For the third time this year, The MSPT has made a home at Sycuan Hotel and Casino resort. After a long series that included 18 trophy events, the prestigious United States Poker Championship has come to a close. A total of 404 entrants came out to play and smashed the $300,000 guarantee set on the prize pool. Only 45 players were assured a payout today and after 13 levels of play today, a winner was crowned.
At Sycuan in January of this year and just three tables left in the MSPT Sycuan, ChipLeaderCoaching.com’s Justin Lynch was on the brutal end of a cooler for the tournament chip lead where his top set ran into Jonathan Frisch’s flopped straight in a blind versus blind confrontation. He would go on to finish in 16th place in the field for $5,391. Since then, he has been playing and cashing in MSPTs consistently around the country in his quest to become an MSPT champion. Just this summer he final tabled another MSPT event in Black Hawk Colorado where he finished in 9th place for $8,928.
His wait is over as he now sits as the newly crowned champion of The United States Poker Championship for a career best score of $61,624. “I ran well, played pretty well, made a couple of mistakes,” the newly crowned champion said, reflecting on his play, “but in the end, just stoked to win it, this was my goal for poker at the beginning of the year.”
“It was a really good final table,” Lynch mentioned about his opponents. Between two WSOP bracelet winners, a WPT champion, and millions of dollars in earnings on Hendon Mob, one of the most accomplished MSPT final tables that Sycuan had ever seen. Lynch began the final table as one of the shorter stacks, but through patience, timing, and some luck, he came out on top as the leader of them all.
He attributes much of his success to his ability to focus, as he put his phone away during the final and analyzed his opponents physicality just as much as their play style in hands that he was not in. “Being around guys like Chance(Kornuth) has definitely helped my abilities. He mentioned that his superpower is his ability to focus for long periods of time without breaking concentration.”
Lynch now joins his fellow ChipLeaderCoaching colleagues Chance Kornuth and Alex Foxen in having taken down an MSPT title.
The United States Poker Championship Final Table Results
||Elias Correa Goulart
||Eider Da Cruz
Day 2 Action
Players came back to the day being just two players away from the money. Francis Kim was unable to get much going as he went out the door early to Elias Correa Goulart when his king-jack failed to improve against Goulart’s pocket nines, and the next player out the door was Dustin Kahlia got in his last chips with ace-jack against Lynch’s pocket tens. Lynch took down a healthy pot early into the day and Kahlia became the last player to finish without a cash.
After that the action went quickly as players all around were dropping. Former Champion Gianluca Pace (38th-$2,147) saw his chances at a second title quickly disappear. DJ Buckley (33rd-$2,342) collected another MSPT Main Event cash to tie him with Aaron Johnson for most MSPT main event cashes of all time. MSPT champion Umut Ozturk (27th-$2,733) added more points in his race against Rob Wazwaz for MSPT player of the year.
Two-time MSPT champion Kenneth Baime (14th-$5,075) ended his run just shy of the final table as he will look to another stop to collect his third title. WPT champion Peter Cross (13th-$5,075) was next out the door as WSOP bracelet winner Massoud Eskandari (12th-$5,075) followed him shortly after. Joshua Mammen (11th-$6,246) came into the day as the chip leader, but lost a few key hands to Young Eum towards the end and his run resulted in a career best finish.
The final player to leave the field prior to them combining to one table was defending MSPT Sycuan champion Derrick Yamada. Short with two tables left, Yamada got in his final chips holding ace-ten against Brandon Zuidema’s pocket twos. No improvement was brought to Yamada who completed an impressive back to back top ten finishes in this event. He collected $6,246 for his tenth place finish while the final table was set.
With very little chips at the beginning of the final table, Eider Da Cruz could not gain any early momentum as he got in his final chips in with ace-king against Young Eum’s ace-eight. Eum flopped a straight draw that turned into top pair by the turn and blank on the river saw Eum add to his chip lead and the Brazilian finished with his best MSPT finish in ninth place for $7,417.
It seemed like Brandon Zuidema would be the next player eliminated, but he found a key double up through Matt Salsberg when he got in his ace-king against Salsberg’s kings and found the ace-high flop to take the chip lead. Zuidema’s fortune would run out shortly after that in a massive pot between him and Lynch that did not see showdown and had Lynch taking the chip lead from Zuidema.
After 11 years, Tara Dunn came back to the MSPT with a vengeance as she secured her best finish in an event. Coming in as one of the shortest stacks, Dunn got in her final chips with pocket queens against Eum’s ace-king. A king-high board would send the Canadian packing as she secured her best MSPT result in eighth place for $10,150.
Ceferino Fajardo would find himself all in against Zuidema holding pocket fours against Zuidema’s ace-queen. The four on the flop ensured a double up for Fajardo and leave Zuidema as the shortest stack at the table. Shortly after he got in his final chips against Eum holding pocket kings while Eum held ace ten offsuit. The board ran out as safe for the kings until the river ten gave Eum three tens with an ace kicker. This pot put Eum back into the chip lead and Zuidema collected $12,883 for his seventh place finish.
Salsberg and WSOP bracelet winner Kirk Morrison would be the shortest stacks in the six handed portion of the final table, and fate would have them collide with each other. Morrison moved in from first position with sevens only for Salsberg to call him with jacks. The jacks held up for Salsberg to double while Morrison was nearly forced all in from the big blind the next hand. He got in his last chips with four-two against Eum’s ace-seven and an ace-high board left Morrison dead on the turn as the poker legend finished his tournament in sixth place for $16,396.
Ceferino Fajardo moved in his final chips from the button with king-jack, while Eum called in the big blind with sevens. A ten high board with no improvement for suits saw Fajardo exit the tournament in fifth place for $21,471, a career best at MSPT.
The four-handed battle went on for some time as Salsberg scored a double up through Eum to get off of the short stack and Lynch took some more big pots. It would be Eum again knocking the next player out as Elias Correa Goulart moved all in for his last chips with ace-nine against an open and a flat in front of him and Eum would call him with pocket jacks. The board ran out with no help to the ace-nine and he collected $28,498 for his career best score in fourth place.
Three handed played out for a bit as Lynch won a key pot with a set of twos against Eum to take the overall chip lead. After a few more hands, a deal was brought up and the three players began talking. After a couple more minutes of talking a deal was reached where WPT champion Matt Salsberg would take third place for $55,000, WSOP bracelet winner Young Eum would take second place for $61,000, and Lynch holding the chip lead took home $61,624 as well as his first MSPT trophy.
Congratulations to Justin Lynch for winning his first MSPT trophy. Thank you to all who were reading along on MSPTPoker.com.