$

Awarded to date

FireKeepers Casino

May 7 - 15, 2016
Main Event: 820 Entrants
Winner: Aaron Massey
recap_icon

EVENT RECAP

FireKeepers Casino - Battle Creek, MI

May 12-15, 2016

Main Event: 820 Entrants

Aaron Massey Wins MSPT FireKeepers Casino, $174,568!

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

The record-breaking Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) FireKeepers – the tour's largest Main Event outside of Las Vegas – attracted 820 entries (165 Day 1a, 310 Day 1b, and 345 Day 1c) and created a $820,000 total prize pool. On Sunday, 167 players returned to action, and 15 hours later, Aaron Massey emerged as champion to capture his first MSPT title and a $174,658 first-place prize.

"I'm feeling really good," said Massey, who fired two bullets on Day 1c. "Perfect timing right before the summer, great for my morale. I'm heading down to New Orleans tomorrow and the World Series of Poker is after that. I thrive in these big fields over my career. I do really well in the mid-majors. That's my bread and butter. I'm just really happy to close it out in such a big field.

Massey, a top pro now with nearly $2.9 million in lifetime earnings, broke through back in 2012 when he topped a field of 1,394 to take down the Winstar The River Guaranteed $4 Million Poker Series of $651,559. Since then, he's continued to dominate by finishing third in the 2014 WSOP Event #55: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em for $255,209, runner-up in the World Poker Tour Borgata Open $500 Big Stack Reentry for $219,209, and a win in the 2014 Heartland Poker Tour East Chicago for $177,502.

Prior to this event, Massey, also a former HPT Player of the Year, only had one MSPT cash on his poker résumé -- 155th in the MSPT Venetian for $2,512. Now he's the winner of the MSPT's largest-ever event outside of Vegas.

With 81 players slated to cash, 86 players needed to hit the rail before the money was reached. Among those to leave empty handed were former champ Ryan Dykhouse, reigning MSPT Player of the Year Mark Hodge, defending champ Michael Ferrarotti, and 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event champ Joe Cada, who fell three spots shy of the money after running pocket fives into the nines of MSPT Pro Matt Kirby.

Once the bubble burst, the eliminations came at a rapid pace and included Dan Heimiller (67th - $2,223), Tom Midena (59th - $2,540), Kirby (57th - $2,540), Nick Pupillo (54th - $2,937), Mark Johnson (43rd - $3,334), and Adam Lamphere (19th - $5,002).

Jason Smith began the final table as the chip leader, but first blood would go to MSPT Season 3 Running Aces champ Rodger Johnson, who on the fourth hand picked up pocket tens and survived Ryan Lally's ace-queen. Lally earned $11,354 for his tenth-place finish.

That's when Smith got to work eliminating players in back-to-back hands. First, he sent Brian Brenneke to the rail in ninth place after flopping a set of threes to vault past tens, and in the next hand he called David Berman's shove with ace-three, which flopped two pair to pull ahead of his opponent's ace-jack. Neither the turn nor river helped Berman, and he had to settle for eighth place and an $18,498 payday.

Not long after, Al Singletary, who had been extremely aggressive, opened for 500,000 in Level 29 (40,000/80,000/10,000). Smith pushed back with a three-bet to 1.2 million, Singletary moved all in for 2.8 million, and Smith called. Both players held ace-king, but Smith's were suited diamonds. The flop brought two diamonds and the river one more to send Singletary out the door in seventh place.

After Richard Bai bowed out in sixth place – his queen-eight failed to get there against the ace-ten of Ron Krux – newlywed Chris Blik hit the rail in fifth place after shoving his short stack with ten-nine and running into two players with pocket pairs. Interestingly, Blik was married on Friday, and the best man at his wedding was none other than Casey Carroll, who was less than a week removed from winning the HPT Ameristar East Chicago for $174,469.

Four-handed play lasted awhile, and that is when Massey came on strong. Eventually he and Smith collided in a cooler hand, and Massey doubled big when his kings held against Smith's queens. Smith was crippled but still managed to outlast Johnson, who fell in third after shoving his short stack with a weak ace only to run into Kruk's pocket jacks. Smith followed him out the door one hand later.

That set up a heads-up match between Massey and Kruk with the former holding a little less than a 2-1-chip lead. The two jostled back and forth for awhile, but before long it came to a head with Massey holding Big Slick and Kruk the inferior ace-queen. Massey's hand held and Kruk had to settle for runner-up.

"The fact that it was such a big field, it does make me feel good," Massey added. "It feels more prestigious to me. The MSPT is fantastic. You offer a great product, and I can speak for me, my brother, and my friends, we're always thrilled to be able come out here and compete for a good amount of money for a reasonable buy-in. It's definitely something special."

result

The RESULTS

Rank
Player Name
City
State
Amount
Points
1
IL 
$174,658
1,800
2
IN 
$106,383
1,600
3
MI 
$69,228
1,500
4
ND 
$47,952
1,400
5
MI 
$34,932
1,300
6
IL 
$26,834
1,200
7
Okemos 
MI 
$22,150
1,100
8
Solon 
OH 
$18,498
1,000
9
IN 
$14,847
900
10
MI 
$11,354
800
11
MI 
$11,354
800
12
IN 
$11,354
800
13
MI 
$8,654
700
14
IL 
$8,654
700
15
MI 
$8,654
700
16
MI 
$6,351
600
17
Morley 
MI 
$6,351
600
18
OH 
$6,351
600
19
MI 
$5,002
500
20
Akron 
OH 
$5,002
500
21
Novi 
MI 
$5,002
500
22
MI 
$5,002
500
23
Troy 
MI 
$5,002
500
24
IN 
$5,002
500
25
MN 
$5,002
500
26
Lisle 
IL 
$5,002
500
27
IN 
$5,002
500
28
Parma 
MI 
$4,049
400
29
MI 
$4,049
400
30
MI 
$4,049
400
31
Durand 
MI 
$4,049
400
32
MI 
$4,049
400
33
IN 
$4,049
400
34
MI 
$4,049
400
35
MI 
$4,049
400
36
MI 
$4,049
400
38
IL 
$3,334
300
39
Elsie 
MI 
$3,334
300
40
Warren 
MI 
$3,334
300
41
MI 
$3,334
300
42
MI 
$3,334
300
43
Warren 
MI 
$3,334
300
44
MI 
$3,334
300
45
Ionia 
MI 
$3,334
300
46
MI 
$2,937
200
47
MI 
$2,937
200
48
MI 
$2,937
200
49
MI 
$2,937
200
50
WI 
$2,937
200
51
MI 
$2,937
200
52
MI 
$2,937
200
53
MI 
$2,937
200
54
IL 
$2,937
200
55
IN 
$2,540
100
56
TN 
$2,540
100
57
MN 
$2,540
100
58
MI 
$2,540
100
59
MI 
$2,540
100
60
MI 
$2,540
100
61
MI 
$2,540
100
62
Lima 
OH 
$2,540
100
63
MI 
$2,540
100
64
Olivet 
MI 
$2,223
50
65
MI 
$2,223
50
66
MI 
$2,223
50
67
NV 
$2,223
50
68
MI 
$2,223
50
69
IN 
$2,223
50
70
MI 
$2,223
50
72
MI 
$2,223
50
73
OH 
$2,064
50
74
MI 
$2,064
50
75
MI 
$2,064
50
76
MI 
$2,064
50
77
IL 
$2,064
50
79
MI 
$2,064
50
80
FL 
$2,064
50
81
MN 
$2,064
50