The first MSPT Meskwaki Main Event of Season 9 attracted 414 entries (203 on 1A, 211 on 1B) to Tama, Iowa.
At each of its stops, the Mid-States Poker Tour offers $250 qualifiers in which the top 20 percent of the field win a seat into the $1,100 Main Event. That’s how Nathan Trenkamp came to play the MSPT Meskwaki over the weekend, and it turned into a life-changing score of $88,018.
Prior to the win, Trenkamp’s best score was a modest $1,600 for winning a weekend $100 buy-in tournament at his local casino.
“It hasn’t hit me yet,” Trenkamp said after the win. “This is incredibly awesome, way more than my previous win. I’m getting into real estate investment, so probably put some of the winnings in there. Maybe go on a vacation. Boring stuff.”
Day 2 saw 79 players (34 from 1A, 45 from 1B) return to action. The top 45 were slated to get paid, which meant 34 would leave empty-handed. They included former MSPT Meskwaki champ Andy Van Blair, Iowa cash game legend Dustin Dirksen, Day 1B chip leader Kanat Ozturk, and bubble boy Rob Wazwaz.
Once in the money, the bust outs came quick. Among those to cash but fall short of the final table were MSPT Season 8 Potawatomi Regional champ Craig Trost (42nd - $2,200), Day 1A chip leader Josh Reichard (40th - $2,200), MSPT Season 5 Meskwaki champ Jonathan Olson (29th - $2,400), 2016 MSPT Wisconsin State Poker champ Andy Rubinberg (20th - $3,761), Chip Leader Coaching member Brad Sailor (16th - $4,401), and final table bubble boy John Rausch (11th - $6,401).
Rausch actually came up one spot shy of making back-to-back MSPT Meskwaki final table, and it took a bad beat to stop him. It happened in Level 23 (10,000/20,000/3,000) when Chad Ellis raised to 50,000 from the button with the Q♠Q♦ and Rausch, who finished fourth back in November when Max Havlish won, three-bet to 170,000 from the big blind with the A♦A♥.
Ellis responded by moving all in for 525,000 and Rausch, who barely had him covered, made the call. Unfortunately for Rausch, the flop fell Q♣3♥2♦ and Ellis spiked a set. Neither the J♠ turn nor 2♠ river helped Rausch and he was left with crumbs before busting tow hands later.
Final Table Action
In the fourth MSPT he ever player, Trenkamp earned his MSPT cash by topping a tough final table that included former MSPT champs Ken Komberec and Blake Bohn.
Komberec, who won the MSPT Meskwaki in Season 7, busted first after running queens into Reg Powell’s queens, and he was followed out the door by Josh Smith, who couldn’t win a flip with ace-queen against the pocket threes of Yanni Orfanos.
Chad Ellis was next to go after getting it in with the 8♠8♦ only to run into Orfanos’ Q♦Q♥. The board ran out 5♠Q♠4♦9♦5♦ and Ellis had to settle for eighth place and $10,402 in prize money.
Theo Lee then exited after getting his last three bigs in with the J♥10♠ against the A♦5♠ of Bohn. The latter made two pair on the A♥7♠10♦4♠4♦ run out and Lee headed to the payout desk to collect $13,203 for his seventh-place finish.
Wisconsin’s Steven Pike was left with crumbs after he got it in preflop with aces against Orfanos’ queens and the latter spiked a set. Pike busted a few hands later in sixth place for $16,803.
It was then Trenkamp dealt a big blow to Bohn, a two-time MSPT champ and Minnesota Poker Hall of Famer. It happened when Trenkamp three-bet all in with ace-nine suited and won a flip against Bohn’s pocket sevens.
Bohn busted shortly thereafter in fifth place for $22,004, which brought his lifetime earnings up to $2.7 million. That saw him leapfrog Poker Hall of Famer Lyle Berman on Minnesota’s all-time poker money list.
Shem Yusuf, who also won his way in via a $250 satellite, jammed his last eight bigs from the button with the A♥5♣ and Orfanos isolated by jamming from the small blind with the A♣10♣. Yusuf called for a five and got one on the 5♥J♠Q♣ flop. Unfortunately for him, the running K♣ turn and J♣ river gave Orfanos a rare Royal Flush!
Despite that big hand, Orfanos was next to fall after his pocket nines lost a race to the queen-jack of Powell. After Orfanos exited in third place for $39,608, it set up a heads-up match between Powell and Trenkamp with the former holding a slight chip lead.
Within a few hands, Trenkamp overtook his opponent and then began chipping away. In the final hand of the tournament, which took place in Level 32 (80,000/160,000/20,000), Powell limped holding the A♦8♣ and Trenkamp exercised his option to raise by making it 450,000 to go with the A♥J♣.
Powell woke up with an all-in check-raise, Trenkamp called, and the board ran out 2♠5♣7♥A♠3♥. Powell had to settle for second place (he also finished runner-up in the MSPT Season 4 Northern Lights Casino) and a $54,416 consolation prize. It brought Powell’s lifetime MSPT earnings up to $109,594.
“I knew he was conservative and wasn’t going to get it in without something decent,” Trenkamp said of Powell. “I thought he’d go all in sooner, want to get it in sooner, but man, he is a grinder.”
Season 9 of the MSPT continues March 31 through April 8 at Potawatomi Casino in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The $1,100 buy-in, $300K GTD Main Event will take place the weekend of April 6-8. Click here for a look at the full schedule.