On Monday night, Korey Payne became the newest champion on the Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) after besting a field of 1,239 entries to take home the top prize of $327,773 in the MSPT Venetian $1,600 Main Event. His victory capped a three-day tournament and five-day-long event that generated an overall prize pool of $1,771,770.
Payne entered the day taking a stack of 605,000 to blinds of 8,000/16,000/16,000, just one big blind above the average stack for the 63 players that returned for Day 3. Four hours later, he had maintained that stack as the field reached 30, and had doubled it by the final two tables of 16.
The run started with Payne finding a double with pocket sixes by hitting a six on the turn against Jorden Helstern's flopped top pair of queens to double to over 2 million. From there, he hit a set of queens in a three-way pot to eliminate Zachary Grech in 10th place and wound up taking a second-place stack into the final table of eight.
From Eight To One
Day 1a Chip Leader Salim Admon came into the final table with a stack nearly double that of Payne's. On the first hand of the final table, he doubled Dale Eberle, but Eberle gave it all back on the next hand when he check-shoved king-queen on a queen-high board and Admon looked him up with two aces. Helstern was then the shortest stack and lost a coin flip versus Randy Froelich to bow out in seventh shortly thereafter.
Half a level passed before the next elimination in David Poces, who lost a coin flip of his own against Satoshi Tanaka. Tanaka then found himself in the hunt, but he became the next one to bust another 30 minutes later when his pocket tens were cracked by Martin Zamani hitting a diamond flush with ace-five suited for almost all of his chips. Finding himself left with crumbs, Tanaka watched Zamani hit another diamond flush on the following hand to make his fifth-place finish official.
One hand later, Zamani eliminated Froelich in fourth, but was still third in chips behind Admon and Payne. Chips flew across the table over the next 40 minutes with Zamani eventually four-bet-shoving with king-deuce suited in a blind-on-blind situation against Admon's ace-king. Zamani hit a deuce and doubled to become the chip leader, but he then ran two unsuccessful bluffs against Payne to first double him, and then fall to him.
As a result, Payne took a commanding chip lead into heads-up play but quickly doubled Admon. The two battled from there, with Payne grinding Admon down a bit before doubling him once more. Chips then went back and forth until the final hand of the night, when Payne made kings up on the turn and led out after check-calling a bet from Admon. Admon raised, Payne immediately announced he was all in, and Admon eventually wound up calling with a pair of queens that remained second best to earn Payne the title of MSPT champion and the top prize of $327,773 that came along with it.