James Gibson of Stonewall, Manitoba became the first Canadian to win a Mid-States Poker Tour event and he picked a great time to do so. The $1K buy-in event at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minnesota was the largest MSPT event in its young three year history and the largest field ever in Minnesota for a major event with a buy-in of at least $1K.
The event drew 376 runners creating a $375,800 prize pool. Gibson – a retired truck driver - qualified for the Main Event through a satellite and found himself sitting behind $96,205 straight cash and holding the RF Moeller Diamond Championship bracelet valued at over $5K when the smoke cleared.
The humble and likable Gibson is no stranger to the bright lights. He was also the first Canadian to win an HPT event back in 2007 where he brought home $77,720. This was Gibson’s third MSPT cash in Season 3 where he has accumulated $101,357 in earnings.
For a while at the final table, it did not look like anyone was going to win the tournament. It took a couple hours before we had our first elimination. Eventually we would arrive heads up where Gibson would have to overcome a 2.5-to-1 chip deficit against Michael Lingenfelter of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Lingenfelter owns a lawn care business and was assured his largest cash ever the moment we got down to nine players.
After more than thirty hands of heads up action, the momentum shifted when Lingenfelter picked up A♦3♦ on the button and raised to 300K. Gibson with J♣J♠ shoved 2.7 million over the top. Lingenfelter called. The board ran clean for Gibson - J♥6♣K♠9♣8♠ - and gave him a 2-to-1 chip lead over Lingenfelter. The two battled a while longer but Gibson would hold the lead for the win and $96,205.
When asked about the plan for his winnings, Gibson responded, “I’ve been telling my wife for two years that when I hit the big one I would buy her a new car. Finally I gave in and figured it may not happen so we went out and got her a new car. Then this! Now I can pay it off.”
Gibson went on to say, “I wish we could get the MSPT in Winnipeg, the guys up there would love this tournament. This turnout was fantastic! I drive a long ways to play MSPT events because I love them, it took me about 8 hours to drive here from Manitoba.”
This event wrapped up the most exciting season yet for the MSPT where the tour awarded $2.5 million. With a minimum of 15 events in 7 states already schedule for Season 4 including two stops at Canterbury Park and NEW tour stops in the states of Michigan and Missouri, the best is yet to come!
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