Grand Falls Casino & Golf Resort – just outside Sioux Falls, SD - played host to MSPT 156 and it was Jesse Rockowitz of Fairmont, MN who walked away the newest MSPT champion.
Last December, Rockowitz fell just short of earning his first MSPT title when he finished 4th of 977 runners at Canterbury Park where he pocketed $61,502. He was able to seal the deal this time besting a 175-entrant field to earn another $45,425, bringing his MSPT lifetime earnings to $109,077.
Local Terence Reid of Sioux Falls bagged the largest stack on Day 1A with 256,000, almost a 100K lead over the second large bag of Josh Skogen, also of Sioux Falls, who secured 161,500. Season 7 runner-up Mark Fink rounded out the top 3 on 1A with 157,500. 11 of the original 73 entrants would move on to Day 2.
Day 1B would see John Dennehey of Savage, MN emerge as the overwhelming chip leader after amassing 443,000. Past MSPT runner-up Cy Church who hails from East Lansing, MI would bag the second largest stack on 1B with 293,000 followed by Gary Germann with 204,500. 12 of the 104 from 1B advanced to Sunday.
With 23 players coming back on Day 2, just 18 would get paid. As we hit the money bubble, Steve Belland of Bagley, MN picked off MSPT Hall of Famer Aaron Johnson and Michael Campbell. Johnson was the shortest stack so fell just shy of his record 35th MSPT Main Event cash. Campbell, of Rapid City, SD, would earn his 7th MSPT Main Event cash as the 18th place finisher for $2,356 – giving him $82,827 on the MSPT.
Other notables falling short of the final table included Cy Church (16th - $2,356) - for Church this was his 8th MSPT Main Event cash for $134,947 MSPT lifetime earnings. Luke Blindert (15th - $2,692), this was Blindert’s 7th MSPT Main Event cash and Mark Fink (11th - $3,197), this was Fink’s 5th MSPT Main Event cash giving him $63,733 lifetime MSPT earnings.
As the final table kicked off, it was Steve Belland (731,000) and John Dennehey (541,000) who lead the way but it was Mitchell, SD’s Jared Mohnen who got the ball rolling. Mohnen took out Day 1A chip leader Terence Reid. Reid’s KJ initially caught up to the AQ of Mohnen when a jack hit the flop, but Mohnen hit an ace on the river eliminating Reid in 10th place for $3,197.
From there, Dennehey began his push toward the chip lead when he ousted Justin Saathoff in 9th place for $4,038. This was Saathoff’s 2nd MSPT Main Event cash, he finished 11th in the same event one year prior.
Dennehey followed that up by eliminating Dustin Harter. This was also Harter’s 2nd MSPT Main Event cash. Belland unfortunately drifted in the opposite direction after losing a race to Shanda Myers and another hand shortly after to Mohnen thus was gone in 7th ($6,562). For Belland, this was his 11th MSPT Main Event cash and 3rd MSPT final table. In total, Belland now has $81,797 MSPT lifetime earnings.
After a lull in the action, the rise of Rockowitz began. He would flop a straight to crack Mohnen’s aces sending Mohnen to the rail in 6th place (6,562), putting Rockowitz over the one million chip mark. This was Mohnen’s 4th MSPT Main Event cash and 2nd MSPT final table.
Rockowitz would then take out local Shanda Myers – making her first MSPT Main Event cash - in 5th place ($10,936) and never look back. Rockowitz continued his charge by eliminating Rapid City’s Harold Brenden in 4th place ($14,301) to collect 2.7M of the 3.5M in play. Brenden earned his 3rd MSPT Main Event cash, all final table appearances.
Rockowitz flopped another straight against John Dennehey to oust the Day 1 chip leader in 3rd place ($20,190) leaving him heads-up with Gary Germann for the title holding a 2,700,000 to 800,000 chip advantage. This was Dennehey’s 3rd MSPT Main Event cash and 1st final table.
Heads-up play was short and sweet. Germann did manage one double-up to close the gap but on the final hand Germann was all-in holding against the of Rockowitz. The board ran out ending the tournament and giving Rockowitz the title. For Germann, this was his 4th MSPT Main Event cash and 1st final table, his 2nd place finish here scored him $28,434.