FireKeepers Casino: May 9 - 18, 2014


FireKeepers Casino - Battle Creek, MI

May 9-18, 2014

Main Event: 411 Entrants

Jason Zarlenga Wins PokerNews MSPT at FireKeepers Casino, $101,482

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

On Sunday, May 19, the final 65 players of a 411-entry field returned to FireKeepers Casino in Battle Creek, Michigan to play down to a winner in the latest Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) $1,100 Main Event. It took 12 hours of play, but during that time the money bubble was burst and Jason Zarlenga of Lansing vanquished all his opponents to claim the title and $101,482 first-place prize.

“You have no idea how bad I wanted this,” said Zarlenga, who also added that his next stop will be Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker.

Day 2 kicked off with a plethora of eliminations including those of Zane Palmer, Santiago Vila, Mike Ermie, Michael Bozzo, Darrell Newcomer, Bob Buyce, Denny Robinson, and Robert West, all of who left empty handed.

In Level 17 (2,500/5,000/500), just 46 players remained, and with all but one of them slated to make the money, the bubble is on. Now when you hear the name Bob Dillon, you no doubt think of the American musician, singer-songwriter, artist, and writer, but at the MSPT FireKeepers that name is now synonymous with the bubble boy.

That's because Robert Dillon, who goes by Bob, got his last 41,500 all in preflop and was up against "Wild Bill" Romer.

Romer: 10♥9♣ 
Dillon: A♣J♣

Dillon got it in good, but the 10♠2♥Q♦ flop gave Romer the lead with a pair of tens. The 9♥ turn improved Romer to two pair, meaning Dillon needed to fill his straight on the river to stay alive. Unfortunately for him, that didn't happen as the Q♠ blanked. Dillon was felled in 46th place, meaning the remaining players were guaranteed a minimum payday of $1,986.

The in-the-money eliminations piled up throughout the afternoon and included Matt Soloman (45th - $1,986), “Wild Bill” Romer (34th - $2,184), MSPT Majestic champ Ken Baime (32nd - $2,184), Day 1b chip leader Carter Myers (24th - $2,462), and FireKeepers stud Adam Lamphere (17th - $3,138).

Lamphere, the runner-up the past two times the MSPT visited Battle Creek, began the day as the fifth-shortest stack. He got lucky to double early on when his Big Slick cracked aces, and he used those chips to make his way deep into the money. Alas, his run came to an end courtesy of JC Chen.

It happened in Level 22 (8,000/16,000/2,000) when Lamphere shoved all in preflop holding the Q♦J♦ and Chen called him with Ax8x. The flop paired Chen's eight, but it also contained two diamonds to give Lamphere a flush draw. An 8x on the turn improved Chen to trips, while an Ax on the river gave him a full house. Lamphere missed his flush and had to settle for 17th place. Still, that's three times the MSPT has come to FireKeepers and three times Lamphere has shown he's one of the best.

After the last woman in the field, Heather Schuchaskie, exited in 16th place, a few other notables – including Tyler Caspers (15th - $3,972), Taylor Tollefson (14th - $3,972), and Ken Payne (12th - $5,163) – followed her out the door before the final table was set.

After a short dinner break, the final table of ten returned to battle down to a winner. The first elimination of the final table came within minute when Zarlenga and Marko Doljevic both picked up pocket pairs. A low flop saw the chips go in, and the sixes of Doljevic were in bad shape against Zarlenga’s jacks. Neither the turn nor river changed a thing, and Doljevic exited in tenth place.

From there, Dash Dudley (9th - $7,943), Day 1a chip leader Scott Hammett (8th - $11,518), and Dustin Hargis (7th - $15,092) all fell, followed by John Michalak. Michalak’s last hand happened in Level 26 (20,000/40,000/5,000) when he opened for 100,000 under the gun and then called a three-bet to 237,000 from Mark Johnson. The K♣10♥J♣ flop saw Michalak call a bet of 163,000, and then both players checked the 10♦ turn. When the 5♣ completed the board on the river, Johnson moved all in and Michalak leaned back in his chair.

"Do you have nines?" he asked. "That's what I put you on."

About 20 seconds later Michalak called off his last 450,000 with the J♠A♦. It was the wrong call as Johnson had flopped Broadway with the A♣Q♥.

"I didn't believe you," Michalak said before making his way to the payout desk in sixth place to collect $18,866.

Over the next couple levels, start-of-the-day chip leader Nick Perkins (5th - $22,639) and JC Chen (4th - $28,795) both fell. The former got it in with a weak ace against Zarlenga’s big ace, while the latter was on the wrong end of a set-over-set cooler. Not long after, Johnson lost a massive flip to Zarlenga, who then went on to face off against Mike Deis in heads-up play.

The two began essentially even in chips, but it proved to be a back-and-forth affair. Zarlenga fell behind early, but then doubled big into the chip lead. From there, he was able to seal the deal by winning a race in the final hand.

Congratulations to Jason Zarlenga, winner of the MSPT FireKeepers Main Event.

The next MSPT will be at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas during their popular Deep Stack Extravaganza (DSE) series. The $1,100 buy-in Mid-Season Championship will take place from June 2-4 and boast a $300,000 guarantee prize pool. For more on the MSPT, visit


Rank Player Name City State AmountPoints
1 Jason Zarlenga Lansing MI $101,4821,500
2 Michael Deis Ann Arbor MI $58,5891,300
3 Mark Johnson (MI) Warren MI $35,7451,200
4 Xingjun Chen Richland MI $28,7951,100
5 Nick Perkins Chesaning MI $22,6391,000
6 John Michalak Cleveland OH $18,866900
7 Dustin Hargis Galesburg MI $15,092800
8 Scott Hammett Chelsea MI $11,518700
9 Dash Dudley Lansing MI $7,943600
10 Marko Doljevic Highland MI $5,163500
11 Glen Henbest Traverse City MI $5,163500
12 Kenneth Payne Baraboo WI $5,163500
13 Alex Barill Grosse Ile MI $3,972400
14 Taylor Tollefson Granite Falls MN $3,972400
15 Tyler Caspers Echo MN $3,972400
16 Heather Schuchaskie Lansing MI $3,138300
17 Adam Lamphere Lansing MI $3,138300
18 Kevin O'Connor Lansing MI $3,138300
19 Steve Virant Livonia MI $2,462200
20 Scott Sowers Howell MI $2,462200
21 Deanna Bell Holland MI $2,462200
22 Pierre Armster Stugis MI $2,462200
23 Ryan Terpstra Grand Rapids MI $2,462200
24 Carter Myers Breckenridge MI $2,462200
25 Gary Farhat Jackson MI $2,462200
26 Eugene Truxall Ann Arbor MI $2,462200
27 Jim Hettich Olivet MI $2,462200
28 Jerry Gregory New Baltimore MI $2,184100
29 Roger Isaac Flushing MI $2,184100
30 Brock Wilson (MI) Trenton MI $2,184100
31 Sabry Mansour Lake Orion MI $2,184100
32 Kenneth Baime Glenview IL $2,184100
33 Frank Galilei Roanoke IN $2,184100
34 Bill Romer Waterloo IA $2,184100
35 Stephen Burns Lansing MI $2,184100
36 Doug Cruce Williamston MI $2,184100
37 Jacob Jarous Lansing MI $1,98650
38 Jake Baumgartner Grand Rapids MI $1,98650
39 Steve Anderson (MI) Clarklake MI $1,98650
40 Vance Essak West Bloomfield MI $1,98650
41 Bob Hoag Battle Creek MI $1,98650
42 Bob Koltuniak Traverse City MI $1,98650
43 Ken Stevens Marlette MI $1,98650
44 James Petzing Douglas MI $1,98650
45 Matt Soloman Ann Arbor MI $1,98650

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