$

Awarded to date

The Venetian

June 9 - 13, 2018
Main Event: 2779 Entrants
Winner: Sergei Nikiforov
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EVENT RECAP

The Venetian - Las Vegas, NV

June 9-13, 2018

Main Event: 2,779 Entrants

Sergei Nikiforov Tops Field of 2,779 Entries to Win MSPT Venetian $600 Main Event!

WATCH THE FULL FINAL TABLE VIDEO
(LARGE FILE, MAY TAKE A FEW MINUTES TO DOWNLOAD)

The $600 buy-in, $1 million GTD MSPT Venetian Main Event – the 125th Main Event held in tour history – drew 2,779 runners, which generated a $1,425,627 prize pool. After three starting flights and two other days of play, 44-year-old Russia pro Sergei Nikiforov who took home $174,708 (original payout was $202,456).

“I’m incredibly tired, a long three days,” he said after the win. “At the start of the day I was the third shortest stack. I won many coinflips. It’s the luckiest day for me in life.”

Nikiforov, who plays and is also a part of Russian poker academy Poker Moscow, struck it big on what was his fifth visit to Vegas.

“We teach people how to play better,” he said of his profession. “My best companion, his name is Roman, he is the greatest guy in Russia. He wrote a book, in Russia this book is like Super System by Doyle Brunson, but in the Russia language. So, at Poker Moscow we teach lessons and also play poker.”

Early Action

Day 1A of the tournament attracted 412 runners and saw 57 bag with Morgan Polo and his stack of 424K leading the way. Others to advance from the flight were Gerry Cunniff (206,500), 2016 MSPT Wisconsin State Poker Champ Andy Rubinberg (111,500), and Tim Acker (111,000).

Meanwhile, the 1B flight drew 581 entrants and ended with 132 advancing including chip leader Ed Miller with 427,500. He was joined by notables Tim Reilly (247,000), MSPT Season 6 Player of the Year Mark Hodge (222,000), Michael Ermie (214,000), Joe Serock (137,000), and MSPT Season 3 Canterbury Park champ James Gibson (46,000).

The third and final flight proved to be by far the biggest with 1,786 runners, but it ended with 193 still alive including chip leader Nick Quraishi (527,000), poker reporter Valerie Cross (312,500), AP Garza (182,000), Danny Gonzalez (155,000), and 2013 WSOP National Champion Jonathan Hilton (120,000).

Day 2 saw 382 players return to action but only 297 of them would get paid. Among those to fall short of the money were Cunniff, Barbara Sargent, and Ray Kondler, just to name a few.

Once the bubble burst the in-the-money finishes mounted and included Randy Perkins (27th - $6,986), Day 1C chip leader Quraishi (36th - $4,990), MSPT Season 8 Canterbury Park Regional champ Paul Cross ($3,279), Day 1B chip leader Ed Miller (53rd - $3,279), AP Garza (59th - $2,994), MSPT Season 6 POY Mark Hodge (120th - $1,996), 2016 MSPT Wisconsin State Poker Championship Andy Rubinberg (165th - $1,782), former November Niner Jake Balsiger (183rd - $1,568), and 2013 WSOP National Champion Jonathan Hilton (200th - $1,568).

Just 17 players advanced to Day 3 with Longsheng Tan and his stack of 5,805,000 leading the way. That meant seven players needed to hit the rail before the final table and they included former November Niner Jeremy Ausmus (15th - $13,543), Christian Nilles (13th - $13,543), and Mark Bailey (11th - $17,108).

Final Table Action

It took a while for the first elimination but it finally happened when Preecha Taepakdee got his short stack in with the J♠9♠ of Alexandre Mantovani, who had the A♠8♠. The board ran out 10♣6♦2♦8♣2♣ and Taepakdee hit the rail in 10th place for $17,108.

Mantovani then eliminated Mats Karlsson in ninth – the result of the latter’s ace-nine failing to overcome the former’s pocket jacks all in preflop – and France’s Guillaume Diaz followed him out the door in what was one of the biggest pots of the entire tournament.

It happened in Level 36 (200,000/400,000/50,000) when Nikiforov moved all in for 5.1 million under the gun holding the A♦K♦ and Diaz called off for 4.25 million with the Q♦Q♥. Mantovani then looked down at the Q♣Q♠ in the big can called to put both players at risk. The 9♠8♦2♦ flop gave Nikiforov a flush draw but it was the A♥ turn that paired him and left his two opponents drawing dead. The meaningless 3♠ was run out on the river and Diaz headed to the payout desk to collect $26,944 for his eighth-place finish.

Becky Wooten saw her chance at becoming the MSPT’s second female champ come to an end when he three-bet jammed with queen-seven and was called by the king-nine suited of George Watson. A king on the turn sealed her fate in seventh place for $25,641.

Mantovani was the next to fall when his king-seven failed to get there against the ace-seven of Ken Kao, and then Watson took his leave after running pocket sevens smack dab into the pocket kings of Thomas Ward.

An intense four-way battle ensued but eventually, it was Ward’s turn to exit after high ace-jack failed to overcome Kao’s pocket eights. At that point, the final three players struck a deal that entailed leaving $42,200 and the trophy to play for.

“We tried to make a deal four handed,” said Nikiforov. “I’m not so crazy and gamble. Poker is a game of mind, not of gamble, and in a situation where everyone has 12-15 blinds it’s only about gamble.”

In the first hand after the deal was made, Longsheng Tan got his last five bigs in holding the A♦J♥ and he was primed to double through Nikiforov, who held the A♣10♣. However, the board ran out 2♥7♦10♠Q♦2♠ and Nikiforov won it with two pair.

Heads-up play began fairly even but before too long Nikiforov pulled away. In the final hand of the tournament, Nikiforov raised to 2.1 million and called when Kao shoved for 15 million. Kao was ahead with the A♥8♣ against Nikiforov’s A♦3♦, but the board ran out 5♥J♠2♠5♣4♣ to give he Russia a winning wheel.

result

The RESULTS

Rank
Player Name
City
State
Amount
Points
1
Russia 
 
$174,708
1,333
2
CA 
$144,734
1,200
3
CA 
$102,560
1,133
4
 
$74,133
1,067
5
CA 
$57,025
1,000
6
Brazil 
 
$45,620
933
7
Mesa 
AZ 
$35,641
867
8
France 
 
$26,944
800
9
Sliema 
 
$21,384
733
10
FL 
$17,108
667
11
NY 
$17,108
667
12
NV 
$17,108
667
13
 
$13,543
600
14
CA 
$13,543
600
15
NV 
$13,543
600
16
 
$12,403
533
17
Miami 
FL 
$12,403
533
18
Boston 
MA 
$12,403
533
19
Brea 
CA 
$10,265
500
20
CA 
$10,265
500
21
Parma 
 
$10,265
500
22
MO 
$8,554
467
23
Reno 
NV 
$8,554
467
24
Brazil 
 
$8,554
467
25
CA 
$6,986
433
26
NY 
$6,986
433
27
IA 
$6,986
433
28
GA 
$4,990
400
29
OR 
$4,990
400
30
Russia 
 
$4,990
400
31
PA 
$4,990
400
32
IN 
$4,990
400
33
MI 
$4,990
400
34
GA 
$4,990
400
35
IN 
$4,990
400
36
CA 
$4,990
400
37
MO 
$3,849
367
38
CA 
$3,849
367
39
NV 
$3,849
367
40
CA 
$3,849
367
41
CA 
$3,849
367
42
CA 
$3,849
367
43
 
$3,849
367
44
ND 
$3,849
367
45
NV 
$3,849
367
46
Boston 
MA 
$3,279
333
47
 
 
$3,279
333
48
Naples 
FL 
$3,279
333
49
 
$3,279
333
50
 
$3,279
333
51
 
 
$3,279
333
52
MN 
$3,279
333
53
CA 
$3,279
333
54
Lodi 
CA 
$3,279
333
55
 
 
$2,994
300
56
 
 
$2,994
300
57
 
 
$2,994
300
58
MS 
$2,994
300
59
TX 
$2,994
300
60
PA 
$2,994
300
61
CA 
$2,994
300
62
UT 
$2,994
300
63
CA 
$2,994
300
64
 
 
$2,780
267
65
Moscow 
 
$2,780
267
66
TN 
$2,780
267
67
LA 
$2,780
267
68
CA 
$2,780
267
69
FL 
$2,780
267
70
 
$2,780
267
71
AZ 
$2,780
267
72
 
$2,780
267
73
Wylie 
TX 
$2,566
233
74
MN 
$2,566
233
75
 
 
$2,566
233
76
CA 
$2,566
233
77
Oxford 
 
$2,566
233
78
 
 
$2,566
233
79
Hannon 
 
$2,566
233
80
 
 
$2,566
233
81
FL 
$2,566
233
82
 
 
$2,352
200
83
IL 
$2,352
200
84
 
$2,352
200
85
 
 
$2,352
200
86
MI 
$2,352
200
87
London 
 
$2,352
200
88
TN 
$2,352
200
89
Joplin 
MO 
$2,352
200
90
Mound 
MN 
$2,352
200
91
Boston 
MA 
$2,210
167
92
HI 
$2,210
167
93
 
 
$2,210
167
94
Vienna 
 
$2,210
167
95
MN 
$2,210
167
96
 
 
$2,210
167
97
Salem 
OR 
$2,210
167
98
TN 
$2,210
167
99
NY 
$2,210
167
100
NV 
$1,996
133
101
 
 
$1,996
133
102
GA 
$1,996
133
103
Niles 
IL 
$1,996
133
104
CA 
$1,996
133
105
NC 
$1,996
133
106
NV 
$1,996
133
107
CA 
$1,996
133
108
TX 
$1,996
133
109
Divide 
CO 
$1,996
133
110
NV 
$1,996
133
111
TX 
$1,996
133
112
 
$1,996
133
113
 
$1,996
133
114
 
$1,996
133
115
AZ 
$1,996
133
116
MN 
$1,996
133
117
Austin 
TX 
$1,996
133
118
Newton 
NC 
$1,996
133
119
Boone 
NC 
$1,996
133
120
FL 
$1,996
133
121
FL 
$1,996
133
122
IA 
$1,996
133
123
NV 
$1,996
133
124
CA 
$1,996
133
125
 
 
$1,996
133
126
 
$1,996
133
127
NJ 
$1,996
133
128
FL 
$1,996
133
129
 
$1,996
133
130
 
 
$1,996
133
131
 
 
$1,996
133
132
TX 
$1,996
133
133
 
 
$1,996
133
134
 
 
$1,996
133
135
NV 
$1,996
133
136
GA 
$1,782
100
137
MI 
$1,782
100
138
NM 
$1,782
100
139
Bronx 
NY 
$1,782
100
140
OH 
$1,782
100
141
WI 
$1,782
100
142
CA 
$1,782
100
143
 
 
$1,782
100
144
 
$1,782
100
145
Wilson 
NC 
$1,782
100
146
 
 
$1,782
100
147
 
 
$1,782
100
148
NV 
$1,782
100
149
 
 
$1,782
100
150
NV 
$1,782
100
151
 
 
$1,782
100
152
CA 
$1,782
100
153
Lisle 
IL 
$1,782
100
154
 
 
$1,782
100
155
CA 
$1,782
100
156
OK 
$1,782
100
157
NV 
$1,782
100
158
NV 
$1,782
100
159
MD 
$1,782
100
160
FL 
$1,782
100
161
NV 
$1,782
100
162
 
 
$1,782
100
163
Austin 
TX 
$1,782
100
164
 
 
$1,782
100
165
IL 
$1,782
100
166
NV 
$1,782
100
167
FL 
$1,782
100
168
Novi 
MI 
$1,782
100
169
 
$1,782
100
170
CA 
$1,782
100
171
NY 
$1,782
100
172
IL 
$1,568
67
173
AL 
$1,568
67
174
NC 
$1,568
67
175
 
$1,568
67
176
CA 
$1,568
67
177
CA 
$1,568
67
178
MI 
$1,568
67
179
NY 
$1,568
67
180
CO 
$1,568
67
181
Omaha 
NE 
$1,568
67
182
 
 
$1,568
67
183
Tempe 
AZ 
$1,568
67
184
CA 
$1,568
67
185
 
 
$1,568
67
186
NJ 
$1,568
67
187
 
 
$1,568
67
188
MN 
$1,568
67
189
Miami 
FL 
$1,568
67
190
NM 
$1,568
67
191
NJ 
$1,568
67
192
Vale 
SD 
$1,568
67
193
 
 
$1,568
67
194
AZ 
$1,568
67
195
NV 
$1,568
67
196
 
$1,568
67
197
CO 
$1,568
67
198
 
 
$1,568
67
199
NV 
$1,568
67
200
TN 
$1,568
67
201
AZ 
$1,568
67
202
Israel 
 
$1,568
67
203
 
$1,568
67
204
NY 
$1,568
67
205
NV 
$1,568
67
206
NC 
$1,568
67
207
NV 
$1,568
67
208
Sweden 
 
$1,354
50
209
VA 
$1,354
50
210
 
 
$1,354
50
211
Natick 
MA 
$1,354
50
212
 
$1,354
50
213
NY 
$1,354
50
214
CA 
$1,354
50
215
CA 
$1,354
50
216
NC 
$1,354
50
217
OH 
$1,354
50
218
NV 
$1,354
50
219
 
$1,354
50
220
 
$1,354
50
221
FL 
$1,354
50
222
Encino 
CA 
$1,354
50
223
 
$1,354
50
224
 
$1,354
50
225
CA 
$1,354
50
226
MI 
$1,354
50
227
NV 
$1,354
50
228
HI 
$1,354
50
229
Russia 
 
$1,354
50
230
CA 
$1,354
50
231
France 
 
$1,354
50
232
 
$1,354
50
233
NV 
$1,354
50
234
NV 
$1,354
50
235
NJ 
$1,354
50
236
TX 
$1,354
50
237
CA 
$1,354
50
238
NV 
$1,354
50
239
London 
 
$1,354
50
240
Tries 
 
$1,354
50
241
CA 
$1,354
50
242
FL 
$1,354
50
243
FL 
$1,354
50
244
CO 
$1,354
50
245
MN 
$1,354
50
246
 
$1,354
50
247
NV 
$1,354
50
248
Midway 
CA 
$1,354
50
249
CA 
$1,354
50
250
MD 
$1,354
50
251
 
$1,354
50
252
 
$1,354
50
253
CA 
$1,283
33
254
IL 
$1,283
33
255
Paris 
 
$1,283
33
256
CA 
$1,283
33
257
CO 
$1,283
33
258
LA 
$1,283
33
259
 
$1,283
33
260
GA 
$1,283
33
261
MN 
$1,283
33
262
MO 
$1,283
33
263
LA 
$1,283
33
264
NV 
$1,283
33
265
Tampa 
FL 
$1,283
33
266
CA 
$1,283
33
267
NV 
$1,283
33
268
MN 
$1,283
33
269
TX 
$1,283
33
270
NV 
$1,283
33
271
FL 
$1,283
33
272
 
$1,283
33
273
NV 
$1,283
33
274
IL 
$1,283
33
275
Kent 
WA 
$1,283
33
276
TX 
$1,283
33
277
CA 
$1,283
33
278
 
$1,283
33
279
France 
 
$1,283
33
280
AZ 
$1,283
33
281
NY 
$1,283
33
282
 
$1,283
33
283
Bowie 
MD 
$1,283
33
284
Italy 
 
$1,283
33
285
WA 
$1,283
33
286
Dallas 
TX 
$1,283
33
287
NV 
$1,283
33
288
NV 
$1,283
33
289
NV 
$1,283
33
290
FL 
$1,283
33
291
NV 
$1,283
33
292
OH 
$1,283
33
293
Brazil 
 
$1,283
33
294
Conway 
AR 
$1,283
33
295
TX 
$1,283
33
296
NY 
$1,283
33
297
GA 
$1,283
33