History was made at the second Season 7 stop at Golden Gates as Carl Carodenuto won an unprecedented third Mid-States Poker Tour title, not to mention a $114,072 first-place prize.
Carodenuto, who won the MSPT Canterbury Park in December and then successfully defended his title in April (in fields of 470 and 376 entries), wasn’t even going to come to the latest stop until his friend Rich Alsup called him up. Seeing as the two were tied in fourth on the MSPT Season 7 Player of the Year leaderboard with 2,300 points each, they decided to catch an early Saturday morning flight from Minnesota.
A day and a half later, they finished as champion and runner-up and vaulted to the top of the POY leaderboard.
“We found a last minute ticket,” said Carodenuto, who a week earlier finished sixth in the MSPT Meskwaki. “It’s a quick 48-hour turnaround. Holy shit. Richie and I will for sure compete for POY, I just hope he doesn’t take the lead from me”
Not only did Carodenuto win a record third title – all of which came in an 11-month period -- he also took the POY lead with two stops to go, vaulted to second on the tour’s all-time money list, and notched his fourth MSPT cash, all of which have been final tables!
The MSPT’s second stop of Season 7 at Golden Gates Casino in Black Hawk, Colorado was a big one. The $1,100 Main Event attracted 490 entrants over three starting flights (98 on Day 1a, 183 on 1b, and 209 on 1c), of which 92 players returned for Day 2 action on Sunday.
With 45 players slated to get paid, more than half the field would leave empty handed. Among those to fall short of a cash were former MSPT champs Mark Sandness and Rodger Johnson, 2015 World Series of Poker Milly Maker champ Adrian Buckley, and Jim Rice, a contestant on the hit TV show Survivor: South Pacific (Season 23).
After David Hampel fell on the money bubble, the in-the-money eliminations came quick including WSOP Colossus II champ Ben Keeline (39th - $2,377), MSPT Pro Matt Alexander (35th - $2,852), April’s MSPT Golden Gates runner-up Jason Vanstrom (32nd - $2,852), Day 1a chip leader Scott Stewart (25th - $3,565), Season 6 champ Kane Lai (22nd - $3,565), and final table bubble boy Aaron Thomas (11th - $8,080).
Carodenuto, who was at his second MSPT final table in a week, kicked things off in style by eliminating Kai Wang on just the third hand. However, on the fourth hand he was the victim of a cooler running queens into the pocket aces of five-time World Series of Poker Circuit ring winner Josh Turner.
From there, Jackson McAllister and Alex Greenblatt, the Day 1b and 1c chip leaders respectively, took their leave, and not long after Bobby Garcia hit the rail. After Brian Gallegos fell in sixth, a huge pot occurred between Carodenuto and chip leader Adam Wilbur. The latter shoved after rivering kings and eights only to find out Carodenuto had flopped kings and queens.
Wilbur lost a flip to bust a short time later, and one hand after that Alsup took care of Norman Straughn in fourth. During three-handed play, Carodenuto once again flopped kings and queens, and it led to the demise of Turner, who had flopped kings and tens.
Heads-up play was an interesting one. Carodenuto began with 6.5 million to Alsup’s 2.5 million, but no matter where they finished they were going to be No. 1 and 2 on the MSPT Season 7 POY leaderboard. In the final hand, Alsup made a move with six-four, and despite flopping a pair, lost when Carodenuto river an ace with ace-ten.
With that, Carodenuto made history and removed any doubt that he is one of the biggest poker breakouts of the year. Congrats to Carl Carodenuto on winning his third MSPT title!