The Mid-States Poker Tour's (MSPT) first visit to the south was a success over a weekend full of Mardi Gras celebrations. The Belle of Baton Rouge attracted 55 and 63 entries to Day 1a and 1b, respectively, to create a total field of 118 entries and a prize pool of $118,000. After a three-hour heads-up match on Sunday night, Shawn Schoreckemerged victorious over Kou Vang to win the MSPT Belle of Baton Rouge Main Event for $34,105.
The bustouts came fast and furious early on, as players wasted little time getting their chips into the middle. Just a few hours in, the money bubble was in full effect and hand-for-hand play lasted more than two hours until the elimination of Seville Hale. From there, Justin Truesdelland David Chocheles bowed out in 12th and 11th place respectively, and the final table of 10 players was set.
The last woman remaining and the Day 2 chip leader coming in, Erica Sumner, was the first to fall after shoving over a raise with ace-ten and running into Daniel Holmes' ace-queen.
Michael Benton, Allen Kessler, Mihail Karasoulis, and Robbie Matthews busted out in a flurry after that, leaving play five-handed. Matthews had a particularly tough exit, as he got all in with the nut straight on the turn against two pair, only to watch Holmes' K♥J♥ spike a boat on the river with a board reading K♣J♦2♦10♣J♣.
Long-time chip leader Tom Annonson then busted with 10♠10♣ when he couldn't outrun the Q♣Q♦ of Schoreck. A short-stacked Will Souther found himself with three outs when he jammed Ax4x against the AxQx of Vang, and the "Monkey" fell short of matching the success of the Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson, whose jersey he'd donned for the final table, by exiting in fourth.
Holmes attempted to push the pace three-handed, but he seemed to pick all the wrong spots. He shipped all in from the button for 289,000, and Schoreck made the call in the small blind. After about two minutes of thought, Vang folded from the big blind.
The 7♠Q♣10♦ flop left both with hopeful positions, giving Schoreck a straight draw and two overs while keeping Holmes' eights best for the moment. An A♣ turn caused Holmes to slide his chair back, and the 2♥ river officially ended his tournament in third place.
Shawn Schoreck and Kou Vang battle heads up.
As previously mentioned, heads-up play was a long and grueling affair. Schoreck began with a sizable chip lead, but Vang hung in there and soon found himself with a 2-to-1 lead. Then Schoreck found a little luck in a couple of all-in pots before grinding Vang down for the win.
The heads-up battle was a mismatch on paper, with Vang holding a $512,930-to-$4,376 edge in career tournament winnings, but Schoreck prevailed when his 6♠6♦ help up in an all-in preflop hand against Vang's 3♦3♣. Vang consoled himself with $21,032 while Schoreck became the latest MSPT champ.
The next MSPT will take place at the Majestic Star Casino in Gary, Indiana from March 1-9, 2014. For more information visit msptpoker.com. You can also find them on Facebook andfollow them on Twitter @msptpoker.