The first stop of the Mid-States Poker Tour Season 6 concluded on Sunday at bestbet Jacksonville, Brian Arbaugh had two career five-figure live scores, both at the Florida venue for about $55,000 total. After 14 hours of grueling Day 2 play, he added a six-figure score that trumped the rest of his cashes combined, topping the 421-entry field to capture the $102,806 first-place prize. Arbaugh defeated a tough final table that included 2004 World Series of Poker Main Event champ Greg Raymer, who bowed out in ninth.
Out of 421 runners, a field that produced a prize pool more than double the guarantee, 71 made their way into the Florida card room for Day 2 play. Of those, 45 would make the money. A couple of former champs,Jason Zarlenga and Ryan Dykhouse, were among those to fall before the bubble. Tour regulars Steve Anderson and Jim Boone also left empty-handed. Judd Greenagel and former MSPT Player of the YearPatrick Steele fell during the money as the pace of play picked up until two tables remained.
Longtime chip leader James Wilson, who was seeking a second straight final table, sent Arbaugh a massive double during Level 22 (10,000/20,000/3,000) on a Q♠8♦2♦ flop in a three-bet pot. Wilson bet out and called a raise, then check-called a 483,000 shove with A♦3♦ after the 3♠ turned. Arbaugh had K♣K♥, which held up on the river, and Wilson was done shortly thereafter.
Eventual runner-up Jeff Klein nailed a couple of sets on the river to bust opponents, and when Raymer's A♣K♣ held up against the KxJx of Ken Taffaro, the final table was set. Klein and Arbaugh had sizable leads over the field at that point with around 1.4 million, while third-place Toby Boashad 880,000 with blinds at 15,000/30,000/5,000.
Mark Hodge was eliminated in 10th after coming seventh at the last MSPT of 2014. Later in the same level, Raymer elected to take a passive line after three-betting from the blinds and flopping top pair against Boas on an A♠2♣9♥. Both players checked the flop, and Raymer check-called 160,000 on the 10♠ turn and 200,000 on the 3♥ river. Boas turned two pair with 10♣9♣, and Raymer was done in ninth in a double knockout shortly thereafter when Boas picked up kings and also busted Wil Augenstein in eighth.
Daren Wooten fell in seventh, followed by KC Collins in sixth. Then, Arbaugh blasted off most of his stack to Boas when the latter rivered a set of tens in a three-bet pot. Arbaugh was under 20 big blinds at that point but he survived the elimination of Andrew Dykeman in fifth and clawed his way back to the co-lead with Klein again when Klein sent Boas packing by binking a three-outer with A♦J♦ against A♥Q♠.
Arbaugh looked to be out the door all in preflop with the K♦10♠, having had his three-bet shove called by Klein and his A♠J♥. Klein needed a queen on the river after an A♥J♦5♦9♠ run out, and he got the Q♥ for new life.
Stubborn short stack Tim Forsberg finally hit the rail in third after numerous doubles, also courtesy of Klein and ace-jack yet again, as Klein flopped aces full against Forsberg's queens to take a three-to-one heads-up lead.
First Arbaugh doubled up with A♠10♦ all in preflop against Klein's K♦Q♥. Then, the key pot of heads up happened when Arbaugh made a backdoor flush after Klein turned a gutshot and the latter paid him off for a huge river bet. Two hands later, Arbaugh sealed the deal with aces against second pair to take the title.
The MSPT will return in a couple of weeks with another stop at Running Aces in Minnesota, and PokerNews will be on hand for more coverage. For more information visit msptpoker.com.