This past weekend, the Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) returned to Grand Falls Casino for the $1,100 buy-in, $200K GTD Main Event and it was just as successful as the last. The second MSPT Main Event of the year attracted 488 entries (230 from Day 1a; 257 from 1b) and generated a $471,860 prize pool, putting it just behind the record-breaking field from this past August.
While Grand Falls Casino is situated just outside Sioux Falls, South Dakota, it is technically located just across the border in Larchwood, Iowa. Despite being a bit remote, players flocked from the Midwest as well as Colorado, Florida, and Vegas. The turnout was evidence that, despite the current pandemic, there is a big demand for live tournament poker.
On Sunday, 67 players returned for Day 2 action, and at the end, it was Minnesota native Chad Bjorkman, coming out on top to win the $101,450 top prize and his first MSPT title.
"Feels good," Bjorkman said after his win. "It still hasn't quite sunk in but I'm giggly, happy, and warm" he added. It was a triumphant return to live poker for Bjorkman, who hadn’t played since August when the MSPT last visited Grand Falls.
"I didn't do too well the last go around I was here but the atmosphere is great, the staff is great and the stay was wonderful so it was an easy choice to come back," stated Bjorkman.
It was the correct choice that Bjorkman made to come back and after securing his largest payday, he plans on investing his winnings into some future MSPT's.
"I was looking at the schedule and am definitely planning playing the Venetian and then map out more future events."
With 54 slated to get paid, more than a dozen players needed to exit before players reached. Among those to leave empty-handed were MSPT Hall of Famer Kou Vang, MSPT Champs David Gonia, and Erv Bjerga, just to name a few.
Once Shanda Myers bubbled in 55th place, the march to the final table began. Among those to fall along the way, albeit with a payday, were Marc Harrell (10th - $7,078), Tim Garles (12th - $7,078), Day 1a chip leader Paul Carney (13th - $5,662), Cory Cove (24th - $3,633), Kyna England (25th - $3,161), Lori Johnson (29th - $2,548), and Lyman Woodworth (50th - $2,123).
Final Table action
Cy Church entered the final table with a stack of 2.9 million, well ahead of the rest of the field and once players returned from their dinner break it didn't take long before Larry Loose dropped in ninth place holding ace-nine against Bjorkman's ace-queen suited.
A few minutes later, Drazen Ilich hit the rail after losing the majority of his stack holding ace-jack against Cory Nordstrand's pocket kings. Day 1b chip leader Phil Gioia was the next player to fall after his pocket queens came up just short after Ha Nguyen rivered a king with big slick. Unfortunately for Nguyen, he woke up in back-to-back spots holding an inferior ace and was sent him home in sixth place.
Five-handed play went on for a full level before the next body drop when Anthony Scarborough jammed his ace-king suited into Dave Sanderson's pocket aces. In the same level, Cy Church got his short-stack in the middle holding live cards but couldn't connect with the runout and he took his exit in fourth place for $33,974.
Three-handed action turned into a one-sided affair after Bjorkman sent Dave Sanderson home in third place and Nordstrand was flushed out on the river for a second place finish worth $62,339.
The MSPT will be heading back to the Venetian in Las Vegas for its next stop of Season 12 with the $350,000 GTD Main Event being held February 4-6.