The Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) returned to Minnesota's Canterbury Park for the Winter Poker Classic and was headlined by the $1,100 buy-in, $400K GTD Main Event which was one to remember, as a total of 1,042 entries (241 from Day 1a; 324 from 1b; 477 from 1c) were tallied, which shattered the venue’s previous best field and generated a 1,009,240 prize pool.
On Sunday, 144 players returned for Day 2 action and after roughly 12 hours of play, it was Poker Power's Kyna England coming out on top to win the $186,709 top prize and her first MSPT title.
"This is my first significant win and I'm extremely proud of myself," England said. England has career cashes dating back only a few years according to The Hendon Mob, but won her first Circuit ring just before the poker world went on a standstill from the ongoing pandemic.
"During the pandemic I started teaching through Poker Power and throughout quarantine I made it my mission to study and get better," England stated. "I sharpened-up my game to teach the other ladies and I just believe that if you want to get better you will."
England has a very positive mindset and has lived up to her words. Since returning to live poker, she scored her largest career earning's after finishing third in the MSPT Riverside $1,100 Main Event for $73,782, then topped that mark just a few months later with another third-place finish in the Venetian World Poker Tour $5,000 Main Event for $448,755.
England's two third-place finishes earned her more than a half of a million dollars, but her win tonight is something she is very proud of.
"It feels really good to have a title, be a part of a club," she added, "Yeah I did win the Ladies Event for my first Circuit ring and that felt really good, but this is a significant win with a really large field, there were incredible players here and it just feels really good to win."
The emotion in England's eyes and voice after her win was uncanny, but she really came to Minnesota to chase the MSPT Player of the Year. "I almost didn't come here but I'm so close in the POY running and it's just a significant thing to win to say I'm the number one player of this season."
England has positioned herself well in the POY standings taking an 800-point lead over Cy Church with one stop left on the Season 12 schedule.
Jon Hanner entered the final table at the bottom of the chip counts but was able to get a pay jump after Aaron Frommgen departed ninth place after jamming ace-ten suited into Matt Mortfitt's pocket kings. Morfitt continued with his elimination spree and hooked Hanner shortly after in eighth place.
A few hands later, William Phillips hit the rail after jamming with suited connectors and was called by Angela Jordison holding a suited ace-ten. Jordison improved her lead after flopping an ace, but Phillips found a glimmer of hope turning a gutshot straight draw. Unfortunately for him, he bricked the river and departed in seventh place.
The next player to be sent home was Cody Espeseth, whose flopped top pair came up just short after England rivered a club flush. Next up on the chopping block was Jordison, who jammed ace-jack into England's Big Slick and failed to find a jack.
Four-handed play didn't last very long after Rory Linton squeezed from the big blind after Morfitt raised from the button and Andy Jenc called from the small blind. The paired board was checked to the river which brought three clubs and Morfitt pushed Jenc out of the pot with a bet of 2 million. Morfitt rolled over a queen-high flush and sent Linton's ace-jack home in fourth place for $63,582.
Three-handed action saw Morfitt hold a commanding chip lead and he extended it after he dropped Jenc in third place holding a dominating ace.
From there, Morfitt held a dominating 5:1 chip advantage but the heads-up match proved to be a battle as England secured an early double to chip away at Morfitt's chip lead. From there, she never looked back as she won pot-after-pot until she earned herself the MSPT trophy, along with a payday good for $186,709.