On Saturday, the Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) Season 5 Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells continued in Baraboo, Wisconsin. On Day 1a, the tournament attracted 148 entries and put itself on pace to set a new state record for largest prize pool for the third time in a row. Thanks to a massive 235 entries on Day 1b, the total field was brought up to 383 — shattering last year’s field of 305 — and created a record prize pool of $383,000.
After 14 levels of play, Chris Burmeister finished Day 1b with 360,000 to top a surviving field of 41 players. Others who did quite well were Nik Stone (326,000), Bryan Moon (313,000), Travis Lauson (262,500), and Steve Andersen (256,500).
The tournament was full of pros and hopeful locals, with Dan Almerli belonging to the latter camp. In one hand in Level 6 (200/400/50), Almerli bet 2,200 into a multi-way pot on an flop. Only the hijack called, and a hit the turn. Almerli put his opponent all in for about 16,000, and she called it off after about 30 seconds of thought.
The player in the hijack had made the right read, but she wasn't rewarded when the hit the river, completing Almerli's flush draw and giving him the nuts. Unfortunately for Almerli, that early pot didn’t lead to success as he became one of the hundreds to fall on Day 1b.
Another to go was defending champ Josh Reichard. It happened in the penultimate level of the night (Level 13: 1,000/2,000/300) when Moon and Reichard got all in preflop from the blinds.
Moon had his opponent dominated, and Reichard called for spades. Just one appeared on the flop, but Reichard now could chop if a deuce hit. A opened up still more chopping outs, but the river sent the pot to Moon, meaning a new champion was assured at the MSPT Ho-Chunk Gaming.
As far as Burmeister was concerned, he built his stack like a ninja as the PokerNews Live Reporting Team caught him in just one hand in the crowded field, but it was a big one. With the board reading , the cutoff checked to Burmeister, who put his opponent all in for 51,500 into a pot of about 80,000. The player tanked for a couple of minutes, seeming genuinely pained as he brushed his cap back and counted his stack. Finally, he called.
Unfortunately for the cutoff, Burmeister had two of the outs he likely thought he had, and two pair would do him no good as it would give Burmeister a straight. The was a harmless river, and Burmeister pumped his fist.
Kirby had a particularly peculiar busto hand, as he put a small blind limper all in from the big, only to see the player call off with nine-high for about 14 big blinds and get there against ace-queen.
Notables who managed to advance to Day 2 included David Gonia (127,500), Marc "Poker Joker" Powers (125,500), Patrick Steele (113,500), Nick Jivkov (103,500), and Jason Sell (41,000). These players will join the 30 survivors from Day 1a for Day 2 action on Sunday at 10 a.m. They will play down to a winner, so be sure to come back then to find out who will walk away with the $97,539 first-place prize.