$

Awarded to date

Canterbury Park

April 21 - 29, 2018

 
  • Level: 14
  • Blinds: 1200 / 2400
  • Ante: 400
Three-Time MSPT Champ Carl Carodenuto Leads as 41 of 259 Advance from Day 1A of MSPT Canterbury Park
Created (4/28/2018 2:18:53 AM by Chad Holloway)

Day 1A of the latest MSPT Canterbury Park $1,100 Main Event drew a record 259 entries, which was the largest opening flight in 16 stops. That puts us on pace to eclipse 500 runners for the first time in MSPT Canterbury history!

After 14 levels of play, the field was whittled down to 41 players with three-time MSPT champ and his stack of 299,000 leading the way. Back in Season 6, Carodenuto won the season finale at Canterbury Park for $116,103.

He returned in April 2016 and defended his title for $90,805, and as if that wasn’t impressive enough, he took down the MSPT Golden Gates that same season for $114,072 to make MSPT history. Only time will tell if Carodenuto can win an unprecedented fourth title.

Others to bag big stacks were Rob Wazwaz (293,500), MSPT Season 7 Canterbury Park champ Jon Kim (284,500), Steve Houle (261,000), and Alan Jeevanathan (214,000), who round out the top five.

Joining them at the end of the night were Kimo Sabe Mezcal MSPT Season 8 Player of the Year Chris Meyers (204,000), Thao “Scratch” Thiem (177,000), MSPT Season 5 Ho-Chunk champ Jason Sell (162,000), Flop the World’s Ben Valder (115,500), current MSPT POY points leader Aaron Johnson (115,000), MSPT Season 8 Running Aces champ Jeff Birt (110,500), MSPT Season 2 Canterbury Park champ Kou Vang (92,000), Minnesota Poker Hall of Famer Tony Hartmann (67,000), and two-time MSPT champ Johnny Hayes (53,000).

Not everyone was fortunate enough to find a bag. Among those to play and fall on 1A were three-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Dutch Boyd, 2016 MN Poker Mag Player of the Year Saad Ghanem, and poker couple Tom and Sherry Hammers.

Likewise, a slew of former MSPT champs hit the rail including Max Young (MSPT Season 9 Golden Gates), Joe Matheson (MSPT Season 1 Running Aces), Blake Bohn (two-time champ), Jeremy Dresch (two-time champ), Luke Arora (MSPT Season 7 Running Aces), Josh Reichard (MSPT Season 4 Ho-Chunk), Dan “DQ” Hendrickson (MSPT Season 6 Canterbury Park), and Max Havlish (MSPT Season 8 Meskwaki).

Those players and any newcomers will have the opportunity to fire on Day 1B, which will kick off at 4 p.m. local time on Saturday. That is when the members of the UCCS Mountain Lion Poker Club will be in action. We’ll capture it all here in the live blog, so be sure to join us then.

  • Level: 14
  • Blinds: 1200 / 2400
  • Ante: 400
End-of-Day 1A Chip Counts
Created (4/28/2018 2:14:39 AM by Chad Holloway)

Carl Carodenuto Bloomington, MN 299,000
Rob WazWaz Minneapolis, MN 293,500
Jonathan Kim Minneapolis, MN 284,500
Steve Houle White Bear Lake, MN 261,000
Alan Jeevanathan Chanhassen, MN 214,000
Gregory Stoker Hopkins, MN 208,500
Chris Meyers Buffalo, NY 204,000
Victor Hoffman Onslow, IA 197,500
Scott Sitron Henderson, NV 190,500
Thao Thiem Robbinsdale, MN 177,000
Josh Smith (IA) Bettendorf, IA 168,000
Jason Sell Plymouth, MN 162,000
Donovan Gilbert Brooklyn Park, MN 136,500
Nathan Lohmer Stillwater, MN 136,500
Brian Zupancich Silver Bay, MN 133,000
Dean Kaflowitz Edina, MN, 129,500
James Wilson Minneapolis, MN 123,500
Robert Mitchell Salt Lake City, UT 120,000
Chris Keller Bismark, ND 116,000
Benjamin Valder Minneapolis, MN 115,500
Aaron Johnson Red Wing, MN 115,000
Jeffrey Birt Bloomington, MN 110,500
Steven Jungmann Libertyville, IL 106,000
Alexander Truog Independence, WI 102,500
Kou Vang Maplewood, MN 92,000
Michael Anderson Mora, MN 87,500
Griffin Malatino Fort Lauderdale, FL 84,500
Steve Alonzo Beloit, WI 79,000
Joe Maas Edina, MN, 75,500
Chris Jones St. Paul, MN 75,500
Luke Struck Shakopee, MN 71,500
Tony Hartmann Minneapolis, MN 67,000
Darren Hendrickson Faribault, MN 66,000
Richard Stevens Shakopee, MN 65,000
Michael Lutgen New Prague, MN 65,000
Suprena Kretchman Minneapolis, MN 57,500
John Hayes St. Paul, MN 53,000
Daniel Kinney Plymouth, MN 49,500
Brad Cohen Faribault, MN 48,000
Adam Frank St. Cloud, MN 33,500
Neil Patel St. Louis, MO 33,000

  • Level: 14
  • Blinds: 1200 / 2400
  • Ante: 400
Four More Hands
Created (4/28/2018 1:52:10 AM by Chad Holloway)

The tournament staff just announced the remaining players will play four more hands before bagging and tagging on Day 1A. Stay tuned for a list of chip counts as well as a recap of the day’s action.

  • Level: 14
  • Blinds: 1200 / 2400
  • Ante: 400
Huge Pot to Waz Pure
Created (4/28/2018 1:44:10 AM by Chad Holloway)

Rob Wazwaz

When we happened upon Table 2, there was 30,000 in the middle and a board reading . David Abramowicz had 6,000 out in front of him in the big blind and Rob Wazwaz, who was under the gun, had 30K in front of him.

We’re not sure what happened in between, but we do know that Abramowicz moved all in for a little less than 120K and Wazwaz, who barely had him covered, made the call.

“You have the straight?” Wazwaz asked.

Abramowicz indicated he didn’t and showed the . He was drawing dead as Wazwaz held a set with his , which turned into a full house on the river.

Rob Wazwaz - 250,000 (104 bb)
David Abramowicz - Busted

  • Level: 14
  • Blinds: 1200 / 2400
  • Ante: 400
Josh Smith Chips Up Nicely
Created (4/28/2018 1:40:32 AM by Brandon Temple)

Josh Smith

A player raised to 6,000 from UTG+1, and Iowa’s Josh Smith three-bet to 12,500 from early position. A player cold-called in the hijack, and the UTG+1 player came along as well.

The flop was checked by the UTG+1 player, and Smith continued for 16,500. The hijack tanked for a bit, then released his hand, and the UTG+1 player followed suit a short time later, giving the pot to Smith.

Josh Smith - 120,000 (50 bb)

  • Level: 14
  • Blinds: 1200 / 2400
  • Ante: 400
Late Night Chip Counts
Created (4/28/2018 1:24:12 AM by Brandon Temple)

Player NameChip CountPreviousProgress
Jonathan Kim270000250000
Carl Carodenuto235000260000
Chris Meyers210000200000
Gregory Stoker210000240000
Aaron Johnson192000200000
Brian Zupancich150000120000
James Wilson130000100000
Jason Sell12500045000
David Abramowicz116000120000
Steve Alonzo113000165000
Benjamin Valder11000085000
Rob WazWaz11000090000
Darren Hendrickson10000080000
Kou Vang980000
Suprena Kretchman7200090000
Josh Smith (Iowa)7000080000
Jeffrey Birt5800055000
Richard Alsup4500067000
Gerald Cunniff00

  • Level: 13
  • Blinds: 1000 / 2000
  • Ante: 300
Daniel Kinney Puts His Tournament Life on the Line
Created (4/28/2018 1:23:57 AM by Chad Holloway)

Action folded to David Abramowicz (pictured left) in the small blind and he raised to what looked like 6,000. Daniel Kinney (right) responded by moving all in for 38,100 from the big and Abramowicz gave it some thought before calling.

Abramowicz:
Kinney:

Kinney got it in good and held when the board ran out a safe .

Daniel Kinney - 80,000 (33 bb)
David Abramowicz - 80,000 (33 bb)

  • Level: 13
  • Blinds: 1000 / 2000
  • Ante: 300
Late Night Glamor Shots
Created (4/28/2018 1:12:32 AM by Chad Holloway)

Three-time MSPT champ Carl Carodenuto
Mickey Stuefen
Donovan Gilbert
Michael Lutgen
Nathan Lohmer

  • Level: 13
  • Blinds: 1000 / 2000
  • Ante: 300
Get to Know Kimo Sabe Mezcal MSPT Season 8 Player of the Year Chris Meyers
Created (4/28/2018 1:08:08 AM by Chad Holloway)

A year ago, Buffalo New York’s Chris Meyers, who is in action here on Day 1A of the MSPT Meskwaki (his first-ever visit to Iowa), gave strong consideration to leaving the poker world behind. Like so many grinders, he was worn out wondering if and when his time would come. With some encouragement from a friend, he decided to give it one more shot in 2017, and now he’s the Kimo Sabe Mezcal MSPT Season 8 Player of the Year.

“I’m at Turning Stone playing a $500 tournament,” the 36-year-old Meyers explained of that fateful decision to persevere. “On the Day 2 dinner break, I told my friends that I was thinking about exiting poker as a career. My friend, Veerab Zakarian, who is the most confident kid I know, looked at me and told me to give it one more year. I went on to chop that tournament heads up and here we are one year later.”

We caught up with Meyers, known to Buffalo locals as “Jersey Chris” for his multitude of sports jerseys, shortly after December’s MSPT finale at Canterbury Park. It was there, with 27 players remaining, that everyone was guaranteed 200 POY points. At the time, Meyers sat atop the leaderboard with 3,350, and given he was still in contention, it meant his total would be at least 3,550 points.

No other player in the field could catch him, so he locked up POY honors and accompanying $10K prize package even before he busted in 15th place for $5,721 and 400 POY.

“It was bittersweet,” said Meyers. “I came into the tournament wanting to win that tournament. I couldn’t think of the POY. I was really disappointed to bust, but a couple days later the accomplishment of winning the Player of the Year sunk in. I’m glad it came down to the wire with Keith Heine and some other guys. Competition is great.”

In Season 8, Meyers had three cashes coming into the final stop. In May, he placed fifth out of 1,066 entries – then a Michigan state record – in the MSPT FireKeepers for $42,333. Five months later, he returned to the venue and topped a record field of 1,067 entries to win the 2017 MSPT Michigan State Poker Championship for $191,196. His third cash, which was $2,375 for finishing in 62nd place, came in the 2017 MSPT Wisconsin State Poker Championship at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino.

Long Road to Winning

Growing up, Meyers learned to play poker with friends. Around the time the “Poker Boom” hit, Meyers discovered online poker and before long, he ran up a respectable bankroll. However, he soon experienced the roller-coaster ride that is poker. Those highs and lows, coupled with some consequences catching up to him, saw Meyers’ life take an unexpected turn.

“I had a troubled childhood you could say,” says Meyers. “I was in some detention homes, definitely not close to the life I live now. I got in trouble with the law, and ended up going to jail for a year and a half. When I got home, all I had was $5,000 in my PokerStars account. The life I lived before was behind me – I’m never going back to that – but poker was still there.”

Upon his release around 2009, Meyers turned his life around. He stopped flirting with the law, married his longtime girlfriend, and decided to take poker more seriously. He grinded out a living, but then April 15, 2011 hit.

“I was a winning player for a while online,” says Meyers. “I had my up and downs, and then Black Friday happened. I started playing live, but had to go find work. I got back to it seriously again in 2013.”

Adapting to Live Play

Chris Meyers late on Day 1A.

Living just a short drive from the Canadian border, Meyers contemplated heading north to continue his online endeavors. However, given Canada’s strict crossing requirements and his checkered past, he thought better of it.

Instead, he decided to turn his attention to live cash games. In 2016, he added tournaments to his schedule and wound up making $174,059, including the $28,396 in the aforementioned $500 event at Turning Stone.

Reinvigorated, Meyers hit 2017 hard. In addition to what he did on the MSPT, he also finished fifth in the Hollywood Poker Open Columbus Main Event for $17,480, won the Seneca Niagara Fall Poker Classic Event 37: $300 Pot-Limit Omaha for $5,639, and placed 290th out of 18,054 entries in the World Series of Poker Colossus III for $4,418.

All told, Meyers won a career-high $508,463 playing tournament poker in 2017, although he hopes to beat that this year. He plans on playing a full schedule at the 2018 WSOP, including some $10K and $25Ks thanks to investors, and will be at most MSPT stops thanks to the POY prize package he won.

For winning the Kimo Sabe Mezcal MSPT Season 8 Player of the Year, Meyers will be awarded four MSPT Main Event Season 9 seats ($4,400 value) to be used at events of his choosing, a seat into the MSPT Venetian summer event with $400 toward travel costs ($1,500 value), and $250 at each Main Event stop he attends up to $4,250.

“I think it’s possible to be the first back-to-back MSPT POY if I play all the events,” he said. “Right now, I’m planning to play them all with the exception of maybe Black Hawk, Colorado. Winning it again is going to be a goal of mine.”

Keys to Success

When asked what factors have allowed him to find success, Meyers snaps off three – God, healthy living, and his wife.

“The foundation of my life, any accomplishment, any success including the POY, is a direct result of my relationship with Jesus Christs and my foundation of the Bible and church,” said Meyers. “Everything comes from that. It’s by the grace of God I’m where I’m at considering the mistakes I’ve made in my life and that I have the opportunity to play poker professionally.”

As for healthy living, for Meyers it’s both mental and physical.

“The biggest difference between poker for me now and then is the mental game,” he offered. “That’s led to me developing so much more discipline in my life in general, including poker. I was just playing too long and making poor decisions.”

He continued: “Being healthy starts with discipline and good habits. I need that, I need structure in my life, and it directly contributes to my poker success. Healthy living in number two for any success that I have.”

Finally, Meyers admitted he couldn’t have done it without his loving wife, who is often the one to provide him that much-needed structure.

“I’ve always been the risk taker and she’s always been the responsible one,” he said of his wife, a bank manager who shies away from playing poker. “She’s proud of me in a quiet way. She’s very conservative. She keeps me in check, she doesn’t want me to get a big head. It’s great because I need that.”

As for the MSPT stop he’s most looking forward to in Season 9, that’s easy.

“There’s something about that place,” he said with a smile. “I felt something special about FireKeepers the first time I went there. It felt like a good one. That place has been great to me. Things just sort of work out sometimes. It’s kind of surreal to be honest.”

You can follow Meyers on his newly-created Twitter account @JerZ716.

  • Level: 13
  • Blinds: 1000 / 2000
  • Ante: 300
Pocket Rockets for Aaron Johnson
Created (4/28/2018 1:02:51 AM by Chad Holloway)

Aaron Johnson

Greg Stoker raised to 4,000 from the cutoff and Aaron Johnson, who currently sits atop the Kimo Sabe Mezcal MSPT Season 9 Player of the Year leaderboard, three-bet to 14,600 from the small blind. Wisconsin’s Steve Alonzo called from the big blind, Stoker put in the additional 10,600, and it was three-way action to the flop.

Two checks saw Stoker bet 25,000 and only Johnson called to see the turn.

Both players checked and action repeated itself on the river.

Johnson tabled the and it was good as Stoker sent his hand to the muck.

Aaron Johnson - 200,000 (100 bb)
Greg Stoker - 240,000 (120 bb)

 
 
Player Name
City
State
Country
Chips
Progress
MN 
299,000  
299,000 
 
MN 
293,500  
293,500 
 
MN 
284,500  
284,500 
 
MN 
261,000  
261,000 
 
MN 
214,000  
214,000 
 
MN 
208,500  
208,500 
 
NY 
204,000  
204,000 
 
Onslow 
IA 
197,500  
197,500 
 
MN 
190,500  
190,500 
 
MN 
177,000  
177,000 
 
IA 
168,000  
168,000 
 
MN 
162,000  
162,000 
 
MN 
136,500  
136,500 
 
MN 
136,500  
136,500 
 
MN 
133,000  
133,000 
 
Edina 
MN 
129,500  
129,500 
 
MN 
123,500  
123,500 
 
UT 
120,000  
120,000 
 
ND 
116,000  
116,000 
 
MN 
115,500  
115,500 
 
MN 
115,000  
115,000 
 
MN 
110,500  
110,500 
 
IL 
106,000  
106,000 
 
WI 
102,500  
102,500 
 
MN 
92,000  
92,000 
 
Mora 
MN 
87,500  
87,500 
 
FL 
84,500  
84,500 
 
Beloit 
WI 
79,000  
79,000 
 
MN 
75,500  
75,500 
 
MN 
75,500  
75,500 
 
MN 
71,500  
71,500 
 
MN 
67,000  
67,000 
 
MN 
66,000  
66,000 
 
MN 
65,000  
65,000 
 
MN 
65,000  
65,000 
 
MN 
57,500  
57,500 
 
MN 
53,000  
53,000 
 
MN 
49,500  
49,500 
 
MN 
48,000  
48,000 
 
MN 
33,500  
33,500 
 
MO 
33,000  
33,000 
 
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
MN 
0  
Busted 
  
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
MN 
0  
Busted 
  
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
Savage 
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
Marion 
IA 
0  
Busted 
 
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
ND 
0  
Busted 
 
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
MN 
0  
Busted 
  
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
WI 
0  
Busted 
 
CO 
0  
Busted 
 
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
CO 
0  
Busted 
 
WY 
0  
Busted 
 
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
SD 
0  
Busted 
 
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
NV 
0  
Busted 
 
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
OR 
0  
Busted 
  
Austin 
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
MN 
0  
Busted 
 
Rank
Player Name
City
State
Country
Amount
Points
1
MN 
$109,375
1,600
2
MN 
$67,203
1,400
3
Eagan 
MN 
$48,430
1,300
4
MN 
$36,628
1,200
5
Nevis 
MN 
$27,471
1,100
9
 
 
$9,666
700
10
MN 
$7,631
600
13
MN 
$6,105
500
14
MN 
$6,105
500
15
MN 
$6,105
500
16
Savage 
MN 
$5,087
400
17
MN 
$5,087
400
18
CO 
$5,087
400
19
MN 
$4,629
300
21
Hugo 
MN 
$4,629
300
22
MN 
$3,917
200
24
MN 
$3,917
200
30
NY 
$2,747
100
32
MN 
$2,747
100
33
Onslow 
IA 
$2,747
100
35
CO 
$2,747
100
36
MN 
$2,747
100
37
MN 
$2,493
75
38
MN 
$2,493
75
40
 
 
Turkey 
$2,493
75
42
MN 
$2,493
75
45
MN 
$2,493
75
47
MN 
$2,289
50
49
MN 
$2,289
50
50
Provo 
UT 
$2,289
50
54
MN 
$2,289
50
LEVEL INFO
Level
14
Blinds
1200 / 2400
Ante
400
TOURNAMENT INFO
Entries
259
Players Remaining
41
Average Chip Stack
126,341
Total Chips
5,180,000
TOP 10 CHIP COUNT
RANK
PLAYER
CHIPS
299,000
293,500
284,500
261,000
214,000
208,500
204,000
197,500
190,500
10 
177,000
SEASON TOP 10 POY POINTS
RANK
PLAYER
CHIPS
5,967
4,600
4,300
3,850
3,700
3,375
3,150
3,050
2,900
10 
2,750