Chris Smith doesn't play a full schedule of poker tournaments, as the lifelong San Diego resident works full-time in IT and enjoys poker as a hobby.
When Smith does register for a poker event, he seems to have a knack for winning. Smith added another accomplishment to his poker resume on Sunday night, taking down the $360 Regional NLHE at the 2021 MSPT United States Poker Championship at Sycuan Casino.
Smith topped a field of 519 entries, going away with a $33,149 payday. He outdueled Dana Katzenmeier (2nd - $20,370) in heads-up play to secure the victory.
The first-place finish marks Smith's second win in 2021, and third in 2019. Smith also finished second in the 2019 Ante Up Poker Tour Jamul Casino Main Event in 2019.
Smith went into final table play relatively short-stacked, with 17 big blinds. That stack was eighth out of the nine final table combatants, but Smith ended up first in chips by night's end.
"I came into the final table short," Smith said. "I had that crazy triple-up right away, but even then it was still far to go."
The hand Smith was referring to happened during eight-handed play, and resulted in a 35 big-blind stack for Smith.
Another pivotal moment for Smith occurred during three-handed play. Ricardo Mendoza (3rd - $14,680) got all of the chips in preflop against Smith, who found a favorable runout with king-jack against Mendoza's ace-king.
That hand set up heads-up play between Smith and Katzenmeier. A two-pair versus two-pair setup turned into a rivered flush for Smith, clinching the win.
"I was not looking forward to playing Dana heads-up," Smith said. "He had my number all day. He still had my number at the end; I just binked a flush."
Other top finishers included Luis Pedro (4th - $11,102) and Matt Bradford (5th - $8,347).
Day 2 Action
The final day of the tournament began with 66 player vying for 54 payout spots. The bubble bursted early on in Day 2, and it took about eight-and-a-half hours for the field to narrow down to a champion.
Notable finishers included Tai Reyes Purpero (8th - $3,855), Adrianne Hall (10th -$2,313), Dantram Huynh (20th - $1,403), all-time MSPT money leader Richard Alsup (35th - $833) and Chris Carney (38th - $756).
The $100,000 guaranteed tournament ended up with a $155,700 prize pool, and played as the opening event on the 2021 United States Poker Championship schedule.
PokerNews will be on hand at Sycuan Casino for live reporting coverage of the MSPT Sycuan Casino $1,110 Main Event, set for Sept. 23-26.