Matt Kirby ended up with 345,500 chips after 14 levels of play to top a Mid-States Poker Tour-record 175 runners on Day 1a at Meskwaki Casino.
A total of 30 players bagged up stacks to bring back for Day 2 on Sunday, and there's a stark divide between the haves and have-nots. Gennady Shimelfarb (322,500), Jeremy Putthoff (322,000), and Ryan Tepen (304,000) bagged the next three largest stacks, well clear of Carlos Monteiro (229,500) in fifth. He in turn has about 70,000 more than Hamid Feiz in sixth.
Kirby was able to fight his way back to the top of the counts after losing one of the biggest pots of the night to Tepen, who opened to 2,500 and got two callers before another player shoved all in for 21,500. Tepen made the call, and the first caller called off his stack for about 15,000. Kirby then shoved with a stack that covered Tepen, and he called off for 91,800.
First short stack:
Second short stack:
The flop brought a king for Kirby, leaving him likely to bust all three of his opponents, but Tepen managed to find the on the river to take down the huge pot and bust two opponents, leaving Kirby with about 20 big blinds.
Kirby was already back to a healthy stack when he lured Travis Lauson in with a classic slowplay. We picked up the action on the turn, when Lauson bet 35,000 with the board reading , and Kirby called on the button. On the river Lauson shoved for about 50,000, and Kirby called instantly. Lauson slowly flipped , knowing he was beat, and Kirby showed for a boat.
That pot left Kirby with about 250,000, and he was able to keep chipping up from there to his final room-leading count.
Other notable survivors on Friday were Grant Hinkle (136,000), David Gutfreund (131,500), Terry Ring (99,500), Lance Harris (98,000), Brett Schwertley (48,000), and Dustin Dirksen (42,000).
Among those who will have to take their chances on Day 1b after failing to advance on Day 1: Kou Vang, Leon Morford, Jeff Grimes, Allen Kessler, Blake Bohn, Taylor Tollefson, Travis Lauson, DJ Buckley, James Mackey, Mike Deis, Mark Sandness, Blair Hinkle, Aaron Johnson, and Jeff Bryan.
Be sure to tune in Saturday for live event from Day 1b, which you can follow by clicking here.