Jesse Spooner not only battled his way through a 296-runner field for his first ever major cash, but the Process Engineer from Easton, Missouri showed no sign of nerves or lack of experience at the LIVE worldwide final table broadcast on PokerNews.com en route to his first win! Spooner direct-bought his way into the main event and acknowledged that he doesn’t play poker often.
Spooner survived Day 1 with a below-average stack at 43,800 – placing him 65 of 90 advancing players. He arrived at the final table as the short stack with 9 big blinds, but doubled up early off Jason Sell to get him back in the game. As he accumulated more chips, he poured on the aggression to become the dominant chip leader.
Despite his minimal time on the felt, Spooner maneuvered through the final table like a seasoned pro. There appeared to be no doubt it was Spooner’s day as he looked to make quick work of Tom Tracy heads-up, starting with nearly a 9-1 chip lead.
Tom Tracy, @tboyassassin on Twitter, is a Supply Chain Manager out of Apple Valley, MN. This was his second career MSPT cash.
Tracy was not interested in going quietly. The two got it all-in on the very first hand of heads-up action - Spooner with 4♥4♦, Tracy holding Q♦J♠. The board ran 5♦10♣J♦Q♥Q♠ giving Tracy a much needed double up and new life.
Tracy played fantastic to fight all the way back, even becoming the chip leader at one point. Spooner was able to overcome the onslaught to take the chip lead once again. On the 140th hand of the final table with Spooner in the lead, the chips went all-in pre-flop. Tracy excitedly flipped up A♣K♦. Spooner reluctantly displayed his A♠4♣. The flop crushed Tracy’s bracelet hopes - 4♦7♦Q♣ - though he could still hit a king or a backdoor flush or straight draw. The 6♥ on the turn was no help and the 2♣ on the river sealed the deal for Spooner. Spooner would take home $81,060 for the win!
This event marked a sensational showing by Minnesota players in Iowa. Meskwaki Casino is located about 4 hours south of Minneapolis, so its no surprise to see a large Minnesota contingent in attendance.
12 of the 27 players who cashed and 6 of the 10 at the final table were from the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
Ryan “Hustler” Hartmann of Minneapolis moved into a tie for 3rd all-time in MSPT cashes as he accumulated his 6th. Hartmann finished 3rd for $27,503. His highest MSPT finish was runner-up at Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells in March for $41,949.
Jason Sell - @JasonTSell - of Plymouth, MN without a doubt ran the worst at the final table after arriving with the chip lead at 1.3 million. He had trouble getting a hand to hold up and was eventually sent home in 4th place with $20,260. This was Sell’s 3rd MSPT cash.
Jeff Bryan - @jeffthebeast – from Ft. Calhoun, NE has the largest career score of any players who were at the final table. Bryan placed 27th in the WSOP Main Event in 2007 for $333K. He would add another $17,370 to his bankroll at Meskwaki for his 5th place run.
Dan Schmidt of So. St. Paul, MN dominated Day 1 action, entering Day 2 as the overall chip leader. He had a bumpy road on Day 2 but still managed to make his way to the final 10. Schmidt grinded to a 6th place finish for $13,027.
Microelectronic Design Engineer Joe Matheson earned his 5th MSPT cash, 3rd final table and was looking for his 2nd career RF Moeller Diamond Championship bracelet. Matheson earned a win at MSPT Running Aces in 2010. His great run this time would end in 7th place for $11K.
There will be no break for the PokerNews MSPT this week as the team heads straight to Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells in Baraboo, WI for another big event! The prize pool reached $300K at this stop last time and the expectations are even higher this go-round! Check out www.msptpoker.com for event schedule and lodging details.