The Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) returned to Riverside Casino and hosted a $1,100 buy-in, $500K GTD Main Event which was definitely one to remember. A total of 1,094 entries (140 from Day 1a; 382 from 1b; 572 from 1c) were tallied, which surpassed the venue’s previous best field of 928 entries last July and generated a 1,059,680 prize pool. On Sunday, 137 players returned for Day 2 action, and after roughly 12 hours of action, it was Illinois native Dan Bekavac, coming out on top to win the $193,391 top prize and his third MSPT title. "I feel relieved," Bekavac sated after his win.
Bekavac started the final table third in chips while Jamie Allen sat down as the chip leader and the two ended up duking it out in a heads-up match that saw Allen hold a 2:1 chip advantage. "I had to play a different style during heads-up and it's not my usual style. I had to play lowball and out position him because he (Allen) would call everything." The heads-up battle came down to three crucial all-in's, where Bekavac was able to win each of them to secure his third MSPT Main Event Title, being the third person ever to do so. " I just want to say thank you to everyone who came from Chicago to watch me play today and to everyone who was watching at home, I love you guys," Bekavac said in his closing statement.
With 117 slated to get paid, twenty players needed to exit before players reached the money. Among those to leave empty-handed were DJ Buckley, Eric Moon, Christopher Kidd, and Nathan Kewney, just to name a few. The tournament never reached the hand-for-hand process as both Phil Mader & Robert Steinman were eliminated in the same hand and Mader became the official bubble holding fewer chips. After the bubble burst, the march to the final table began. Among those to fall along the way, albeit with a payday, were MSPT Hall of Famer Rob Wazwaz (10th - $6,863), along with MSPT Champion's Josh Reichard (13th - $11,656), Taylor Howard (23rd - $7,205), Timothy Gundrum (41st - $3,496), Craig Trost (48th - $3,179), Dan Goepel (60th - $2,861), and Keith Heine (75th - $2,649).
The final table started with the short-stacks catching doubles until Joe Hindman's pocket sevens failed to stay lucky against Bekavac's ace-ten. Joe Landazzi was next to have his luck run out after his pocket eights were counterfeited by Jeff Fielder's ten-eight on the river. The final table misfortune continued after Miroslav Semanisin's pocket aces were flushed by Allen's king-jack and he departed in seventh place shortly after. Steven Sullivan was next on the chopping block. After coming into the final table at the bottom of the counts, he was able to ladder up until his big slick lost a race to Fielder's pocket sixes and made his exit in sixth place.
Another player able to climb the pay ladder was WSOP bracelet winner Chad Holloway, who made his departure in fifth place for $49,804 after his ace-eight of demands failed to stay ahead against Allen's seven-five of diamonds. Four-handed play went didn't last very long after Cero Zuccarello's pocket aces were flushed by Allen's suited king-jack. Zuccarello was left short and made an exit in fourth place for $66,865 a few hands later. Three-handed action saw Allen hold a commanding chip lead and he extended it after he sent Fielder home in third place holding a dominating ace-king against fielder's ace-queen. From there, the heads-up match proved to be a battle as Bekavac started the battle down a 2:1 dog but was able to win a few races to secure his third MSPT trophy and payday good for $193,931.