In late March, the MSPT hosted our historic 100th Main Event. The $1,100 buy-in tournament took place at Meskwaki Casino in Tama, Iowa, a venue the tour had visited 15 times prior. The largest tournament in past stops was 451 entrants, but that was surpassed by #MSPT100, which drew 466 entries!
After two days of intense play, 35-year-old Jason Ramos, who last year took a leave of absence to spend more time with his three little girls and to pursue poker on the side, emerged victorious to win the prestigious title and a $108,120 first-place prize.
Prior to the win, Ramos had $161,490 in lifetime earnings, including a previous career-best $97,016 for winning the Opening Event of last October’s World Series of Poker Circuit Horseshoe Hammond stop. Ramos topped a massive field of 2,121 entries in that $365 buy-in no-limit hold’em event.
“I took a leave of absence in January to purse the poker a little bit, it’s paying off,” Ramos said. “I got engaged in December, so the money is going to go towards a house and probably some more poker tournaments. I’ll take the family on vacation this summer for sure.”
Ramos, who said he’ll be traveling to Vegas this summer, put his hand on the MSPT trophy and added, “I’ve always wanted one of these.”
On Day 2, 88 players returned to action, each looking to make the money at the top 45. Among those to fall short were poker reporter Mo Nuwwarah, reigning champ Ken Komberec, MSPT Pro Matt Alexander, former champs Joe Matheson and Josh Reichard, and one-time NFL running back Fred Jackson.
Once Nick Marsh fell as the bubble boy in 46th place – the result of his ace-ten failing to hold against deuce-three – the in-the-money finishes began to mount. Among those to earn a payday but fall short of the final table were Everett Carlton (41st - $2,253), Johnny “Quads” Wenzel (33rd - $2,703), Nikki Nelson (27th - $3,379), 2016 Iowa State Poker Champ John Sun (13th - $5,857), and 2016 MSPT Wisconsin State Poker Championship (12th - $7,659).
The final table kicked off with a bang when the short-stacked Richard Thousand got his chips in preflop on just the third hand. Unfortunately for him, his was way behind the of Jon McKamie, who held after the board ran out .
It took a while for the next elimination to occur, but it finally came on Hand #29 when Vlad Revniaga got his stack all in preflop holding the against the of Ramos. Unfortunately for the Minnesota pro, the runout gave Ramos a full house.
“The turning point was the nines when he shipped with kings,” Ramos said of the hand. “I thought I had the best hand, but I didn’t. I got lucky and it was just steam-rolling from then on.”
Seven hands later, Eric Eelkema exited in eighth place when he ran pocket sevens into Ramos’ kings, and a short time later Nathan Crookshank fell after jamming with pocket eights on a flop only to see Ramos call with the . No eight came and Crookshank had to settle for seventh place.
On Hand #66, David Hengen shoved his last 485,000 all in from the small blind holding the and Keith Heine, who had won the tournament one year prior, called from the big with the . The board ran out and that was all she wrote for Hengen.
In one of the biggest hands of the tournament, which took place with the blinds at 40,000/80,000/10,000, Joel Klipping, who was in the small blind, three-bet all in for 1.3 million preflop holding the after Heine had opened for 165,000 from under the gun. Heine snap-called off for nearly the same amount with the , and a bad beat was in store as the board ran out to give Klipping the win. Heine had to settle for fifth place, an impressive finish after winning the tournament one year ago.
McKamie bowed out in fourth place after his failed to get there against Ramos’ on a runout, and that set up a lengthy three-handed battle. Eventually Klipping fell after running ace-nine into Ramos’ pocket queens, and that allowed Ramos to take 8.2 million into heads-up play against Matt Roling’s 1.2 milion. It would last just one hand.
In the final hand of #MSPT100, Roling moved all in with the and Ramos snap-called with the . The board ran out and Roling had to settle for runner-up and a $65,325 consolation prize.
“It was a great experience,” Ramos concluded. “I love the MSPT structure. I love how it ends on Sunday and doesn’t carry over. It was good, you’ll see me a lot more this season.”