The Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) Season 5 Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells came to a close Sunday night when Jason Sell topped a record field of 383 players to win the title and $97,539 first-place prize. Sell, who began the day with just 14 big blinds, scored his victory after defeating 2012 World Series of Poker National Championshiprunner-up Nik Stone in heads-up play.
Sell got off to a great start when he got lucky with queen-nine against ace-king to double straight out of the gates. It was mostly smooth sailing from there to the final table.
While Sell was on his way, many other notables hit the rail including Kou Vang, who was denied his fourth consecutive MSPT final table; Day 1a chip leader Aaron Johnson; Day 2 leader Chris Burmeister; and the experienced David Gutfreund.
The final table featured WSOP bracelet winner Nick Jivkov, but he was the first to fall, along with Jason Seefeld when Jivkov pushed all in under the gun, and action folded to Ryan Jefferson, who shipped over the top from the cutoff. Seefeld thought for about 30 seconds before pushing his 300,000-chip stack forward and the blinds got out of the way.
Jefferson led the way with aces, and his lead only grew on the 5♦A♦J♣ flop. Only Seefeld had an out after the 10♣ turn, but no king materialized on the river and Jefferson collected two opponents' stacks. Since Jivkov began the hand with more chips, he took ninth place while Seefeld finished in 10th.
DJ Buckley busted a short time later in another three-way all in. Amazningly, a third three-way all in resulted in the eliminations of Jun Kim andTravis Lauson in sixth and fifth place, respectively.
From there, Mike Deis exited in fifth when his K♠J♦ was outdrawn by Sell's K♣10♠. Deis' performance came just a few weeks after he took sixth at MSPT Majestic Star.
Fourth-place finisher Taylor Tollefson four-bet all in preflop with pocket fours, but ran smack into Sell's rockets, and that led to two hours worth of three-handed play that featured several huge swings, including seven doubles by the short stack in all-in pots.
It looked like we were going to see eight when Stone opened to 250,000, and Jefferson called. Sell put everyone all in from the big blind, and Stone folded while Jefferson snap-called.
The flop came 7♣5♠2♣, and then the A♣ turn gave Jefferson a set; however, it also gave Sell a flush draw. Sell filled it on the J♣ river, dealing Jefferson a heart-breaking third-place exit.
Play ended after a short heads-up match between Sell and Stone. In the last hand, Sell put the much-shorter-stacked Stone all in and managed to make a flopped pair of fives hold up. Stone took home $53,370 for his runner-up finish, while Sell became champion and captured the $97,539 first-place prize.
Season 5 of the MSPT will continue from March 29 through April 6 at the Meskwaki Casino in Tama, Iowa. For more information, visit MSPTPoker.com.