The MSPT rolled into The Venetian Las Vegas September 20-22 and after an incredible weekend, Professional Poker Player Eric Baldwin stood tall to claim MSPT Main Event 158!
In September 2018, it was 30-year old poker pro Sam Vizza, a Las Vegas grinder by way of Chicago, who emerged victorious after a five-way deal at the final table. That event attracted 315 runners.
The first two starting flights saw some incredible action, WSOP bracelet winner Jason Gooch of Vidor, TX led the way through Day 1A with 413,500 chips. Gooch had two prior MSPT cashes on his resume. Michael Ermie of Perrysburg, OH claimed the second most with 385,500. Ermie has quietly been a MSPT beast racking up thirteen MSPT main event cashes including a 3rd place finish at FireKeepers Casino in 2015 for $48,666. Other notables to survive Day 1A were CEO of CardPlayer Magazine Barry Shulman (205,000) and Katie Lindsay (92,000). 16 of 149 entrants from 1A advanced to Sunday’s Day 2.
Day 1B collected another 228 runners bringing the total to 377, up from 315 the year prior. Harold Rosenthal of Las Vegas amassed 354,000 chips to lead the way. Other notables who bagged included Eric “basebaldy” Baldwin (241,000) who final tabled this event in 2018, finishing 8th for $8,292, Minnesota’s Vic Peppe (201,000), past MSPT Champ Brian Hou (200,000), Stan Jablonski (139,000) and 2013 MSPT Player of the Year Pat Steele (136,000). 31 of 228 from 1B moved on.
46 of 377 would come back on Sunday with 45 slated to get paid. Players who came up short of making the final table but scored a cash included Patrick Steele (44th - $2,022), Bob Shao (39th - $2,022), Vic Peppe (38th - $2,022), Ben Palmer (33rd - $2,205), Katie Lindsay (32nd - $2,205), Brian Hou (26th - $2,573), Ting Luo (24th - $2,977), Jim Agate (18th - $4,043), Justin Sharpe (14th - $4,778), Stan Jablonski (12th - $5,881) and Michael Ermie (11th - $5,881).
The final table got off to a slow start but eventually CardPlayer Magazine CEO and two-time WSOP bracelet winner Barry Shulman was taken out when the of Smith Collins caught up to Shulman’s as the board ran out sending the poker veteran to the payout window in 10th place ($5,881). This was Shulman’s first MSPT cash.
After having his stack run down, Nikhil Gera was the next to go as Mark Bloomberg took him out in 9th place ($6,984) moving Bloomberg to just over 1.6 million. Then Gerald Cunniff started his comeback from just 70,000 chips to bounce Smith Collins in 8th place ($9,557). Cunniff had reached the 1.4 million chip mark and with his rise saw Bloomberg’s fall as Cunniff knocked him out in 7th place ($12,130). For Minnesota’s Bloomberg this was his 3rd MSPT Main Event cash and 1st final table.
Fernando Brito was another player who had battled his way back but ran into a red-hot Rudy Cadenas who hit a set of nines to knock him out in 6th place ($15,438). Then Richard Schneiderman battled his way off a short stack to use a pair of kings to take out Cunniff in 5th place ($20,217) who held . This was Cunniff’s 6th MSPT Main Event cash and 3rd final table.
Baldwin continued to stack chips and control the table, then took out Cadenas in 4th place ($26,833). Cadenas pushed in his last 480,000 chips and was called by Baldwin. Cadenas turned over and Baldwin showed . The board ran out and Cadenas was eliminated.
Baldwin struck again by eliminating Gooch in 3rd place ($36,390). Gooch shoved all-in from the small blind for his remaining 480,000, Eric Baldwin called and rolled over , Gooch turned up . The board ran out giving Baldwin the better flush for the win.
This set up a showdown with Schneiderman. Baldwin entered the heads-up match holding a 2-1 chip lead, though that lead did not last long. In a matter of minutes Schneiderman erased Baldwin’s advantage and at one point had Baldwin down to 800,000 chips to his 6.75 million. Baldwin fought back to take a small lead once again.
Then it was fireworks. Richard Schneiderman raised to 250,000. Eric Baldwin didn’t think long before moving all in, Schneiderman snap called and the cards were turned over.
The board ran out clean for Baldwin, and when the chips were counted, Baldwin barely had Schneiderman covered earning him the win and $80,872! Schneiderman’s runner-up finish pocketed him $49,990.