The Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) bestbet Jacksonville Main Event – a tournament that attracted 459 entries and created a $445,230 prize pool – came to an end on Sunday night after Arthur Andrade from Tampa, Florida finished as the last man standing to capture the $112,990 first-place prize and the championship trophy.
Prior to the win, Andrade had just $14,452 in live tournament earnings, all in 2015. His best previous cash $8,659 for a third-place finish in the 2015 Coco Poker showdown Event #2: $125 No-Limit Hold'em Deep Stack, and now he finds himself with six-figures in his bank account and a MSPT trophy on his mantle.
At the start of Day 2, 78 players returned to action, which meant 33 needed to hit the rail before the money was reached. Among those to leave empty handed were MSPT Pro Matt Alexander. Bowing out in 46th place was local player Nguyen "Wayne" Phan, who got his last 24,000 all in preflop holding ace-king only to fall to Christopher Brauch, who held ace-jack and paired his kicker on the flop.
From there, the in-the-money finishes came quick and included the likes of World Series of Poker bracelet winner Andrew Badecker (39th - $2,211), poker pro Maurice Hawkins (22nd - $2,742), two-time WSOP Circuit ring winner Tripp Kirk (21st - $2,742), Day 1a chip leader Talesh Patel (20th - $2,742), the last woman in the field, Diane Casino (17th - $3,494), and Michael "Carwash" Schneider (15th - $4,422).
The final table, which was live streamed with hole cards on a 30-minute delay, was a slow affair, but eventually the bust outs came beginning with Joe DiChario, who had won Event #4: $350 No-Limit Hold'em Bounty for $8,098 less than a week earlier, and followed by Danny Romano, who exited in ninth place.
After Atlanta's David Jackson took his leave in eighth place – the result of his king-ten failing to get their against Andrade's pocket nines – the final table lost one of its biggest names in 24-year-old poker pro Blake Whittington, who topped a field of 690 entries to win Event #1 $350 Regional for $45,492 just a week prior.
Whittington grew short, and in Level 28 (30,000/60,000/10,000), action folded to him in the small blind and he shoved his last 180,000 holding the , which Andrade called from the big with the . Whittington needed some major help, but it never came as the board ran out a lackluster .
Brauch, a poker dealer at bestbet Orange Park, was the next to go after his ace-jack lost a race to the pocket sevens of Jermaine "Lion" Gerlin, and then local cash game player John O'Neal fell in fifth place.
From there, a series of big hands resulted in Gerlin going from chip leader to out in fourth place, which was followed by the elimination Kenneth Kemple in third place. That set up a heads-up match between Andrade and local player David Mitchell, and their battle proved to be a back-and-forth affair with each player holding the chip leader on numerous occasions.
In what would be the last hand of the tournament, which happened in Level 33 (100,000/200,000/30,000), Mitchell got his last 2.7 million all in preflop holding king-queen against the pocket fours of Andrade. Mitchell paired his queen on an all-spade flop, but Andrade reclaimed the lead when a fourth spade on the turn gave him a flush. Mitchell had a redraw to a full house, but he failed to hit it as an ace blanked on the river.
Congratulations to Arthur Andrade, the 2016 MSPT bestbet Jacksonville champion!
Season 7 of the MSPT will continue March 12-20 at Meskwaki Casino in Tama, Iowa. The stop will host a $300,000 Guaranteed Main Event from March 18-20. For more information, visit msptpoker.com.