Alan Curl came into Day 2 of Mid-States Poker Tour Grand Falls as the chip leader. He stayed among the leaders for most of the day and finished the job in style, winning the tournament with the A♠A♥ to claim $64,655 and the MSPT trophy. The score nearly matches Curl's career recorded cashes of $64,941.
The tournament drew 238 players, and 54 congregated for Day 2. With 27 places paid, the money was quickly reached when Wisconsin native Larry Ormson busted out in 28th in Level 19 (4,000/8,000/1,000). Curl kept climbing during this time, reaching a stack of 700,000 just after the bubble burst.
Many of Curl's strongest would-be challengers fell, as the field was whittled from 27 to a final table of 10. Aaron Johnson took a nasty beat when Phil Mader cracked his aces with ace-king, making a straight on the river. Mader in turn fell in 15th when he ran eights into kings. Heavy hitters Matt Kirby and Lance Harris still remained, but they busted in 12th and 11th, respectively, with both losing big races.
Curl slightly trailed Chris Burke with 806,000 heading into the final table with blinds set to go to 10,000/20,000/3,000. Day 1b leader Chuck Costanzo was first out in a flurry of eliminations after the dinner break. Former champ Dan Hendrickson got three-outed with the A♣K♥ against the K♥J♥ of Brian Davis to bust ninth. John Streese was right behind him, and moments later Ryan Skluzakmade it four early eliminations when he ran tens into Davis' jacks.
Davis' big stack didn't last long as he check-called it off trying to bluff catch Jon Maras in a three-bet pot on a board of J♠6♦K♠5♦6♣, only to have his ace-high crushed by Maras' A♠K♦. Short-stacked after that, Davis went out sixth. Sam De Silva's short-stack run ended next when he got sevens in against four live overcards and couldn't hold.
Things slowed down considerably four-handed, and Curl, who hovered in the background and didn't score any eliminations up to that point, found himself the shorty with 700,000 at 15,000/30,000/4,000. His patience paid off when he opened Q♣Q♦ to 90,000 and got three-bet to 400,000 by Burke. Curl shoved, and Burke found himself dominated with A♦Q♣ and unable to improve.
After Burke's subsequent elimination, another monster post went Curl's way. Kim Rasmussen check-shoved a 4♠7♣3♦6♣ board with top two, but Curl had turned a straight with the J♥5♠.
He took the lead into heads-up play with Maras and it was over in less than hour when Maras wouldn't lay down fives on a 9♣10♣6♠6♥Q♣ board and Curl showed him aces.
Curl has been playing the MSPT intermittently since at least 2010, when he recorded a cash at MSPT Morton back when it was the Minnesota State Poker Tour. He recalled when winners claimed a bracelet and said he wished he had gotten one himself. Still, the South Dakota native had a $64,655 smile on his face when he celebrating the win.
Next up on the MSPT will be MSPT Tropicana Evansville, taking place August 15-23. The series will culminate with the Indiana State Poker Championship, an $1,100 buy-in, $250,000 guaranteed Main Event, from Aug. 21-23.