Tropicana Evansville: August 13 - 21, 2016


Tropicana Evansville - Evansville, IN

Indiana State Poker Championship

August 19-21, 2016

Main Event: 340 Entrants

Earl Potter Wins 2016 Indiana State Poker Championship for $82,450

Watch the full final table video (large file, may take a few minutes to load)

The 2016 Mid-States Poker Tour Indiana State Poker Championship at Tropicana Evansville proved to be a record affair. The 340 entries (142 Day 1a; 198 Day 1b) was quite a bit more than the 225 and 251 from 2014 and 2015 respectively. That easily surpassed the $250,000 advertised guarantee by creating a $340,000 total prize pool.

Three of the ten finalists were from the Hoosier State, and much to the delight of the hometown crowd one of them, 49-year-old Earl Potter, managed to keep the title on home soil.

"I'm feeling awesome," Potter said after the win. "These guys are quite a bit better than me, but you've got to get lucky sometimes. Make good decisions. I got lucky a few times."

Potter's only other documented cash came back in January when he finished 27th in the MSPT Tropicana Evansville Regional for $744. Needless to say, he wasn't content with that amount.

"I had a big stack going into the regional and donked them off early," he explained. "I played too conservative. I made the money but I didn't go real deep, so I played a little more aggressive here. That was the plan, I did it, and it worked out."

Potter, who works at a Toyota factory, has been playing poker since he was 10 years old, though it wasn't until around 2006 that he took up hold'em. He's a father of two – son Rick, 30, and daughter Megan, 24 – and was cheered on from afar by his wife, Crystal Potter, who was watching the live stream from home.

"My wife wants me to pay off her car so I guess I don't have much of a choice but to do that," Potter said with a laugh when asked what he plans to do with the prize money.

Day 2 saw 65 players (27 Day 1a survivors; 38 Day 1b survivors) return to action, but with just 36 of them getting paid, 29 would leave empty handed. Among them was Hollywood Poker Open St. Louis champ Cory Bogert, MSPT Season 4 Player of the Year Patrick Steele, and bubble boy John Thomas Lynn.

Once the bubble burst, the in the money finishes came quick. Among those to earn a payday were MSPT FireKeepers runner-up Ron Kruk (31st - $2,078); Ricky Stinson (24th - $2,638), who notched his third consecutive cash in MSPT Tropicana Evansville Main Events; MSPT Iowa State Poker Champ John Sun (21st - $2,638); Day 1b chip leader Jason Ramos (17th - $3,298); and Day 1a chip leader Joseph Bommarito (11th - $6,266).

The big stories at the final table were the appearances of Mike O'Neill and Adam Thomas. The former was the defending Indiana State Poker Champion and the latter the winner the aforementioned MSPT Tropicana Evansville Regional, a tournament that attracted 416 entries and awarded a $30,674 first-place prize.

It seemed a title defense was in the cards when O'Neill doubled into the chip lead on the second hand of the final table, but his momentum slowed before he busted in sixth place for $13,195. Thomas fared better grinding a short stack all the way to third place for $32,090.

In the end, it came down to Potter and Ohio's Tom Gliva, who at one point at the final table was down to a single big blind. While the two started heads-up play even in chips and the structure was kind, they opted to play loose and fast with Gliva shoving king-four and Potter calling with ace-five. An ace on the flop ultimately led to his victory and Gliva had to settle for runner-up and a $49,470 consolation prize.


Rank Player Name City State AmountPoints
1 Earl Potter Vincennes IN $82,4501,400
2 Tom Gliva Newark OH $49,4701,200
3 Adam Thomas Morganfield KY $32,0901,100
4 Troy Weber West Terre Haute IN $22,4261,000
5 Jason Simon O Fallon MO $16,820900
6 Michael ONeill Royal Oak MI $13,195800
7 Jordan Miller Louisville KY $11,213700
8 Carter Myers Breckenridge MI $9,234600
9 Jeremy Brown Bloomington IN $7,915500
10 Chris Cornell Clarksville TN $6,266400
11 Joseph Bommarito St. Louis MO $6,266400
12 Mike Shanahan Avon IN $6,266400
13 Michael Hahn Carmel IN $4,617300
14 Tom Zenthoefer Evansville IN $4,617300
15 Michael Kamenjarin Chicago IL $4,617300
16 Kyle Brantley Henderson KY $3,298200
17 Jason Ramos Carol Stream IL $3,298200
18 Shannon Mastin Greenfield IN $3,298200
19 Jefferson Lasecki Chicago IL $2,638100
20 Carl Masters Clarksville TN $2,638100
21 Hao "John" Sun Milwaukee WI $2,638100
22 Timothy Shifflet Galena OH $2,638100
23 Zach Peay Evansville IN $2,638100
24 Ricky Stinson Corydon KY $2,638100
25 Theodore Zalesiak Chicago IL $2,638100
26 Hyun Lee Kevil KY $2,638100
27 Garrick Ballard Shelbyville IN $2,638100
28 Gregory Speed Boonville IN $2,07850
29 James Will Evansville IN $2,07850
30 Thomas Jaggers Sonora KY $2,07850
31 Ron Kruk Osceola IN $2,07850
32 Mark Shaffer Glassford IL $2,07850
33 David Chocheles Mandeville LA $2,07850
34 Donald Williams Rockville IL $2,07850
35 Alexander Maxfield Louisville KY $2,07850
36 Kenneth Mattingly Owensboro KY $2,07850

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