Potawatomi Casino: April 2 - 10, 2016


Potawatomi Casino - Milwaukee, WI

April 8-10, 2016

Main Event: 556 Entrants

Travis Lauson Wins MSPT Potawatomi Casino, $129,077!

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The Mid-States Poker Tour Potawatomi Hotel & Casino began with 556 entrants (246 Day 1a; 292 Day 1b), and on Sunday 113 returned to battle down to a winner. It took a full day of action, but in the end 38-year-old Travis Lauson who emerged victorious to capture his first MSPT title and a $129,077 first-place prize.

It was an unbelievable story of redemption for Lauson, who finished runner-up to Dan Goepel back in September, which was the last time the MSPT visited the property.

"Amazing," Lauson said when asked how winning felt. "I needed redemption from that second place. It's simply amazing. If I would have lost heads-up back-to-back I would have gone crazy."

Prior to the win, Lauson, who hails from Manitowoc, Wisconsin, only had four cashes on his poker résumé, three of which are on the MSPT. Now he had a fourth, this one being his first-ever six-figure score.

Lauson, who owns four bars, including one called Shoot the Bull, plans to use the money to pad his poker bankroll while setting some aside for his three-year-old daughter's college fund.

At the start of the day, just 54 players were slated to earn a portion of the $556,000 total prize pool – which crushed the advertised $200,000 guarantee – and that meant 59 needed to leave empty handed. Among those to fall early were reigning Wisconsin State Poker Champion Andy Rubinberg, MSPT Pro Blake Bohn, and Luke Arora, who was a week removed from winning the MSPT Running Aces Main Event.

Once the bubble burst – poker pro Darryl Ronconi was the unfortunate bubble boy – the in-the-money finishes began to mount. Among those to go home with some cash were Adam Lamphere (54th - $2,151), Anselmo Villarreal (38th - $2,420), reigning MSPT Player of the Year Mark Hodge (33rd - $2,904), Nick Jivkov (20th - $3,711), and defending champ Dan Goepel (14th - $6,508), who saw his title defense come to an end when his pocket fives failed to hold against the king-ten of start-of-the-day chip leader Abe Montenegro.

With a dozen players remaining, a big hand saw both John Zawaski and Jonathan DiMatteo fall to Lauson, who picked up pocket aces against the former's ace-queen and the latter's pocket kings. The aces held and Lauson advanced to the final table nearly tied for the chip lead with Hao Sun.

Those two proceeded to attack the table, but while Sun faltered, Lauson only continued to rise. Eventually Sun bowed out in third place, and that set up an entertaining heads-up match against fellow Wisconsinite Brandon Byrne.

"I went into heads-up play with the big chip lead, so I wanted to play big," explained Lauson. "He started fighting back so I had to adapt right away."

Lauson lost his 2-1 chip lead, but with both players willing to put chips in the middle, it didn't take long for him to get it back. Still, he admits he had flashbacks to his match against Goepel when he blew an 8-1 lead.

Fortunately for Lauson, victory wouldn't slip through his fingers this time as he looked down at pocket kings after Byrne had shoved with ace-five. No ace appeared, and Lauson took down the MSPT Potawatomi Casino title and the accompanying $129,077 first-place prize.


Rank Player Name City State AmountPoints
1 Travis Lauson Manitowoc WI $129,0771,600
2 Brandon Byrne De Pere WI $76,6461,400
3 Hao "John" Sun Milwaukee WI $50,0171,300
4 Abraham Montenegro Franklin Park IL $34,6891,200
5 Benjamin Reinhart Laporte IN $26,0841,100
6 Nicholas Kost Chicago IL $20,1681,000
7 Miroslav Semanisin Wisconsin Dells WI $16,404900
8 Scott Vetter Washington IL $13,446800
9 Richard Bai Schaumburg IL $10,756700
10 Shane Thorne Sheboygan WI $8,605600
11 Jonathan DiMatteo Lisle IL $8,605600
12 John Zawaski Oak Lawn IL $8,605600
13 Larry Ormson Elroy WI $6,508500
14 Daniel Goepel Hartland WI $6,508500
15 Tom Anderson Manitowoc WI $6,508500
16 Susan Klatt Neenah WI $4,840400
17 Jim Calvo Naperville IL $4,840400
18 Leon Morford Rockford IL $4,840400
19 Michael Roenneburg Milwaukee WI $3,711300
20 Nick Jivkov Des Plaines IL $3,711300
21 Kenneth Baime Glenview IL $3,711300
22 Joseph Kyung Franklin WI $3,711300
23 John Bitakis Stickney IL $3,711300
24 Rodger Johnson Grand Forks ND $3,711300
25 Chad Petrie Waukesha WI $3,711300
26 Yoon Kim Caledonia WI $3,711300
27 Vicente Hinog Beach Park IL $3,711300
28 Blake Whittington Jacksonville FL $2,904200
29 James Kasputis Rockford IL $2,904200
30 Brad Livermore Milwaukee WI $2,904200
31 Michael Holm Naperville IL $2,904200
32 Leroy Cheeseman Milwaukee WI $2,904200
33 Mark Hodge Fernandina Beach FL $2,904200
34 Jerome Eaton Fond du Lac WI $2,904200
35 Keith Lutz Chicago IL $2,904200
36 Jason Banfi River Falls WI $2,904200
37 Rob WazWaz Minneapolis MN $2,420100
38 Anselmo Villarreal Greenfield WI $2,420100
39 Mike Burns Oshkosh WI $2,420100
40 Mike Paul Springfield VT $2,420100
41 David Mowery (WI) Delavan WI $2,420100
42 James Engelbrecht Manitowac WI $2,420100
43 Andrija Solovjev Franklin WI $2,420100
44 Thomas Ruzecki Roundlake IL $2,420100
45 Peter Nuetzel Milwaukee WI $2,420100
46 Brad Sailor Lombard IL $2,15150
47 Allen Wisniewski Dousman WI $2,15150
48 Brant Graves Milwaukee WI $2,15150
49 Byron Ziebell Greenfield WI $2,15150
50 Craig Rebman Water Lake IL $2,15150
51 Jon Lane Manasha WI $2,15150
52 Alex Barill Grosse Ile MI $2,15150
53 Dedric Henderson Minneapolis MN $2,15150
54 Adam Lamphere Lansing MI $2,15150

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