The PokerNews Mid-States Poker Tour didn't have far to go for this past week's event at Running Aces Harness Park in Forest Lake, Minnesota. The fields have always been large for the MSPT in the state where the tour originally started, and this week was no exception with 367 players generating a prize pool of $367,000 in the first event of Season 4. Taking home the first Main Event title of the year and pocketing $93,940 in prize money was David Gonia. Along with the title and the cash, Gonia earned a RF Moeller diamond championship bracelet for his win.
Final Table Results
|7||Bob Van Syckle||$12,407|
Hailing from White Bear Lake, Minnesota, Gonia won a near-record first-place prize on Sunday. Gonia regularly plays tournaments in the Twin Cities and is known as a strong player, though this is his biggest cash to date. After exhibiting a lot of control over the final table and dispatching opponents quickly, Gonia took only 10 minutes to dispatch his final foe, Peixin Liu of Blaine, Minnesota.
With his winnings, Gonia has plans to buy a house and continue to play poker tournaments, making his next stop Chicago for the Chicago Poker Classic. After that, he plans to go to the next MSPT stop in Battle Creek, Michigan.
Second-place finisher Liu is also a regular player at Running Aces and can be found playing the weekly tournaments most nights. He'll be able to play those weekly events for a long time now with the $51,401 he took home for second place.
The addition of a featured table throughout the Main Event, which streamed a broadcast with a 15-minute delay with hole cards, was a big draw online. Two-time champ Matt Kirby, millionaire John Morgan, former champ Rodger Johnson and 2011 MSPT Player of the Year Nate Fair made for some interesting hands, as well as excellent table talk at the featured table during Day 1a. The featured table on Day 1b was an excellent draw, too, with hedge-fund mogul Andy Redleaf, local pros Todd Breyfogle and Leo Fussy and James Gibson, champion from last season's final event at Canterbury Park.
Running Aces provided a great venue for the event, and players raved about the live cash games and excellent staff. Everyone had great things to add about the dealers and tournament directors at Running Aces that helped the event run smoothly.
The tour will visit four states in the next 45 days, stopping in Michigan, Wisconsin, Oklahoma and Iowa before returning to Minnesota for a stop at Canterbury Park. For more information on the complete MSPT schedule, visit MSPTPoker.com.