FireKeepers Casino: October 8 - 16, 2016


FireKeepers Casino - Battle Creek, MI

Michigan State Poker Championship

October 13-16, 2016

Main Event: 884 Entrants

Brett Blackwood Wins Largest Poker Tournament in Michigan History for $188,314!

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

The 2016 Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) Michigan State Poker Championship at FireKeepers Casino was once again a record-breaking affair. At the final table, all eyes were on poker pro Aaron Massey, who was looking to go back-to-back in MSPT FireKeepers Main Events (the two largest tournaments in state history). However, at the end of a long day it was 27-year-old Brett Blackwood who captured the title and a $188,314 first-place prize

“It feels fake right now, right now it just feels like a dream,” Blackwell said after the win. “I was all in 14 or 15 times, often behind, and just ran spectacular. Heads-up I hit the river twice to stay alive. It feels great. I like the trophy. I’ll put it next to my alarm clock so I’ll see it first thing in the morning, and I’ll put the money in the bank. The PLO bankroll was alright, but it just got a whole lot healthier, you know what I’m saying.”

Blackwood, who was playing in just his eighth tournament ever, is a painter by trade but spends much of his free time playing $5/$10 pot-limit Omaha in Detroit. He decided to play three $250 satellites for the Michigan State Poker Championship and managed to win a seat. From there, the story was survival as time and again Blackwell was on the ropes, but nary an opponent could finish him off.

The $1,100 buy-in Main Event, which began on Thursday, attracted 884 entrants (195 on Day 1a; 338 Day 1b; and 351 Day 1c), which not only made it the largest tournament in Michigan history – it surpassed the 820 runners from May’s event -- but also became the largest event the MSPT has ever held in the Midwest. The $300,000 advertised guarantee was shattered as an $884,000 total prize pool was generated, and on Sunday 179 survivors returned looking to claim their share.

However, with only 81 spots paid, 98 of them would leave empty handed. Among those to fall were MSPT Season 5 Player of the Year Mike Deis, MSPT Meskwaki champ Keith Heine, and the man who finished runner-up to Massey back in May, Ron Kruk.

Once the money bubble burst with the elimination of Leonard Gojcaj, the in-the-money eliminations came fast and furious. Among those to fall were defending Michigan State Poker champ Michael Ferrarotti (80th - $2,226), inaugural Michigan State Poker champ Ryan Dykhouse (78th - $2,226), MSPT Season 4 Player of the Year Pat Steele (34th - $4,365), Day 1b chip leader Parris Collins (18th - $6,848), Day 1a chip leader Casey Carroll (15th - $9,330), and Bill Rogers (14th - $9,330), who finished runner-up in the same tournament one year prior.

The final table was comprised of all Michigan players with the exception of Jimmy Ray and Massey, who hailed from Indiana and Chicago respectively. Nevada Saad, who began the day as chip leader, was the first to fall after running his pocket sixes into the nines of Ray, and then Josh Marvin ran king-queen into aces to fall in ninth.

After a short-stacked Satish Thakur failed to win a race for his tournament life, Massey’s run at history ended in seventh place. In his final hand, Massey shoved a queen-high flop holding pocket jacks only to be snapped off by Lars Cole’s two pair. Cole followed him out the door in sixth place after his pocket sixes failed to hold up in a race against Blackwood.

The elimination of Ray in fifth place ensured the title would stay on home soil as the final four was comprised of all Michigan natives. Of them, Vinh Ho was the first to go after running into Church’s pocket aces, and two hands later Blackwell dispatched Griff Woodman in third place.

Church began heads-up play with a slight chip lead and the two battled back and forth until Blackwell got it in with ace-jack against ace-king. Church was one card away from winning the tournament, but Blackwell found a jack on the river to take a commanding lead. Amazingly, Church battled back and a few doubles later was back in the lead. Blackwell then got it in again, this time with ace-nine, and was up against Church’s pocket sevens. Church survived the flop and turn, but Blackwell once again hit the river when a nine spiked. Church was eliminated in second place for $114,314 on the very next hand.


Rank Player Name AmountPoints
1 Brett Blackwood $188,3141,800
2 Cy Church $114,7011,600
3 Griff Woodman $74,6411,500
4 Vinh Ho $51,7011,400
5 Jimmy Ray $37,6631,300
6 Lars Cole $28,9321,200
7 Aaron Massey $23,8821,100
8 Satish Thakur $19,9441,000
9 Joshua Marvin $16,007900
10 Nevada Saad $12,241800
11 Jesse McIntyre $12,241800
12 Bill Romer $12,241800
13 Djon Palushaj $9,330700
14 Bill Rogers $9,330700
15 Casey Carroll $9,330700
16 Konstantin Mikhailov $6,848600
17 Michael Hahn $6,848600
18 Parris Collins $6,848600
19 Joel Tasman $5,393500
20 Samuel Angott $5,393500
21 Kenny Nguyen $5,393500
22 Rolando Allen $5,393500
23 Ryan Hickey $5,393500
24 James Uschuk $5,393500
25 Brandon Sinawi $5,393500
26 Brek Schutten $5,393500
27 Lawrence Chenlo $5,393500
28 Andrew Keeney $4,365400
29 Chris Moon $4,365400
30 Jianming Zeng $4,365400
31 Eric Stocz $4,365400
32 Erik Badgley $4,365400
33 Patrick McCullough $4,365400
34 Patrick Steele $4,365400
35 David Lawrence $4,365400
36 Rob Kroeger $4,365400
37 Mark Prentice $3,595300
38 Mark Johnson (Michigan) $3,595300
39 James Merryman $3,595300
40 Victor Gayheart $3,595300
41 Scott Hammett $3,595300
42 Jack Rolnitzky $3,595300
43 Christopher Chiang $3,595300
44 Adam Lamphere $3,595300
45 Hal Weberman $3,595300
46 Don Saylor $3,167200
47 Jose Jimenez $3,167200
48 Dominic Menzo $3,167200
49 Donald Rice $3,167200
50 Vincent Barboza $3,167200
51 Warren Janney $3,167200
52 Yaroob Kaskorkis $3,167200
53 Muosa Abudalou $3,167200
54 Dustin Smith $3,167200
55 Robert Searfoss $2,739100
56 Roger Khoury $2,739100
57 Dennis Jessee $2,739100
58 James Gerardot $2,739100
59 Ryan Awwad $2,739100
60 Richard Tapper $2,739100
61 Moses Julian $2,739100
62 Bledar Shaholli $2,739100
63 Sean Garner $2,739100
64 Ao Chen $2,39750
65 Mark Barrett $2,39750
66 Rodney Decker $2,39750
67 Imari Love $2,39750
68 Gary Challender $2,39750
69 Tim Kearly $2,39750
70 Wayne Smith $2,39750
71 Osman Merdanovic $2,39750
72 Benjamin Levy $2,39750
73 Mike Parrott $2,22650
74 Robert West $2,22650
75 Steve Siegel $2,22650
76 Michael Holm $2,22650
77 Kirby Rogers $2,22650
78 Ryan Dykhouse $2,22650
79 Thongkam Bousim $2,22650
80 Michael Ferrarotti $2,22650
81 Devin Bacon $2,22650

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