Rodger Johnson of Grand Forks, ND just took down the largest BLUFF Mid-States Poker Tour event to date at Running Aces Harness Park in Columbus, MN to earn $79,185 and the RF Moeller Diamond Championship bracelet!
Johnson – who’s in the farming and banking business – took first in the 311-player field but he’s not the first in his family to win a bracelet. His brother Brian Johnson took down Season 1, Event 4 at Northern Lights Casino in Walker, MN back in June of 2010.
Johnson had only played one BLUFF Mid-States Poker Tour event previously. He travels all over to play when he can.
“I come to Minneapolis to play some.” He stated. "I saw it on the internet so I came down. I get out to play quite a bit. I’m actually going to Vegas in March to play the Wynn Classic. Then I’ll be back for the MSPT in Iowa.”
Johnson’s friend Todd Innes - also from Grand Forks - finished twenty-second for $2,390. Innes didn’t stick around to sweat his buddy though as they took different forms of transportation. Innes drove down whereas Johnson took a plane, he’s also a pilot.
Johnson was a direct-buy into Day 1B. He entered Day 2 at sixteen big blinds with 32,000 chips. At one point he was all-in with queen-nine off suit versus ace-jack for his last 15,200.
“I won that hand,” Johnson said, “Then started picking up some cards. But I played the entire tournament, both days, without picking up aces.”
Johnson began the final table with 525,000, just below average. As play progressed he found himself short-stack and in serious danger of hitting the rail.
With the blinds at 20K/40K, he faced a 3X raise in front of him that was more than his 115K stack. He got it all-in with ace-three suited in a three-way pot and hit his flush to triple up.
“I had a suited-ace with a raise in front of me for more than my current stack.” Stated Johnson. “A suited-ace was good enough. My hope was to triple-up.”
After that it was a fairly smooth flight. He rolled to a large chip lead and squared off against Erick Wright. Johnson encountered some minor turbulence early in the heads-up battle.
“I just smooth called ace-king figuring he would push.” Johnson said. “It went down exactly like I wanted except he flopped a ten to pair his queen-ten. He rivered a queen for two-pair. Something like that can change the momentum completely.”
Not too long after, Johnson flopped a set of nines and got Wright to bluff the flop with king-high. Johnson instantly called the shove and that was it!
Wright again proved he’s a force to be reckoned with. Wright cashed for more than $100,000 in tournaments during 2011 including a win at the Twin Cities Poker Open for $41K, a win at the Running Aces Anniversary tournament for $19K and second in the Great Minnesota Freeze Out for $23K. Wright earned over $43K here for his runner-up finish.
Johnson has an impressive resume as well. In early 2010 he placed second in two Wynn Classic events just days apart for $25K and $39K. He also has two Heartland Poker Tour final tables, placing second and fifth.
“My brother and I have a little competition going about who’s got the larger cash.” Johnson said. “His was over $50K, he’s had me beat until now. This gives me a lot of room. Brian is the COO of our bank now and has four kids so he’s got to stay a little closer to home.”
The next stop for the BLUFF Mid-States Poker Tour is at Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel in Tama, IA March 24 – April 1. That event is $300,000 GUARANTEED!!
Will the BLUFF MSPT break 400?
Visit www.msptpoker.com for a complete list of upcoming events as well as hotel information and structures.
See you in Iowa!