Back in March, Brian Zimcosky took third at Mid-States Poker Tour Majestic Star for $28,141 after holding the chip lead at the final table. In the MSPT’s latest stop at the venue, he finished the job, claiming a first-place prize of $61,870 after topping a field of 228 players. It's the biggest cash in the live poker career of the Michigan native, who described himself as "one of the best non-professional tournament players."
Forty-eight players came into Day 2 with championship aspirations, and Zimcosky had a nice starting position being seventh in chips. Ken Auker, David Snitkin, bracelet winner Chad Holloway, Michael Younan, and Paul "Walnuts" Bianchi all fell before the payouts began.
Holloway, who is a Senior News Editor for PokerNews, fell in the last minute of Level 16 (2,000/4,000/500) when action folded to the player in the small blind, who moved all in. Holloway was in the big with less than 10 big blinds and called off holding Ax7x. Unfortunately for him, his opponent had him pipped with Ax8x and ended up making two pair. Holloway took his leave in 37th place, just 10 spots shy of the money.
Once the greenbacks were handed out, Mike Deis (26th - $1,989), Brandon “oncommand” Meyers (24th - $1,989), start-of-the-day chip leaderCasey Bogus (23rd - $1,989) and Day 1a chip leader Joel Casper (13th - $2,431) collected payout tickets on their ways out the door.
With the elimination of Mike Holm, who fell just short of a second-straight MSPT final table after losing a race, the final table was set.
Brad Rhodes busted in 10th and Bryan Schultz in ninth before Zimcosky began his trek to the top, shoving all in with the A♦4♥ over a button raise from Mike Mustafa, who held the K♣Q♥. Zimcosky’s hand prevailed, while Mustafa was out the door a short time later when he ran another king-queen into the aces of eventual runner-up Alex Kaufman.
At that point, Zimcosky took over, running the table over with preflop and post-flop aggression. He built a nice chip lead, and after the exits ofWilliam Luciano (7th), Paul Fisher (6th), Gerald Siemienas (5th), and Bob Chow (4th), Zimcosky was sitting pretty three-handed. Once there, his tournament could have easily been over had a key pot played out differently.
Zimcosky bet 90,000 from the small blind after unknown preflop action, and Kaufman called on an A♥8♦2♥ flop. Zimcosky check-called 175,000 on the 2♣ turn, and the 6♠ led to two checks. Zimcosky rolled over A♠K♥, but he was beaten by the A♦8♠ of Kaufman, good for aces and eights. After the hand, Zimcosky expressed happiness that he didn't lose all of his stack.
Zimcosky was able to build back up without major showdowns, and after Brad Sailor bowed out in third, Zimcosky had a slight edge in chips heads up. Less than a half hour later, things were wrapped up when Kaufman raised to 150,000 on the button, and Zimcosky shoved all in. Kaufman called off his last 1.3 million or so.
The dealer spread an A♣4♦J♥ flop, giving Kaufman a straight draw.
"More outs," Zimcosky said.
The 7♠ was a brick, and Zimcosky was left fading one card for the title. A 7♦ left his two pair best, and he clapped in celebration.
"That's the key to tournament poker," an elated Zimcosky said afterwards. "I got in three big flips, and I won all three."
Season 5 of the MSPT continues from August 9-17 at the Grand Falls Casino in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. For more information, visit msptpoker.com.