FireKeepers Casino: October 7 - 15, 2017


FireKeepers Casino - Battle Creek, MI

October 12-15, 2017

Main Event: 1,067 Entrants

Chris Meyers Wins Largest Major Poker Tournament in Michigan History; Takes Down MSPT FireKeepers for $191,196!


The 2017 MSPT Michigan State Poker Championship at FireKeepers Casino was once again a record-setting affair. For the second time in 2017, the tournament eclipsed a $1 million prize pool and became the largest poker tournament ever held in Michigan.

The 1,067 entries (244 on 1A, 406 1B, and 417 1C) beat the spring record by a single player, and it was set in just three flights without the use of unlimited re-entries nor “best stack forward.” Speaking of the spring tournament, Buffalo, New York’s Chris Meyers was there, ultimately finishing in fifth place for $42,333.

Meyers, a 35-year-old married poker pro, returned for the 2017 MSPT Michigan State Poker Championship and found redemption by taking down the title, good for a career-high $191,196.

“I feel good,” Meyers said after the win. “I’ve put in a lot of work honestly. This was on my list, to win a MSPT. I made the final table last time, came up a little short. I thought I played well last time, and I ran really well this time to get it done. When you run good at a certain casino, you feel comfortable, like it’s meant to be. I had a good feeling about this one.”

Not only that, Meyers earned 1,900 points on the Kimo Sabe Mezcal MSPT Season 8 Player of the Year leaderboard, which along with the 1,400 he earned in the spring brought his total up to 3,300 with four stops to go. His next closest competitor is Keith Heine with 2,967 points.

When asked if he’ll be going for the POY title, he didn’t hesitate: “Absolutely. I’m going to hit as many as I can.”

As for the prize money, Meyers plans on making a pit stop on his drive back to Buffalo.

“I’m going to hit up Cleveland,” he said. “My plans include the Cavs opener on Tuesday. I’m going to upgrade my seats a little bit. We’ll see how close we can get to the court.”

Day 2 saw 191 players return to action, but of those only 108 were slated to get paid. Among those to fall short of the money were two-time MSPT champs Jason Zarlenga and Blake Bohn, MSPT Maryland Live! winner Greg Himmelbrand, and former champ Aaron Massey, who missed out on making his fourth MSPT FireKeepers final table in a row.

After Steven Stout bubbled in 109th place – the result of his Big Slick suited failing to get there against the pocket nines of Dave Cronk – the in-the-money finishes came quick. Among those to walk away with a prize were last year’s runner-up Cy Church (106th - $2,170), 2016 MSPT Iowa State Poker Champ John Sun (97th - $2,274), defending MSPT Michigan State Poker Champ Brett Blackwood (91st - $2,274), 2016 World Series of Poker Circuit Horseshoe Hammond Main Event champ Dylan Linde (79th - $2,584), Day 1A chip leader Nick Bogus (50th - $3,204), Day 1B chip leader Dan Underhill (37th - $3,514), and MSPT Season 4 Player of the Year Pat Steele (27th - $5,891).

Likewise, Day 1C chip leader Jeff Mackey exited in 20th place for $8,475, and not long after Mike Shanahan followed him out the door in 18th. Back in May, Shanahan won the record-setting MSPT FireKeepers for $216,829. Thanks to another deep run, he earned 700 POY points, which vaulted him into third place on the Kimo Sabe Mezcal MSPT Season 8 Player of the Year Leaderboard with 2,700 points.

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

Final Table
Seat 1: Djon Palushaj (Oakland, MI) 990,000
Seat 2: Spencer Wright (Jeddo, MI) 2,235,000
Seat 3: Santa Zawaideh (Birmingham, MI) 920,000
Seat 4: Jerry Delisle (Hazel Park, MI) 4,100,000
Seat 5: Chris Meyers (Buffalo, NY) 4,470,000
Seat 6: Altaf Motiwala (Kalamazoo, MI) 2,315,000
Seat 7: James Miller (West Olive, MI) 530,000
Seat 8: Millard Hale (Kalamazoo, MI) 2,415,000
Seat 9: Brian Reinert (Atlanta, GA) 2,215,000
Seat 10: Jake Reeser (Davison, MI) 1,165,000

Meyers began the final table as the big stack, and in the very first hand he extended it by looking down at pocket aces and getting it all in against Spencer Wright, who held pocket queens. The aces held and Meyers was on his way.

Two hands later, the last woman in the field, Santa Zawaideh, hit the rail, and just a few hands after that James Miller fell to Millard Hale, who turned right around and eliminated Djon Palushaj.

With six players left, Brian Reinert got it in with king-jack only to run into the king-queen of Hale. The kicker made the difference and Reinert, who was only in town on a business trip, finished in sixth place for $38,239.

Meyers then flopped a set of fours to dispatch Jake “The Snake” Reeser, who had flopped top pair. Next to go was Jerry Delisle who opted to call off with king-queen after Hale had four-bet with aces. They held and Hale closed the gap between him and Meyers.

Altaf Motiwala’s elimination in third place – the result of calling off with top pair of queens to Meyer’s disguised runner-runner wheel – set up an entertaining heads-up match filled with big hands.

Hale managed to take over the chip lead briefly, but eventually Meyers regained it and whittled him down. After 70 hands at the final table, things came to a head when Hale flopped top pair and Meyers turned two pair. The chips went in and Hale, a World Series of Poker Circuit ring winner, missed the river, which meant he had to settle for second place and a $117,818 consolation prize.


Rank Player Name City State AmountPoints
1 Chris Meyers Buffalo NY $191,1961,900
2 Millard Hale Kalamazoo MI $117,8181,700
3 Altaf Motiwala Kalamazoo MI $87,8471,600
4 Jerry Delisle Hazel Park MI $65,1101,500
5 Jake Reeser Davison MI $49,6071,400
6 Brian Reinert Atlanta GA $38,2391,300
7 Djon Palushaj Oakland MI $29,9711,200
8 James Miller West Olive MI $22,7371,100
9 Santa Zawaideh Birmingham MI $18,6031,000
10 Spencer Wright Jeddo MI $14,468900
11 Brian Matelic Detroit MI $14,468900
12 Dapreesch Scates Sterling Heights MI $14,468900
13 Jose Rodriguez Jackson MI $12,402800
14 Dave Cronk Midland MI $12,402800
15 Jordan Baharis Woodhaven MI $12,402800
16 Joseph Ermatinger Twin Lake MI $10,128700
17 Rick Wang Rochester Hills MI $10,128700
18 Mike Shanahan Avon IN $10,128700
19 Edward Dixon Detroit MI $8,475600
20 Jeff Mackey Detroit MI $8,475600
21 Michael Campbell Rapid City SD $8,475600
22 Wael Ammori West Bloomfield MI $7,028600
23 John Collis Jackson MI $7,028600
24 Tom Thomas Albertson NY $7,028600
25 Zac Andrews Battle Creek MI $5,891600
26 Mike Shin Milwaukee WI $5,891600
27 Patrick Steele Chelsea MI $5,891600
28 Ron Bell Toledo OH $4,547500
29 Henry Roberts Warren MI $4,547500
30 Alec Lenander Shelby Township MI $4,547500
31 Suman Thirumani Lansing MI $4,547500
32 Michael Ermie Perrysburg OH $4,547500
33 Mike Juszczak Zimmerman MN $4,547500
34 Carmino Argiero Grass Lake MI $4,547500
35 Rudy Mamo Southfield MI $4,547500
36 Bryan Gwin Battle Creek MI $4,547500
37 Dan Underhill Albion MI $3,514400
38 Robert Constable Warren MI $3,514400
39 Thomas Saad Okemos MI $3,514400
40 George Janssen Bad Axe MI $3,514400
41 Kyle Thompson Hudsonville MI $3,514400
42 Kim Schinco Freeland MI $3,514400
43 Bryan Andrews Wauwatosa WI $3,514400
44 Wasim Mahfooth Royal Oak MI $3,514400
45 Karah Sorensen Dansville MI $3,514400
46 David Saenz Brownstown MI $3,204300
47 Marshall Burns Battle Creek MI $3,204300
48 John Franciosi Rochester MI $3,204300
49 Friman Villalona Bronx NY $3,204300
50 Nicholas Bogus Holland MI $3,204300
51 Frank Dellaria Burgettstown PA $3,204300
52 Jhonithon Zakar Saint Clair Shores MI $3,204300
53 Robert Koss Macomb MI $3,204300
54 Erick Weed Chesterfield MI $3,204300
55 David To Hoffman Estates IL $2,894200
56 Michael Thompson Grand Rapids MI $2,894200
57 Daniel Peters Portage MI $2,894200
58 Bruce Swart Grass Lake MI $2,894200
59 Casey Carroll Byron Center MI $2,894200
60 Charles Baryames East Lansing MI $2,894200
61 Kenneth Harrington Petoskey MI $2,894200
62 David Berman Solon OH $2,894200
63 Sandra Morse Hudsonville MI $2,894200
64 Royce Matheson Traverse City MI $2,687100
65 Nathan Root Charlotte MI $2,687100
66 Jan Trombley Fort Myers FL $2,687100
67 Brek Schutten Grand Rapids MI $2,687100
68 Mark Haddad Ann Arbor MI $2,687100
69 Timothy Herek Bay City MI $2,687100
70 Bujar Dervishaj Okemos MI $2,687100
71 Alexander Hill Madison WI $2,687100
72 Joshua Balogh Livonia MI $2,687100
73 Benjamin Grise Indianapolis IN $2,58450
74 Adam Dutton Livonia MI $2,58450
75 Benjamin Levy Kalamazoo MI $2,58450
76 Ron Taylor Charlotte MI $2,58450
77 Vincent Grill Grand Rapids MI $2,58450
78 Isaac Kratchman Detroit MI $2,58450
79 Dylan Linde Coeur D'Alene ID $2,58450
80 Mikiyo Aoki Bozeman MT $2,58450
81 Paul Newhouse Chelsea MI $2,58450
82 Brandon Benedict Holt MI $2,48050
83 Scott Graham Fort Wayne IN $2,48050
84 Brandon Poe Commerce MI $2,48050
85 Michael Kohles Berrien Springs MI $2,48050
86 Stephen Hagar White Lake MI $2,48050
87 Eric Stocz West Bloomfield MI $2,48050
88 Samuel Angott Jackson MI $2,48050
89 Shawn Thompson Coldwater MI $2,48050
90 Greg Semer Pioneer OH $2,48050
91 Brett Blackwood Ypsilanti MI $2,27450
92 Victor Gayheart Plainwell MI $2,27450
93 Jason Smith (MI) Ferndale MI $2,27450
94 Bryan Hakl Grand Rapids MI $2,27450
95 Nicholas Davidson Troy MI $2,27450
96 Doug Singleton South Haven MI $2,27450
97 Hao "John" Sun Milwaukee WI $2,27450
98 Raymond Neering Bay City MI $2,27450
99 Adam Lamphere Lansing MI $2,27450
100 Damon Blackburn Plainwell MI $2,17050
101 John McDevitt Paw Paw MI $2,17050
102 Robert Schmidt Metamora MI $2,17050
103 Andrew Mills Fort Lauderdale FL $2,17050
104 Tony Pena Fennville MI $2,17050
105 Gregory Seroka Oak Park MI $2,17050
106 Cy Church East Lansing MI $2,17050
107 Wendy Freedman San Francisco CA $2,17050
108 Michael Parvin Silverwood MI $2,17050

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