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Todd Kerr Wins First Ever Mid-States Poker Tour "Keep It or Cash It" Event

Todd Kerr

On Sunday, the first ever PokerNews Mid-States Poker Tour Keep It or Cash It event was held at the Downstream Casino Resort in Quapaw, Oklahoma. The $450 buy-in event, which featured a $150,000 guaranteed prize pool and attracted 375 runners, was won by Todd Kerr of Grove, Oklahoma for a top prize of $37,050.

Final Table Results

1stTodd KerrGrove, OK$37,050
2ndKen PastewkaWildwood, MO$20,357
3rdDanny BarnesReeds Spring, MO$13,436
4thKou VangMaplewood, MN$9,636
5thShawn RobertsOzark, MO$6,921
6thDan LoweryCharleston, AR$5,564
7thNajdat AtallahMt. Vernon, MO$4,614
8thRobert WiseRogersville, MO$3,800
9thTerry PresleyHuntsville, AR$2,986

What is a Keep It of Cash It (KICI) event? It’s a tournament that consists of multiple starting days and offers players the choice to "keep it" or "cash it" if they make Day 2 multiple times. Each day is played down to 10% of the field, and everyone who survives Day 1 will be in the money.

After a player has moved on to Day 2 once, each subsequent attempt to make Day 2 will trigger the KICI decision. The player must decide then and there, on a one-minute clock, whether they will "keep it" or "cash it." If they choose to cash in their chips, they will surrender their current stack and be paid out according to the payout structure for that tournament. If they choose to keep the stack, it will be added to their total for Day 2. A player will not have the option to surrender their first stack, so each player who survives a starting flight at least once will be playing on Day 2.

AP Phahurat
AP Phahurat

The unique tournament attracted some notable names such as World Poker Tour Season XI Ones to Watch and 2012 Chad Brown Challenge champion AP Phahurat; MSPT champ Kuo Vang; and World Series of Poker Circuit ring winner Daniel Lowery.

Vang actually finished Day 1 second in chips behind Terry Presley of Huntsville, Arkansas, who dominated Day 1 action by surviving multiple flights and bagged a total of 803,000 chips, which earned him the Day 1 chip leader bonus of $5,000.

Only two players elected to cash out chips after surviving a second flight — Dave Gotchal and Norman Glueckert. Gotchal chose to sell his second stack for $1,495 rather than adding to his previous stack of 323,000. Glueckert took $1,795 instead of combining his chips to the 159,500 he had already amassed, and ended up busting quickly on Day 2 in 29th place for $814. Meanwhile, Gotchal made a deep run and ultimately finished in 11th place for $2,443. Another player that made a deep run was Phahurat, who bubbled the live-streamed final table in 10th place for $2,443.

At the final table, Vang controlled most of the action, but that all changed when just four players remained and he was bluffed out of a massive pot by construction superintendent Danny Barnes. That triggered Vang’s downfall. He eventually got his last 10 big blinds in with {j-}{j-}. Unfortunately for him, Kerr’s {q-Diamonds}{7-Diamonds} cracked it, and Vang was sent to the rail in fourth place.

After Barnes fell in third place for $13,436, Kerr took on retiree Ken Pastewka of Union, Missouri in heads-up play. The two were nearly even in chips, but it took only to a few hands for Kerr to claim the title and send Pastewka home in second place for $20,357.

Kerr, a science teacher who qualified for the event through a $45 satellite, notched his first major cash for $37,050 and the RF Moeller Diamond Championship bracelet.

“I rarely ever play,” Kerr said after the win. “I have kids in college that I’m trying to pay for. I think this was my second tournament this year.”

For more information on the complete MSPT schedule, visit

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