This weekend, Season 4 of the PokerNews Mid-States Poker Tour continues with their third stop at Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells in Baraboo, Wisconsin. In September of last year, the MSPT event at Ho-Chunk Gaming, the first ever in the state, drew 244 runners, generated a prize pool of $243,600, and was won by Joe Illingworth of Iowa, who took home $65,742 for his effort.
This past March, the MSPT visited Ho-Chunk Gaming for a second time, and the Main Event attracted 300 entrants creating a new state record prize pool of $299,800. Daniel Bekavac of Chicago, Illinois took home $76,668 and the RF Moeller Diamond Championship Bracelet for the win.
Illingworth and Bekavac made a name for themselves on the MSPT, but they weren’t the first to do so. Here’s a look at the top MSPT career earners midway through Season 4:
|Place||Player||Hometown||MSPT Titles||MSPT Final Tables||MSPT Cashes||Earnings|
|1st||Dan Sun||Cedar Rapids, IA||2||3||3||$154,007|
|2nd||Jeremy Dresch||Fridley, MN||1||4||5||$126,834|
|3rd||David Gonia||White Bear Lake, MN||1||2||2||$107,177|
|4th||James Gibson||Manitoba, Canada||1||1||5||$104,928|
|5th||Matt Kirby||Bemidji, MN||2||3||6||$101,523|
|6th||Adam Younis||Ames, IA||1||1||1||$95,328|
|7th||Ryan Hartmann||Minneapolis, MN||0||3||6||$93,469|
|8th||Everett Carlton||St. Paul, MN||0||8||10||$91,865|
|9th||Muneer Ahmed||Dassel, MN||1||1||1||$89,184|
|10th||Andy Van Blair||West Des Moines, IA||1||1||1||$88,958|
Many of the names on that list have had success on other tours, which is a testament to the quality of the MSPT crowd. PokerNews thought it'd be interesting to take a look at five players to keep an eye on in the MSPT and other tournament stops around the world.
In May of this year, the MSPT announced Blake Bohn as the first member of its Pro Team. In 2013, Bohn broke through with the largest score of his career by winning the Chicago Poker Classic Main Event, outlasting 392 entrants to earn $288,171 of the $1.2 million prize pool.
“Blake is one of the hardest-working players in the industry,” said Bryan Mileski, MSPT founder and president. “He has the perfect combination of skill, drive, dedication and fearlessness.”
Born in Savage, Minnesota, Bohn began his professional poker-playing career in 2004 focusing primarily on high-limit hold’em cash. In the summer of 2011, Bohn ran deep in the World Series of Poker Main Event, placing 126th of 6,865 entrants for $54,851. This past summer, Bohn finished runner-up in Event #14 $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em for $281,049 and placed 15th in Event #47 $111,111 One Drop High Roller for $208,968.
In total, Bohn has $1,241,327 in lifetime earnings and is fourth on the Minnesota all-time money list. Look for Bohn to add to that total this season on the MSPT.
With sunglasses, a stocking cap and a full ginger beard, Matt Kirby is one of the most recognizable regulars on the MSPT. In 2012, the 28-year-old Minnesotan enjoyed his first six-figure year with $158,384 in earnings, which included two MSPT wins at Northern Lights and Grand Casino Mille Lacs. The two scores brought his MSPT lifetime earnings up to $101,523 and made him just the second player to win multiple MSPT titles.
While 2012 was kind to Kirby, 2013 has been even better. He has already amassed $336,824 in earnings, which includes a runner-up finish in the 2012/2013 World Series of Poker Circuit Choctaw Main Event for $192,751; runner-up in a $1,100 no-limit hold’em event at the Deep Stack Extravaganza III for $60,924; and first in the Canterbury Park Fall Poker Classic $500 No-Limit Hold’em for $26,608.
“I fully intend to be the greatest poker player in the world,” Kirby previously told PokerNews in an in-depth interview. “Poker will be my career for quite a while and in whatever I do, I always strive to be the best at it.”
If there was a 2013 Rookie of the Year for the MSPT, Patrick Steele of Chelsea, Michigan would be a finalist. He notched his first career cash back in March in the MSPT Battle Creek Main Event when he finished fourth for $18,364. Two weeks later, he was back at an MSPT final table when he finished third in the MSPT Ho-Chunk Main Event for $27,773. In August, Steele made back-to-back final tables in the MSPT Battle Creek, and amazingly he once again finished fourth for $18,880.
Steele also won the Heartland Poker Tour Mount Pleasant Main Event for $155,636 back in May. Toss in a 362nd-place finish in the 2013 WSOP Main Event for $28,063, and Steele is having a year he’ll never forget. Don’t be surprised if he adds another notable result in the closing months of 2013.
No one has more MSPT final tables nor cashes than Minnesota’s Everett Carlton. Eight of his 10 cashes have resulted in appearances at the final table, although Carlton has yet to take down a MSPT title. He came close though when he finished runner-up in the 2011 MSPT Canterbury Park for $31,876.
Carlton, who has $909,141 in career earnings and ranks eighth on the Minnesota all-time money list, has just one six-figure score on his résumé, and that is for $224,455 thanks to a third-place finish in the 2013 WSOP Event #17 $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em — the same event won by Athanasios Polychronopoulos.
Carlton is the epitome of consistency, and industry insiders agree it’s only a matter of time before he captures his first major title.
With $616,454 in career earnings, Minneapolis’ Ryan Hartmann currently ranks 10th on Minnesota’s all-time money list. Earlier this month, Hartmann finished third in the MSPT Meskwaki Main Event for $27,503, which brought his career MSPT winnings up to $93,469. Unfortunately, Hartmann has yet to capture a MSPT title, the closest opportunity coming back in March when he finished runner-up to Bekavac at the MSPT Ho-Chunk for $41,949.
Hartmann gives off an erratic and wild imagine, which disguises his patience and selected aggression. This was put on display in November of last year when he finished third in the televised World Poker Tour Jacksonbille bestbet Fall Series for $153,403, which was his largest career score.
Remember, the PokerNews MSPT rolls into Ho-Chunk Gaming for the third time this week, and once again this event boasts a $200,000 guaranteed prize pool. Check out the event schedule by clicking here. For more on the MSPT, head over to the MSPT website.