The MSPT returned to Running Aces Casino after a five-year hiatus for the Showdown Series and the turnout didn't disappoint.
The $1,110 buy-in, $300K GTD Main Event was one to remember as a total of 920 entries (225 from Day 1a; 282 from 1b; 413 from 1c) were tallied, which blasted passed the venue’s previous best field of 383 in September of 2017.
On Sunday, 109 players returned for Day 2 action, and after it was said and done, it was Texas native Chan Pelton, coming out on top to win the $169,271 top prize and his first MSPT title.
"I'm pretty excited," Pelton said after his victory, " My goal was to have a top three finish this year, so be able to capitalize on a win is just amazing."
Pelton's first-place victory was the icing on the cake, as he had three MSPT Main Event cashes totaling $21,607 with one final table appearance before his victory today, and it wouldn't have come without a strong support group.
"This wouldn't have happened without the best support group," Pelton stated. " I want to thank the best wife ever, Amanda, my beautiful daughter London, and my good friend Skyler and Andy, without them I wouldn't be here."
With 99 slated to get paid, only ten players needed to exit before players reached the money. Among those to leave empty-handed were Bradley Beetz, Nik Stone, William Reynolds, and MSPT champ Dan Hendrickson, just to name a few.
Only one level needed to pass before the hand-for-hand process began as Tyler Kolness held out as long as he could coming into the day with the shortest only to lose a race to Joe Barnard on the bubble.
After the bubble burst, the march to the final table began. Among those to fall along the way, albeit with a payday, were MSPT Hall of Famer's Pat Steele (18th - $8,820), Rob Wazwaz (79th - $2,316), Blake Bohn (80th - $2,316), and Matt Kirby (81st - $2,316).
After the players returned from their dinner break, it didn't take long for action to kick into gear as Dan Warner caught a double in the first hand back while Barnard was outkicked by Mark Sandess the very next hand, making him the first final table elimination.
Brandon Kelzenberg started the final table with a sizeable chip lead but ran his pocket eights into Chan Pelton's pocket ace to drop to the bottom of the counts.
Kelzenberg was able to hold on for a few orbits but departed after he failed to win a race against his final table nemesis Pelton.
Next on the chopping block was Justin Barnum who got his chips in the middle with a made hand of fives after a jack-high flop and was snapped-off by Warner holding jack-ten. Barnum was unable to find a third five on the turn and river, ending his Main Event in seventh place for $25,836.
Following Barnum was 2014 Running Aces Main Event champ Sandness who got his chips in after the flop with an open-ended straight draw and was called by Ben Hanson with a made hand of jacks. Sandness failed to complete his straight and made his exit in sixth place for $32,963.
Fellow MSPT champ Josh Reichard was next on the chopping block. After receiving a double-up in a previous hand, Reichard three-bet jammed with a made hand of fives and Ben Hanson isolated with ace-queen. Reichard failed to keep his lead in the race after Hanson flopped a queen and he went home with an extra $43,654 for his fifth place finish.
Four-handed action only lasted one full level after Warner jammed his pocket fours into Hanson's pocket fives and failed to make a set as he made an exit in fourth place for $57,909.
Three-handed action saw Pelton holding a sizeable chip lead while John Pierce sitting at the bottom with 10 big blinds and he got his short stack in the middle with a weak ace only to have Hanson snap call holding a pair of queens. Pierce needed an ace to stay alive but instead he was set up on the flop and took home $76,528 for his third place finish.
From there, the heads-up match proved to be a battle as Hanson secured an early double to chip away at Pelton's chip lead and turned the tides to take the lead himself.
The start of Level 32 saw the chips shuffle back-and-fourth until Pelton got his 10.5 million chip stack in the middle with kind-ten suited and Hanson called with king-three suited.
The superior kicker secured Pelton the pot and he was able to seal the deal the very next hand, eliminating Hanson in second place for $104,241.