The Mid-States Poker Tour Season 7 finale at Canterbury Park drew 464 entrants (213 on Day 1a and 251 on 1b), which made it the second-largest MSPT ever held at the venue. The $200,000 advertised guarantee was more than doubled, and after three days of play 47-year-old chief underwriter and recreational poker player Jonathan Kim emerged victorious to capture a $107,659 first-place prize.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Kim, who qualified for the tournament via a $250 satellite. “I’ve been playing the MSPT since the beginning, but this is actually my first MSPT cash. It’s pretty cool.”
While it was his first cash on the tour, Kim is a familiar face at Canterbury Park. The majority of his previous $37,886 in lifetime earnings have come at the cardroom, including his former best cash of $4,423, which came from finishing ninth in the 2009 Twin Cities Poker Open.
Kim said he doesn’t have any immediate plans for the money other than to help with his 19-year-old son’s college education.
Day 2 saw 78 players return to action, but 33 of them needed to leave empty handed before the money was made at the top 45. Among those to miss out on a payday were Minnesota Poker Hall of Famer Mike Schneider, MSPT Pro Matt Kirby, and bubble boy Scotter Clark.
Notables who walked away with a cash were Day 1a chip leader Jim Boone (41st - $2,243), two-time MSPT champ Jeremy Dresch (19th - $3,364), Blue Shark Optic’s Erick Wright (13th - $5,832), and World Series of Poker bracelet winner John Reading (12th - $7,626).
Kim got off to a hot start at the final table when on Hand #12 he looked down at pocket kings and chip leader Sam Rubin picked up pocket queens. The latter player flatted preflop, but fell for the fast play of Kim, who flopped top pair and bet it. He then shoved the turn and Rubin check-called drawing dead. That gave Kim the chip lead and he never looked back, especially after his Big Slick overcame the queens of his most experienced competition, Kou Vang, in 10th place.
“I wanted him to think I didn’t have it, tried to induce action,” Kim said of the big hand against Rubin. “It was a bit of reverse psychology. I was obviously running hot, and once I had half the chips in play I was very aggressive. Pedal to the metal.”
Rich Alsup Captures MSPT Season 7 POY Title
Since its establishment in Season 4, the MSPT Player of the Year race has consistently come down to the Canterbury Park finale. Rich Alsup needed to finish in 27th place or better to surpass his good friend Carl Carodenuto, and he did it by placing 26th!
Amazingly, it came one year after Alsup finished runner-up to Mark Hodge after finishing ninth at the MSPT Canterbury Park final table when he needed seventh or better.
Alsup came on strong in the second half of the season with three cashes in the last month. Throughout the year, Alsup had six cashes in Season 7 for $126,639 and three final table appearances. That included a runner-up finish to Carodenuto in the MSPT Golden Gates for $68,919, fourth in the MSPT 2016 Wisconsin State Poker Championship for $34,280, and sixth in the MSPT Running Aces for $13,287.
Early on in the POY race, it was Travis Lauson who pulled out to the early lead after his win in the MSPT Potawatomi. As the season progressed others caught up with 2016 Iowa State Poker Champ John Sun eventually taking over the top spot and keeping it for quite some time.
Poker pro Aaron Massey challenged him by making back-to-back final tables at the MSPT FireKeepers (one of which was a win), but then he was passed by both Carodenuto and Alsup thanks to their one-two punch in Colorado.
For his accomplishment, Alsup will receive POY recognition and a $1,100 Main Event seat to the Mid-Season Championship at The Venetian in Las Vegas as well as $400 cash toward airfare. He will also receive $250 to every Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) Main Event in Season 8 (up to $5,000).
In addition, Kondler & Associates, CPAs will provide Alsup with free tax services for all his winnings. This includes preparation of all tax forms (1040, 1099, etc.) as well as year-long tax planning and guidance. The firm has specialized in gambling taxation for over 10 years and has developed a concentration in the gaming industry. Kondler & Associates, CPAs has offices in Las Vegas, Atlantic City and San Diego and prepares tax returns for clients across the country.