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Joshua Smith Wins PokerNews Mid-States Poker Tour Grand Falls Casino Hotel

Joshua Smith

The PokerNews Mid-States Poker Tour rolled into Grand Falls Casino Hotel in Larchwood, IA this past weekend just outside Sioux Falls, SD. This was the second time in as many years for the event, and it was welcomed by a warm local crowd.

Emerging victorious over the 218-player field was Joshua Smith. He bagged up the $59,221 first-place prize after defeating Steven Belland in heads-up play.

Final Table Results

1Joshua SmithBrandon, SD$59,221
2Steven BellandBagley, MN$31,719
3William PerpichMahtomedi, MN$20,088
4Brett KuzniaStephen, MN$14,802
5Luke BlindertSioux Falls, SD$12,687
6Jared MohnenWhite Lake, SD$9,515
7James OdegaardFargo, ND$8,035
8Everett CarltonSt. Paul, MN$7,189
9Russell SpaidPierre, SD$5,920
10Gerald EvertNorfolk, NE$4,863

"This is the largest tournament of the year in this area," said local player Dan Dykhouse. "Everyone looks forward to it!"

"This is my favorite stop on tour," stated Dan Hendrickson of Faribault, MN. "The rooms and pool are beautiful. This is a staple on my poker schedule."

The event exceeded expectations and attracted an even larger crowd than last year. This season's event brought 98 players for Day 1a and another 120 on Day 1b, generating a $218,000 prize pool.

With 218 runners, 27 were set to be paid. Just as the sun comes up every day, Everett Carlton makes MSPT final tables. Carlton, of St. Paul, MN, recorded his eighth MSPT final table and 10th cash in this event, both which are current records. Carlton has spoken openly about his desire to capture his first MSPT bracelet, but unfortunately he fell short on this day by placing seventh for $7,189.

"It was a good run, maybe next time," Carlton said as he exited the event center.

Hometown boy Luke Blindert of Sioux Falls, SD was controlling the action throughout the final table until he hit a three-hand stretch that derailed him. On the first of the three hands, Blindert raised from the button with the {Q-Clubs}{J-Spades}, and Bill Perpich of Mahtomedi, MN shoved from the small blind with the {7-Spades}{7-Hearts}. Blindert called, but the board ran out {Q-Hearts}{7-Clubs}{6-Hearts}{7-Diamonds}{A-Spades} in Perpich's favor to give him quads.

The very next hand, Blindert opened again, this time with pocket jacks. He got shoved on again by Stephen, MN’s Brett Kuznia. Blindert called only to see he was well behind Kuznia’s {K-Hearts}{K-Clubs}, and he was unable to come from behind.

On the third hand, Blindert open-shoved with the {A-Spades}{3-Spades}, but was called by Perpich holding a dominating {A-}{10-}. The flop came {9-Diamonds}{4-Spades}{2-Diamonds} to give Blindert a straight draw, and the turn {6-Spades} also gave him a flush draw. Even with all of the outs he picked up, the {4-Hearts} on the river wasn't what Blindert needed and he was sent home in fifth place worth $12,687.

Kuznia also accomplished a sensational feat by cashing in three consecutive MSPT events. Kuznia, of Stephens, MN, began his run by placing fourth at Northern Lights Casino in May, then 20th at Meskwaki Casino in July. Here he finished fourth for his third-consecutive and fourth-overall MSPT cash. On his final hand, Kuznia's {A-}{7-} fell short to Smith’s {K-}{Q-} after all the money went in preflop.

The final three players were Perpich, employee benefits sales representative, Smith, real estate appraiser, and Belland, construction supervisor specializing in fiberoptics. For a moment, Perpich looked to have Smith down for the count as the two got it all in preflop — Perpich with pocket queens and Smith with {A-}{10-} — but Smith would flop both an ace and a ten to win the hand and cripple his opponent. Belland then finished off Perpich on the next hand with {K-}{Q-} over {A-}{J-}. Perpich took home $20,088 for third place.

Smith and Belland wasted little time with the heads-up battle. The two fired one raise after another, getting the money all in multiple times. On the final hand, the stacks were nearly even, but Smith held a small chip lead. A series of preflop raises found the two all in again and the cards on their backs. Belland clapped his hands feeling together as he felt a big double up coming with his {10-Clubs}{10-Hearts} versus the {8-Spades}{8-Clubs} for Smith. Belland's chances increased on the {A-Spades}{J-Spades}{7-Diamonds} flop, and the turn was the {10-Diamonds} to give him a set. Smith could only catch a nine on the river to make a straight, but he got it when the dealer delivered the {9-Diamonds}. With that, Smith earned the victory and Belland took second place for $31,719.

The win was a great story for Smith, of Brandon, SD. Earlier last week, he showed up one morning for a $90 sit-n-go to try to earn his way to a $250 qualifier for the Main Event. When he realized he was there well before the start time, Smith decided to play blackjack and ran it up to $250. He bought in directly to the next MSPT qualifier where he would earn his $1,100 Main Event seat. From there, he would finish Day 1 with a healthy 142,000-chip stack before going on to win the event. For his win, Smith earned the RF Moeller diamond championship bracelet and the $59,221 first-place prize!

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