The MSPT returned to Minnesota's Running Aces Casino for the Minnesota Poker State Championship and the turnout didn't disappoint.
The $1,110 buy-in, $500K GTD Main Event was one to remember as a total of 885 entries (161 from Day 1a; 276 from 1b; 448 from 1c) were tallied generating a $856,950.
On Sunday, 103 players returned for Day 2 action, and after it was said and done, it was Minnesota native Marc Harrell, coming out on top to win the $167,105 top prize and his first MSPT title.
“Its a beautiful thing to accomplish,” said Harrell after his victory. “I’ve put 25-30 years in this game so it's been a long time coming.”
Harrell’s first-place victory was the icing on the cake, as he had nine MSPT Main Event cashes totaling $33,607 with one final table appearance before his victory on Sunday night, and he had a great time at the final table with his good friend.
“I just want to congratulate everyone who made it and my buddy Matt Alexander,” Harrell continued, “We’ve always talked about playing heads-up for a title and tonight we almost did it, but I guess we are just going have to try for it at the next one.”
With 90 slated to get paid, only 13 players needed to exit before players reached the money. Among those to leave empty-handed were Steve WazWaz, Terry Bender, William Vincent and Robert Schoonover, just to name a few.
Only one full level needed to pass before the hand-for-hand process began with Brad Lacombe's pocket aces being set up by Chris Murdoch's pocket nines to burst the bubble.
After Lacombe's Weapons of Mass Destruction blew up, the march to the final table began.
Among those to fall along the way, albeit with a payday included a list of MSPT Hall of Famers Matt Kirby (11th Place - $11,997), Rob WazWaz (19th Place - $7,198), Blake Bohn (29th Place - $3,771), Jason Seitz (45th Place - $3,085), Josh Reichard (64th Place - $2,399), and DQ Dan Hendrickson (85th Place - $2,228).
Final Table action
After Dodd's departure, it didn't take long for Jessica Anderson to get her short stack in the middle holding queen-jack and was called by Matt Alexander holding nine-seven.
Both players connected on the flop, but Alexander hit running sevens to make a full house and made her the first final table elimination.
Following Anderson's departure was Joe Larson who lost a race with Big Slick against Thai Dinh's pair of ladies.
Next on the chopping block was MSPT Deadwood champ Gerald Cunniff who got his chips in the middle with a suited ace-four but was called by Rory Linton who held a dominating ace-king, ending his Main Event in seventh place for $24,852.
Following Cunniff was MSPT Hall of Famer Kou Vang, who got his short stack in the middle holding a made hand of tens and was called by Rory Linton holding a suited ace-four.
The flop was unkind to Vang as it gave Linton top two-pair, ending Vang's Main Event run in sixth place for $32,564.
The very next hand saw another one of Minnesota's top dawgs get sent to the rail as Dinh's pocket sevens were unlucky against Alexander's pocket nines, and he went home with an extra $42,848 for his fifth-place finish.
Four-handed action lasted only lasted a few hands after Alexander jammed with king high from the small blind and Randy Bauer called off his short stack from the big blind with ten-high.
Bauer was unable to find a pair on the runout and made an exit in fourth place for $56,559.
Three-handed action saw Alexander holding almost half the chips in play but couldn’t seal the deal as him and Linton duked it out with Linton taking the last laugh as Alexander was set up in third place and took home $75,754 for his efforts.
From there, the heads-up match proved to be a battle as Harrell secured an early double to chip away at Linton's chip lead and turned the tides to take the lead himself.
The start of Level 33 saw the chips shuffle back-and-forth with Harrell taking the chip lead in the final level after he doubled with pocket queens against Linton’s pocket tens, and Linton made his second-place departure for $102,837 a few short hands later.
The MSPT continues April 27th - May 7th at San Diego's Sycuan Casino with a Showdown Series featuring $575,000 in guarantees with 16 trophy events on the schedule.
Side Event Results: