Joe Matheson turns $90 into $51,349 at MSPT Running Aces
Joe Matheson, an electrical engineer from Andover, entered the Minnesota State Poker Tour Running Aces $1,100 Main Event through a $90 single-table satellite and eventually turned that small investment into life-changing money— $51,349 and the championship diamond bracelet.
Matheson, who has a wife and two step-kids, outlasted a final table that included current MNPokerMag Player of the
Year points leader Everett Carlton, former Heartland Poker Tour event runner-up Mario Hudson, and Midwest Poker
Classic Main Event champion Matt Leshovsky. Prior to the event, Matheson said he had never played in a
major poker tournament before the MSPT.
“I play up here (at Running Aces) in the $65 tournaments, and the $230 tournament on Saturday once in a while, but that’s it,” Matheson said. “That’s the biggest I’ve ever played.”
The $90 satellite Matheson won earned him a spot in one of the $250 MSPT qualifiers, which send the top 20% into the
two-day Main Event.
“I got a little tired,” Matheson said after the final table concluded. “It’s been three days of poker, so a little tired, but the adrenaline is flowing pretty god right now. I might have a tough time falling asleep for a couple hours here.”
Matheson said he called his wife a few times earlier during day two of the tournament and told her he was doing well, and that the action should be over by about 5:00 p.m. In reality, the mild-mannered Matheson didn’t claim a headsup
victory over the outspoken Hudson until midnight.
“I’ll walk in the house casually and see if my wife notices the bracelet,” Matheson joked.
Hudson, Carlton controlled action early
Matheson entered the final table as the 4th-shortest stack with $106k—well behind the big stacks of Carlton and Hudson.
Final Table Chip Counts (blinds 6/12k):
Carlton has been nearly unstoppable in 2010, racking up several big cashes en route to his spot at the top of the MNPokerMag Player of the Year leaderboard. He also finished 4th place in the MSPT event at Grand Casino Mille Lacs in February, and he has well over $300,000 in career tournament earnings.
Yet, the one thing missing from Carlton’s resume—as he’ll be the first one to point out—is a victory in a big tournament. He was in prime position with three tables left, holding approximately 1/9th of the chips in play.
Hudson sat at the top of the chip count leaderboard throughout most of the tournament, but he played some
phenomenal poker—big calls, big re-raises, etc.—to earn the chip lead heading into the final table. Hudson has several
career cashes in the Heartland Poker Tour and Fall Poker Classic. His biggest score was a $31,000 2nd-place finish at
the HPT Turtle Creek event in Michigan in 2007.
The first four bust outs came fast and furious, with Pete Baker, Matt “Magic” Leshovsky, Kuong Yek, and Brian
Schallhammer hitting the rail within<