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Andrew VanBlair Wins PokerNews Mid-States Poker Tour Meskwaki Casino Hotel

  • Mid-States Poker TourMid-States Poker Tour
Andrew VanBlair

After enduring the longest Main Event in PokerNews Mid-States Poker Tour history, occupational therapist Andy VanBlair of West Des Moines, Iowa was the last man standing at MSPT’s latest stop at Meskwaki Casino Hotel.

1Andrew VanblairWest Des Moines, IA$88,958
2Shane FullerOlathe, KS$48,672
3Derek DempsterAnkeny, IA$32,224
4Sam De SilvaAustin, MN$21,819
5Nathan RusslerJackson, MI$16,784
6Everett CarltonSt. Paul, MN$13,427
7Brett SchwertleyOmaha, NE$11,749
8Derek CrooksMorton, MN$10,070
9Shaun DeckerWaterloo, IA$8,392

Notable finishes: Larry Ormson (15th - $4,700), Peixin Liu (34th - $1,678)

This was the fifth time the PokerNews MSPT has made a stop at Meskwaki Casino — this event drew the second largest field in Meskwaki history with 348 runners, just one entrant short of tying the record set in Season 3 with 349.

The final table contained representatives from five states including three from Iowa (VanBlair, Derek Dempster and Shaun Decker), one from Nebraska (Brett Schwertley), one from Kansas (Shane Fuller), one from Michigan (Nathan Russler) and three from Minnesota (Derek Crooks, Everett Carlton and Sam De Silva).

VanBlair survived Day 1 with 76,600 chips, placing him 33 of 102 heading into Day 2. He then arrived at the final table with over 1.2 million, putting him only behind the chip leader Fuller — a construction operator from Olathe, KS. The final table was intense, with several players holding the chip lead at one point. Play went on several hours when it reached four-handed action before De Silva was sent to the rail holding the {4-Diamonds}{4-Hearts} versus Fuller’s {A-Spades}{3-Diamonds}. Fuller flopped an ace sending De Silva home in fourth place with $21,819.

Though the event itself was the longest ever in MSPT history, the heads-up battle only lasted 10 hands following Dempster's elimination in third place. In those 10 hands, though, each player had the opportunity to eliminate the other. As play began, Fuller had VanBlair out-chipped roughly 3-to-1, 5.1 million to 1.7 million.

On the third hand of heads-up play, VanBlair shoved with the {6-Clubs}{4-Clubs} from the button and was called quickly by Fuller with pocket threes. The board ran out {9-Spades}{8-Hearts}{5-Hearts}{K-Spades} with the {7-Clubs} landing on the river giving VanBlair the straight for a double up.

Just two hands later, VanBlair shoved 40 big blinds from the button with the {10-Hearts}{9-Diamonds} and Fuller snap-called with the {A-Spades}{K-Diamonds}. Fuller earned much of his stack back when the board landed {Q-Hearts}{6-Spades}{3-Hearts}{A-Clubs}{7-Spades}.

On the ninth hand, VanBlair shoved pocket fours from the button and Fuller instantly called with the {A-Diamonds}{8-Spades} giving him his second chance via race to eliminate VanBlair and take home the RF Moeller diamond championship bracelet. Fuller would be denied once again, though, as the {9-Spades}{J-Diamonds}{6-Spades}{2-Diamonds}{10-Diamonds} board doubled up VanBlair to give him a slight chip lead over Fuller.

At 2:30 a.m. local time, the 10th hand of heads-up action would finally determine the next PokerNews MSPT champion. Fuller raised from the button holding the {A-Diamonds}{9-Spades}. VanBlair three-bet shoved with the {A-Clubs}{4-Clubs}, and Fuller called quickly. VanBlair would get the most of the {K-Hearts}{Q-Diamonds}{4-Spades} flop to put him in the lead. The {5-Spades} on the turn and the {5-Clubs} on the river were no help to Fuller eliminating him in second place for $48,672. VanBlair took home $88,958 for the win.

It is important to note that Carlton, the sixth-place finisher, of St. Paul, MN is the most decorated MSPT player of all time. This was Carlton’s seventh MSPT final table and ninth MSPT cash — an astonishing feat as this was the MSPT’s 31st event.

For more information on the complete MSPT schedule, visit

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