Potawatomi Casino - Milwaukee, WI
July 14-17, 2016
$350 Regional: 1,169 Entrants (287 Day 1a; 389 Day 1b; 493 Day 1c)
Vinh Tran Wins MSPT Regional at Potawatomi Casino!
From July 14-17, the Mid-States Poker Tour was at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino for a $350 buy-in, $100,000 guaranteed Regional Event. In January of this year, the same stop set a record for largest MSPT Regional with 904 entrants, but that was blown out of the water as 1,169 runners (287 on Day 1a, 389 on 1b, and 493 on 1c) took to the felt, making it the largest poker tournament in Wisconsin history!
In the end, 34-year-old recreational player Vinh Tran of Aurora, Illinois walked away with the title and $49,944 in prize money.
"It feels pretty good," said Tran, who runs a nail salon business with his family. "It wasn't easy. I had to get lucky a couple times heads up. Going all in when I was an underdog two times, I got lucky to stay alive."
Tran continued: "I started playing off and on since 2008, but I didn't really start concentrating on it until maybe two years ago. I work all the time, so I really don't have opportunities to play too much. Poker is just recreation for me. I've been playing the MSPT for two years now whenever it's around the Chicago area."
The $350,700 total prize pool, which more than tripled the guarantee, was distributed to the top 117 finishers. Among those to earn a payday were Johnny Brzozowski (112th - $644), Dewey Weum (106th - $678), Bruce Swart (92nd - $746), Tom Anderson (81st - $848), former MSPT Potawatomi champ Dan Goepel (44th - $1,119), Abraham Montenegro (24th - $2,306), and Sean Moore (11th - $4,749).
The final table was filled primarily with MSPT first-timers, at least those notching their first cashes. In fact, eight out of the ten finalist had never cashed a MSPT before. The two that had were two-time MSPT Potawatomi Main Event finalist John Sun and Tran, who had two smaller cashes. Sun, who finished fifth in Season 5 for $26,808 and third earlier this season for $50,017, ultimately bowed in seventh place while Tran made it to heads-up play at a chip disadvantage against Ryan Gatrel.
That changed when the latter got his stack all in preflop holding the J ♦10 ♦ against the A ♥5 ♥ of his opponent. A jack on the flop gave Tran the double, and with the stacks even, the final two players agreed on a chop that saw each secure $49,944 in prize money. They then decided to play one hand blind for the trophy.
In it, Tran was dealt the lowly 7 ♦2 ♦ against the Q ♦4 ♦ of Gatrel. The worst hand in poker soon turned into the nuts when the flop came down 7 ♣2 ♥7 ♥ to give Tran a full house. The 5 ♥ and 2 ♠ completed the board on the turn and river respectively, and Tran was declared the winner.