The $1,600 MSPT Poker Bowl Main Event has concluded as a resounding success. With each event’s prize pool guarantee at least doubled and a total of 721 entrants coming out to play the final event that concluded the week’s festivities.
After the dust settled, it was high stakes pro James Romero adding another title to his already illustrious resume. “It feels great man, I finally have a lion trophy,” the newest MSPT champion joked about his new statue he can take home with him. Romero is no stranger to winning giant tournaments, as the poker pro now holds over $6,000,000 in lifetime live poker earnings. “I’ve been a poker pro for 15 years, a live pro for about 5 of those years,” when talking about his background in high stakes poker tournaments. “I now have a trophy from every hotel and it feels good man.”
Having been a pro for so many years and played buy-ins of all sizes, he discussed some of his strategy and preparation for this tournament. “You don’t always have to be as balanced in lower stakes tournaments,” he mentioned when talking about the difference between these at $25,000 buy-ins. “You can just bet what your hand wants to bet.”
When asked if he was going to follow the different MSPT stops, he responded “I mostly just play in vegas, so I’ll play all of the stops here at Venetian.” The newest champion takes home his trophy as well as $171,167 for his first place finish.
Final Table Results
Final Day Action
The Day started fast and furious, with many bagging just around the starting stack in the tournament and not surviving more than one level into the day. By the time play got to 27 left, the stacks were so lopsided that the bustouts kept coming at a fast pace. Players like Brian Hastings (27th-$6,165), last event’s fourth place finisher Ankush Mandavia (26th-$6,165), Tracey Hill (18th-$9,966), Craig Mason (15th-$11,610), and MSPT champion Gerald Cunniff (11th-$13,254) all finished just outside the final table. Camille Brown became the last player to not finish at the final table, when her ace-ten of clubs missed both the flush and straight draws to beat Reg Powell’s pocket threes. She ended her run in tenth place for $17,261.
Final Table Action
The first casualty of the final table was seen very quickly as Matthew Stone bluffed all in on ten-high board with a gutshot to the wheel, only for Zach Taylor to call him off with top pair. The turn and river just paired the board, and Stone ended his run in ninth place for $17,261.
Spiro Lempesis found himself laddering up many spots throughout the end of the day. Sitting as one of the shortest stacks from 27 down, Spiro found his way to the final table with just over 6 big blinds. He moved in his final chips with ace-ten, only for Matthew McEwan to call him with nine-five suited and flop a flush. Lempesis finished his run in eighth place for $21,781.
Reg Powell found himself ending his run in seventh place after two hands sent him out the door. The first was where he doubled up James Romero who held pocket kings while Powell held two jacks. The following hand was where he found himself calling down against Ha Duong’s bet on the king-high flop and shove on the turn with pocket queens, only to see Duong win with ace-king, which gave Duong the chip lead and saw Powell collect $27,946 for his efforts.
Matthew McEwen was the next to go in sixth place. After knocking out Lempesis, he moved in his final eleven big blinds from first position with king-nine suited, only for Rob WazWaz right next to him to wake up with ace-queen, call him and hold. McEwen wished his tablemates luck and then collected $38,347 for his efforts.
Despite holding the chip led for a chunk of the final table, Rob WazWaz was the next to go. He doubled up Ha Duong when Duong flopped a set against WazWaz top pair, and he later moved all in with pocket fours while Duong woke up with pocket queens. WazWaz was unable to hit a four to survive and The MSPT hall of famer ended his run at his second MSPT final table this week in fifth place for a final total of $51,777.
Duong was unable to keep the momentum going despite his efforts. He dwindled down to eleven big blinds and moved his final chips into the center from the button with king-four offsuit only for Donovan to wake up with Ace-jack offsuit in the big blind and call. The four on the flop was followed by an eight on the turn and the Day 1B chip leader ended his run in second place for $68,110.
What followed was a jockeying battle of chip domination as each player rotated in their turn for the chip lead. It seemed like a Mark Fink versus James Romero heads up battle was destined to happen with Donovan falling to the short stack in the chip counts. However one fateful hand changed that. Fink raised over Romero’s small blind call with king-nine suited and flopped himself a flush draw. After putting in many chips on the flop, the turn ace gave Romero top pair as he was holding ace-eight suited. All the chips got in on the turn and Fink missed his flush draw, giving Romero 75% of the chips in play, while start of day chip leader Mark Fink ended another impressive MSPT run in third place for a career best score of $95,537.
Zach Donovan had a swingy day at the final table after enjoying both the highs of the chip lead, and lows of the short stack. Coming into heads up he was looking at a 5:1 deficit in chips against Romero, but one fateful double up with king-queen against Romero’s ace-nine saw a change in fortunes and he was closer in chips to Romero. After some discussions, a deal was made where Romero would take the win for $171,167 along with the trophy, while Donovan took home $150,000 for his second place finish for his best MSPT score ever.
Congratulations to James Romero on his first MSPT trophy and win for $171,167.