The first Regional Event of 2020 for the Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) set the bar high with 1,087 entries over four days, a Colorado state poker record, and 138 players found their way into Day 2 Sunday with their eyes set on the title.
However, only one person could claim the trophy and that person was Erasmus Morfe, who finished 19th in the 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event. Morfe found his way into Day 2 on the final flight of the tournament after bagging a stack of 208,000. From there, he cruised through most of the final day without any big swings in either direction.
When the final three tables were reached, Morfe had a stack of 590,000, which was just under 12 big blinds. He wound up getting as low as two big blinds during the final two tables before finding a few doubles to enter the final table in the middle of the pack.
Day 2 Action
It took around an hour of play before the 138 remaining players became 117 when Ian Glycenfer and Cher Herr split the 117th-place prize after being eliminated from the tournament on the same hand on the bubble. The tournament’s half-hour levels kept the blinds escalating and players responded accordingly with chips flying all over the room throughout the afternoon.
Players dropped at a furious pace as players like Chris Tryba (91st place), Sammy Aweida (89th place), Day 1c chip leader Nader Wahdan (60th place), Schuyler Thornton (46th pace), and Kevin Eyster (43rd place) found themselves out of chips.
Day 1a and overall Day 1 chip leader Luis Rosa (19th place) started hot out of the gate, taking 641,000 up to over 1 million before the money was reached. He remained one of the largest stacks in the room as play continued, with Day 1b chip leader Abhinav Parakh (16th place), Behrouz Keshtavar (11th place), and eventual runner-up Alex Kotliarsky also among the largest stacks in the room.
Noel Diaz then stole the spotlight for some time. He took a stack of 1.3 million when 27 remained up to 9.26 million by the time the final table was reached. Diaz enjoyed a heater that saw him score a quick double and prior to knocking out several players, constantly turning up with big hands and watching them hold.
However, the tides turned when the final table was reached. Diaz saw Wayne Lee play back at him for a sizeable pot that didn’t make it past the turn and then doubled Stuart Brown on the very next hand. Less than a level later, Kotliarsky was the one threatening for and eventually overtaking the chip lead as Diaz continued his downward trajectory.
As for eliminations, Neil Warren and Phil Gioia entered the final table short and were the first two to go. Gioia found a double, but it would not be enough as he lost a coin flip with ace-king to Kotliarsky’s pocket nines to bust. The pot gave Kotliarsky the chip lead and he would hold it until heads-up play after further expanding that hand just moments later when his pocket aces held versus Eddy Konarske’s open-ended straight draw after chips got in on the turn.
Levels continued to escalate and all of a sudden Diaz found himself as the shortest stack of the tournament with six left. He made his departure shortly thereafter when Kotliarsky knocked him out, and play went on from there for another full level before Benjamin Guzman got short and eventually also fell to Kotliarsky. A few minutes later, the short-stacked Stuart Brown became the next to fall after his ace-three couldn’t hold against Morfe’s jack-ten suited.
It wasn’t long after that before Lee bowed out in third place after getting his last seven big blinds in on the flop and losing to Morfe, who called with an open-ended straight flush draw that filled up to the nuts to take the tournament into heads-up play. Kotliarsky had a slight chip lead over Morfe and the two agreed to modify the payouts so that both players could lock up $43,000.
From there, the heads-up match lasted no more than 15 minutes with Morfe taking the chip lead before the two got stacks all in preflop with Morfe’s ace-ten suited holding up against Kotliarsky’s ace-five offsuit to earn him the MSPT trophy and payday good for $53,048.
The MSPT will return to Golden Gates for a $1,100 Main Event April 13-19. Click here for a look at the schedule.