramos is second with 2,250 points.
Myers took a decent chip lead into heads-up play against Cutler, who genuinely seemed to be having a good time. Throughout the day, he was cracking jokes, showing cards, and entertaining players and staff.
“Definitely enjoyable and fun whenever someone’s having a good time, making people laugh,” Myers said of his opponent. “It beats everyone sitting there straight faced not talking.”
In the final hand of the tournament, which was Hand #99 of the final table, Myers shoved the button holding ten-nine and Cutler called off with ace-king. Cutler held through both the flop and turn, but a ten on the river ended his run in second place.
As for Myers, he prevailed over a tough final table to take the 2017 MSPT Iowa State Poker Championship title to Michigan.
“There were definitely some tough players here, so I had to watch what I was doing a little bit,” Myers said of going wire to wire. “The cards pretty much played themselves, I feel like, so I got pretty lucky.”