Canterbury Park: August 5 - 13, 2017


Canterbury Park - Shakopee, MN

August 9-13, 2017

$350 Regional: 1,169 Entrants

Paul Cross Wins Largest Poker Tournament in Minnesota History, $61,911

The first-ever MSPT $350 Regional Event held at Canterbury Park set the Minnesota state record for largest poker tournament with 1,169 entrants (previous record was 1,114 set in eight flights Canterbury’s 2015 $115 buy-in Ultimate $100K). After four starting flights and a long Day 2, Minneapolis’ Paul Cross emerged victorious to capture a $61,911 first-place prize.

A well-known player in local cardrooms, Cross had a pair of MSPT cashes before his big win. The first came back in Season 5 when he finished 24th in the MSPT Running Aces Main Event for $2,274, and the other another 24th-place finish in the Season 6 Regional Event at Grand Casino Mille Lacs.

The 32-year-old Cross, who defeated MSPT Season 7 Meskwaki champ Keith Heine in heads-up play, is a finance manager at Thomas Reuters and has been a longtime recreational player in the Minnesota poker scene. Now he’s won the largest-ever poker tournament ever held in the “Land of 10,000 Lakes.”

“It’s humbling and overwhelming,” Cross said of the win. “I actually got pretty emotional. I have been grinding these tournaments for a long time and have made a few final tables, but a MSPT final table was a big goal for me. It is the most prestigious tour that comes through Minnesota. So, to make my first and go on the heater of a lifetime was unbelievable.”

Social media congratulations poured for Cross, who has a reputation as an enjoyable player at the table.

“I try to keep poker fun man and that’s how I approach the table,” he said. “If you are having a bad time at the table when I’m at it, it's because you want to have a bad time.”

Wednesday’s Day 1A flight drew 281 entrants, but only 40 of them survived the night including chip leader Richard Brekke (329,000). On 1B, 237 players took to the felt with 34 of them advancing. Jeff Lloyd bagged the lead with 294,000.

Meanwhile, Friday’s Day 1C drew an additional 277 runners, which brought the total field up to 795 and saw Ryan Hohenstein bag the big stack among the 45 survivors with 305,000. The fourth and final flight brought in an additional 374 entrants, which helped set the new state record. Of those, 75 advanced with Luke Blindert and his stack of 459,500 leading, which gave him the overall chip lead among the 174 players who returned for Day 2.

Lloyd and Hohenstein would fail to cash while the other two chip leaders made the money but fell short of the final table.

Among the top 117 to get paid were Brekke (25th -$1,933) MSPT Season 5 champ Ken Pates (28th - $1,458), Erick Wright (30th - $1,458), Todd Melander (48th - $1,108), Blindert (54th - $1,108), Rob Wazwaz (55th - $916),Vlad Revniaga (68th - $882), MSPT Season 7 Running Aces champ Luke Arora (73rd - $848), Aaron Johnson (87th - $814), and Jon Kulkay (108th - $678).

Here’s how things stacked up at the start of the final table:

Seat 1: Mark Bloomberg - 4,000,000
Seat 2: Jarrod Blackwell - 1,050,000
Seat 3: Loki Abboud - 1,835,000
Seat 4: Riley Stahley - 2,700,000
Seat 5: Mark Anderson - 1,445,000
Seat 6: Paul Cross - 2,165,000
Seat 7: Keith Heine - 3,905,000
Seat 8: John Alexander - 3,365,000
Seat 9: Tyler Brackey - 965,000
Seat 10: Nate Fair - 1,760,000

On the first hand of the final table, Cross looked down at the A♦A♥ and used them to eliminated Jarrod Blackwell, who got it in with the Q♦Q♠. The action didn’t stop there as three more players would fall before the first orbit was complete. That included John Alexander, father to MSPT Pro Matt Alexander, who fell when his A♥A♣ was cracked by the A♦10♦ of Mark Bloomberg after a 4♦K♥6♦8♦K♣.

Down to the final three, Loki Abboud got his short stack all in preflop holding the J♣9♣ and found himself behind the A♣Q♠ of Cross. The 9♠J♠K♦ flop looked good for Abboud, and so did the 4♣ turn. However, the 10♥ spiked on the river to give Cross a winning Broadway straight.

Heine managed a quick double in heads-up play and took a commanding chip lead. However, two doubles for Cross evened things up, and from there he began to pull away. In what would be the final hand of the tournament, Heine got his short stack all in preflop holding the K♣4♣ against the 10♣10♠ of Cross. The 10♥9♥7♣ gave Cross top set, and Heine was drawing to runner-runner. The 4♠ turn took away any shot of that happening and Heine had to settle for second place and $37,988.

If there was a silver lining, it was Heine also received 567 points toward the Kimo Sabe Mezcal MSPT Season 8 Player of the Year Leaderboard. Thanks to two other final table finishes earlier this year, that put him in first place with 2,767 points with his next closest competitor being Keith Block with 2,500 points.

“Keith just gets it,” Cross said of his heads-up opponent. “He is an inventive poker player that likes to talk and I love that. I had never played him with him before and I was really impressed. It was a great match which is something you don't get to do often.”

Cross added: “I want to give credit to Canterbury Cards for being the Midwest’s best card room, and Joel ‘Mutt’ Olson for being the best tournament director in the business.”

The latest record-breaking event came less than four months after the MSPT set the record for largest-ever major tournament ($1,000+ buy-in) at Canterbury Park. The 13th MSPT Main Event ever held at Canterbury Park attracted 475 entrants and was won by 56-year-old business development manager Mark Wadekamper.


Rank Player Name City State AmountPoints
1 Paul Cross Minneapolis MN $61,911633
2 Keith Heine Hillsboro MO $37,988567
3 Loki Abboud Mendota Heights MN $28,186533
4 Mark Bloomberg Mound MN $21,402500
5 Riley Stahley Las Vegas NV $15,941467
6 Nathan Fair Plymouth MN $12,210433
7 Tyler Brackey Fairmont MN $9,497400
8 Mark Anderson Robinsdale MN $7,462367
9 John Alexander Minneapolis MN $6,105333
10 Jarrod Blackwell Milaca MN $4,749300
11 Jonathan Wong Eagan MN $4,749300
12 Ben Hanson Prior Lake MN $4,749300
13 Gary Grams Rockville MN $3,731267
14 Nicholas Nierenhausen Champlin MN $3,731267
15 Michael Simon Champion MN $3,731267
16 Neil Johnson Otsego MN $3,324233
17 Les Scottston Cannon Falls MN $3,324233
18 Wade Olsen Jordan MN $3,324233
19 Kyle Meyers St. Cloud MN $2,747200
20 Shaun Jensen St. Paul MN $2,747200
21 David Albrecht $2,747200
22 Brandon Welter Minneapolis MN $2,306200
23 Brian Edgington Redwing MN $2,306200
24 Brad Cohen Faribault MN $2,306200
25 Richard Brekke Pillager MN $1,933200
26 Lucas McCorry St. Paul MI $1,933200
27 Kevin Klassen Shakopee MN $1,933200
28 Kentraylus Pates Brooklyn Park MN $1,458167
29 Dave Soderstrom St. Paul MN $1,458167
30 Erick Wright Shoreview MN $1,458167
31 Andrew Foss St. Paul MN $1,458167
32 Michael Fenne Lakeville MN $1,458167
33 Brian Johnson (SD) Rasholt SD $1,458167
34 Benjamin Frye Albia IA $1,458167
35 Willfred Sweetman Minneapolis MN $1,458167
36 Duane Gerleman Ridgeway IA $1,458167
37 Joseph Miller Chippewa Falls WI $1,119133
38 Durwin Matuska Crosby MN $1,119133
39 Bryan Buhr Lake Park MN $1,119133
40 William Shaw St. Paul MN $1,119133
41 Blake Wiessner Eden Prarie MN $1,119133
42 Nizom Abdukadyrov New Hope MN $1,119133
43 Leland Meyerdirk Rogers MN $1,119133
44 Joshua Martin Sioux Falls SD $1,119133
45 Dave Delaney Orono MN $1,119133
46 Josh Evans Bismark ND $1,018100
47 Jeffrey Birt Bloomington MN $1,018100
48 Todd Melander Minneapolis MN $1,018100
49 Jeremy Holmes West Fargo ND $1,018100
50 Patrick Bussen St. Paul MN $1,018100
51 Leo Fussy St. Cloud MN $1,018100
52 Jared Lowell St. Paul MN $1,018100
53 Josh Albert Medina MN $1,018100
54 Luke Blindert Sioux Falls SD $1,018100
55 Rob WazWaz Minneapolis MN $91667
56 Kanat Ozturk Eden Prarie MN $91667
57 Dixon Pettengill Excelsior MN $91667
58 Rob Maier Little Canada MN $91667
59 Joe Osterbauer Minneapolis MN $91667
60 Rory Linton Apple Valley MN $91667
61 Diem Dao Minneapolis MN $91667
62 Alexander Varichak Minneapolis MN $91667
63 Tim Mieczkowski Sauk Centre MN $91667
64 Todd Fisher Arlington MN $88233
65 Kevin Kelly Burnsville MN $88233
66 Levi Espeseth Merrifield MN $88233
67 John Dennehey Savage MN $88233
68 Vladimir Revniaga Burnsville MN $88233
69 Todd Breyfogle Hopkins MN $88233
70 Jeffrey Lloyd Hollywood CA $88233
71 Victoria Zell Nisswa MN $88233
72 Gregory Brenny Sauk Rapids MN $88233
73 Aalok Arora Arden Hills MN $84817
74 Larry Barbetta Wayzata MN $84817
75 David Schwantes Lakeville MN $84817
76 Scott Hanson Prior Lake MN $84817
77 Ray Dickerson St. Paul MN $84817
78 Frank Jackson Fargo ND $84817
79 Joel Rudnick Fargo ND $84817
80 Aaron Eggen Apple Valley MN $84817
81 Duane Anderson Wilton MN $84817
82 Meng Veng Minneapolis MN $81417
83 Matt Olsen West Fargo ND $81417
84 Ranjit Ahluwalia Edina MN $81417
85 Ryan Gilleland Cottage Grove MN $81417
86 Paul Jain Bismark ND $81417
87 Aaron Johnson Red Wing MN $81417
88 Jay Slonske Brookfield WI $81417
89 Kipp Stender Madison MN $81417
90 Mike Vold Big Lake MN $81417
91 Eric Oldenkamp Woodbury MN $74617
92 Carson Parker Oklahoma City OK $74617
93 James Mastrian Nevis MN $74617
94 Jeremy Vogel Sauk Rapids MN $74617
95 Jeremy Calverley Farmington MN $74617
96 Dan Vandevoort West Fargo ND $74617
97 James Haugerud Harmony MN $74617
98 Brandon Dosch Fargo ND $74617
99 Ryan Hoberg Brooklyn Center MN $74617
100 Marc Lome Long Beach CA $67817
101 Alexander Kabalan Fridley MN $67817
102 Steve Lillehaug Chanhassen MN $67817
103 Louis Hillman Minneapolis MN $67817
104 Brian Shaughnessy Lonsdale MN $67817
105 Timothy Baumann Eden Prarie MN $67817
106 Jim Boone Lakeville MN $67817
107 Brian Koskey Hopkins MN $67817
108 Jon Kulkay Plymouth MN $67817
109 David Halverson Minneapolis MN $64417
110 Bradley Haddy Mendota Heights MN $64417
111 Jeff Breitlow Savage MN $64417
112 Vic Peppe Corcoran MN $64417
113 Trevis Devericks Sioux Falls SD $64417
114 William Carlson Richfield MN $64417
115 Hoa Nguyen Brooklyn Park MN $64417
116 Andrew Elliott West Saint Paul MN $64417
117 Steve Krogness Wayzata MN $64417

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