This was the first stop ever for the BLUFF Mid-States Poker Tour at Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells and the first major event of any kind at the Baraboo, Wisconsin casino. Ho-Chunk did not disappoint, they put on a fantastic show and provided players with tremendous hospitality.
“I was really impressed with how things went here this week.” Stated poker pro Chris “Fox” Wallace. “This is a perfect location and could definitely be a match made in heaven. The players here are passionate and craving this.”
“This week was a blast.” Said guest final table commentator Mark “POker HO” Kroon. “This was my first MSPT event and I couldn’t have been more impressed. I loved the structure and how well things are run. Hopefully the MSPT will be back soon and often.”
The star of the show was Joe Illingworth. A teacher from Newton, Iowa, Illingworth invested only $90 on his way to winning the BLUFF Mid-States Poker Tour event at Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells where he turned that into $65,742!
Illingworth finished in the top three of ten players in a $90 sit-no-go to advance to the $250 multi-table qualifier where he finished in the top 20% - earning a $1,100 Main Event seat.
From there, Illingworth dominated Day 1B and emerged as the overall Day 1 chip leader with 255K. He played phenomenal throughout the entire tournament. Illingworth arrived to the final table as chip leader with 901K.
The final table was one of the toughest we’ve seen yet, only one player was eliminated during the first two hours of play – that being Erik Burton from Onalaska, Wisconsin who was making his second BLUFF MSPT final table appearance. In July, Burton placed sixth at the MSPT Meskwaki event for $11,638. Every player at one point during this final tabled seemed to have a legitimate shot to win.
Almost an hour into final table play on a 5♥5♠7♥10♥ board, Burton got it all-in with 5♦A♠ against Tim Treffert who was holding 10♣10♦. Treffert held, sending Burton home with $5,400.
Illingworth battled through a few setbacks and some bad luck at the final table but woke up with pocket aces at a key moment. With eight players remaining, Derek Harvey shoved all-in from the two-seat with 4♦4♠. Chris Wallace then shoved from the five-seat with A♥Q♥. Chris “Fox” Wallace from St. Paul, Minnesota is a professional poker player, poker coach and widely respected theorist and author on the game.
Illingworth in the six-seat looked down and amazingly found aces. He had Harvey and Wallace covered when he made the call. Illingworth’s aces held, eliminating two players and creating a substantial stack for Joe to work with.
The female to make the deepest run was a housewife from Machesney Park, Illinois – Sunshine Williams. Williams’ husband won her a main event seat through a qualifier and she took advantage of the opportunity, finishing in sixth place for $10,566.
Lester Ray, a tavern owner – LR’s Place – from Rio, Wisconsin was the next to go. Ray had earned his Main Event seat through a $55 multi-table satellite. Ray shoved from under-the-gun with Q♥Q♠. Reggie Mims called with A♣K♦. Mims turned the K♠ and sealed it with the K♥ on the river.
The most charismatic player at the table was a Barber from Madison, Wisconsin - Reggie “OOOHHWEEE07” Mims. Mims would often talk through his hand with his opponent when heads-up in a pot. His talkative and entertaining demeanor seemed to get in the heads of his opponent. It was clear others didn’t enjoy playing pots with Mims, he earned the most walks at the table.
“I don’t care about the money, I just want to be famous!” Mims exclaimed. “I’ll bet any amount of money that I have the most fans watching the international broadcast at home of anyone at this table. I’m going to make this move for all my fans across the world. I would like to announce a raise.”
Eventually Mims would play a big pot against another Madison, WI resident – Tim Treffert. With the blinds at 30K/60K, Mims shoved all-in with 10♥10♠. Treffert called with A♦K♠. Treffert flopped the K♥ to win the flip. Mims was unable to spike a ten on the turn or river and left him short-stacked. Mims would be eliminated soon after with 2♥2♠ versus Illingworth’s K♥5♥ when the king flopped again. Mims earned $16,435 for his efforts.
That left Mike “WiscoMurray” Murray, Illingworth and Treffert battling for the title. Murray is a poker pro from Monona, Wisconsin with great success in live and online tournaments. Treffert’s daytime gig is as a Project Manager. All three players at one point held the chip lead during final table action.
“WiscoMurray” would pick up J♣J♠ in the small blind, he shoved all-in for over 600K. Treffert made the call from the big blind with A♣6♣. The flop was good to Treffert again, falling K♣A♥8♥. The turn landed 10♠ giving Murray a gut-shot straight draw as well. The 7♠ on the river would brick for Murray giving Treffert another big pot and sending Murray home in third for $22,305.
Treffert began heads-up action with a 3-2 chip lead over Illingworth, though the two exchanged blows and the chip lead several times.
The final table lasted nearly five hours and had 3,000 viewers online when Illingworth finally sealed the deal. Treffert shoved 4♥6♥ to put the pressure on Illingworth. Joe faced a tough decision and tank-called with 3♦3♠. The board ran A♣Q♣7♦10♥K♥ making Illingworth an MSPT champion.
“I had a lot of fun and the structure is phenomenal” said Champ Joe Illingworth. “I wasn’t too happy having to call with threes, but he had been pushing a lot all-in and I knew I had the best hand at that time. I just figured its time. I wanted to make sure I at least had the best hand going in.”
Illingworth’s win made him the third consecutive champ from the state of Iowa after Dan Sun of Cedar Rapids had won the previous two events.
The next stop for the BLUFF Mid-States Poker Tour will be in Quapaw, Oklahoma at Downstream Casino Resort, September 28 – October 7.
For upcoming BLUFF MSPT events and all MSPT details, visit www.msptpoker.com.