The first stop of the PokerNews Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) Season 5 at Running Aces Harness Park in Columbus, MN came to a close on Sunday as Mark Sandness defeated MSPT Team Pro Blake Bohn to capture the title, $90,913 in prize money, and a brand new MSPT trophy.
For Sandness, who is primarily a cash-game player, the score is nearly double the biggest of his tournament career — a $46,910 first-place finish in the Great Minnesota Freeze Out last month. Sandness outlasted 353 other entrants to take down the tournament.
A total of 110 hopefuls returned for Day 2 action on Sunday, and play took off at a fast pace from the start, with about a third of the field shown the door in the first couple of hours. Derek Crooks, David Gonia, and Lance Harris were among the early victims, while Jeff Fielder, Rodger Johnson, Matt Kirby, John Hayes, and Marc Powers followed soon after.
The bubble burst at about 3 p.m. with the elimination of Donald Winter. It happened in Level 15 (6,000/12,000/1,000) when Winter got his stack in holding AxQx and was up against two opponents, one who held 8x8x and the other QxQx. The board ran out clean, and Winter hit the rail in 37th place. His elimination guaranteed the remaining players a $1,715 payday.
The eliminations seemed to come even faster after that. Eddie Bryant (30th - $1,715), Todd Breyfogle (28th - $1,715), Ric Cacho (23rd - $2,744), and Adam Dahlin (16th - $3,430) were among the players eliminated in the money as the field was whittled down to the final-table bubble. During hand-for-hand play with 11 players left, Mike "Schneids" Schneider was busted and Jim Lawrence was eliminated during concurrent hands at different tables. Just like that, the final table was set.
Final-table play lasted just four hours, as the rising blinds combined with a table of aggressive players like Bohn and Peixin Liu pushed the pace of play. Jeff Petronak was the first to fall, followed by Gennady Shimelfarb.
Day 1a leader Dustin Dirksen then busted Mike Pfautz in seventh place, which was followed by theelimination of Jon Wurden in sixth.
Dirksen then ran his king-jack into the queens of Bohn to bust in fifth, while Liu, who began the final table as chip leader, fell in fourth when hetried and failed to get Sandness to fold a dominating hand.
Three-handed play took awhile compared to the rest of the eliminations, but Day 1b chip leader Tyler Caspers eventually dropped out when he shoved with the Q♥9♦ and Bohn woke up with the A♠Q♣. After that, heads-up play lasted just a few hands, as friends Bohn and Sandness weren't shy about getting their chips in the middle.
In Level 21 (40,000/80,000/10,000), Bohn and Sandness got all in before the flop, and the following hands were revealed:
Team MSPT Pro Blake Bohn
"Sorry, Mark," Bohn said, eliciting laughter from the crowd. Bohn's prediction didn't pan out though, as the board ran out A♥J♦3♦8♠10♦, keeping Sandness' sixes best and doubling him to the chip lead.
A few hands later, Sandness bet 200,000 in a raised pot after the 6♣6♦3♠ flop. Bohn shoved, and Sandness called.
The dealer burned and turned the A♠, giving Sandness an unbeatable full house.
"You turned me dead," Bohn said accurately. Indeed, the Q♣ river was a mere footnote, and Sandness claimed victory. Bohn took home $49,741 for his runner-up finish.
One stop is down, but there are still plenty more to be had on Season 5 of the MSPT. Remember, PokerNews will be live reporting every event, so be sure to stay tuned right here all season long. The next $1,100 Main Event will take place this weekend at the Belle of Baton Rouge, which marks the MSPT’s first trip south.