Timothy Gundrum is the newest champion on the Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT), taking down the $1,100 Main Event at Riverside Casino for a career-best prize of $170,769. Gundert topped a record-setting field of 928, which topped March's previously-set record of 862 entries to earn the lion's share of the $898,660 total prize pool.
"This feels so surreal," said Gundrum after the tournament. "It's the best poker I've played in my life (over a sustained two-day period)," he added.
Gundert came into Day 2 with a stack of 158,000, just shy of the average in the room. A handful of levels later, he was one of the biggest stacks in the field before rejoining the middle of the pack with three tables left. He then made a charge toward the top, ultimately entering the final table second in chips only to find himself as the last man standing nearly four hours later.
Day 2 Action
A total of 120 players returned to Sunday's Day 2 from two initial starting flights with 99 set to get into the money. That feat was accomplished before the first break of the day when Keith Heine's king-queen was unable to get there against fourth-place finisher Stephen Torre's ace-deuce.
Eliminations after the bubble came steadily at first, with Benjamin Craig (99th - $2,156) getting the ball rolling. Eventually, the pace of bust-outs became frantic, claiming the tournament lives of others like Eric Eelkema (63rd - $2,606), DJ Buckley (60th - $2,606), Ryan Phan (49th - $2,785), and Gary Herstein (37th - $3,055).
Jason Ramos then vaulted to the top of the counts, but fell to the middle of the pack by the time the three-table redraw was reached and eventually fell in 23rd place, while Gundrum, Torre, Peyton Smith, and Todd Bartlett made their way to the top of the counts as the number of players continued to fall. Eventually, just 10 remained and March's 18th-place finisher Jared Ditmarson found his pocket threes unable to avoid counterfeit to the ace-queen of Mike Estes to reduce the field to nine.
The Road To Victory
Jalen Heald was the first to fall at the final table, finding himself crippled after doubling runner-up Jim Erickson with ace-three suited to two kings before losing the rest when his ace-queen couldn't hold to ace-seven. Smith fell shortly thereafter when he got it in with an overcard and open-ended straight draw but couldn't further improve against the top pair of Stephen Torre. Then, Todd Bartlett went out in seventh after running into pocket aces, marking three eliminations in the first level of the final table.
Six-handed play then continued until Jason Gross jammed with ace-jack and lost a coin flip to Torre's pocket sixes, which was followed by Mike Estes also losing via coin flip with pocket tens to the ace-queen of Wesley Cannon. Cannon picked up some more momentum, doubling through then-chip leader Torre, who further ceded an even bigger to Gundrum to find himself short. Torre then ran ace-three into Erickson's pocket kings in a similar fashion to Heald.
Gundrum then entered three-handed play with a little over half the chips in play but saw Cannon chip away to take the chip lead half an hour later. Then, Gundrum took it right back and eventually wound up knocking Cannon out in third when his king-jack got there against Cannon's two tens to take roughly 85% of chips into heads-up play, where a 10-minute match concluded with ace-king topping Erickson's ace-queen to win it all.