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A Historical Look at the Mid-States Poker Tour Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel Stop

Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel

This weekend, Season 5 of the Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) continues in Tama, IA at the Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel with a $1,100 Main Event featuring a $300,000 guaranteed prize pool.

Meskwaki is traditionally one of the most successful stops on the MSPT schedule, which is due in part to participants only having to be 18 years old to play.

“The MSPT is excited to return to Meskwaki, which always draws players from around the Midwest,” said MSPT owner and operator Bryan Mileski. “We’re looking forward to following up our first stop in Las Vegas by returning to Iowa for another successful stop at Meskwaki, which in the past has attracted local pros Jeff Fielder and Blair Hinkle. With a little luck, we’ll set yet another state record.”

The Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel is located in Tama, IA, between Des Moines and Cedar Rapids on Highway 30. With a huge bingo hall, table games, active craps tables, good blackjack games, horse book, indoor pool, exercise room, spa, and a large number of hotel rooms, Meskwaki has something for everyone.

To prepare for this weekend’s $1,100 Main Event, PokerNews decided to take a look back at the history shared between the MSPT and Meskwaki.

Muneer Wins Inaugural MSPT Stop at Meskwaki

The inaugural MSPT stop at Meskwaki took place from March 24 to April 1, 2012. That first tournament attracted 349 entrants and created a prize pool of $348,500, easily surpassing the $300,000 guarantee. Among the notables who came to compete were Blair Hinkle, Ari “BodogAri” Engel, and Kevin “BeL0WaB0Ve” Saul. Hinkle actually began Day 2 as the chip leader, but he ultimately fell in 27th place for $2,692.

Meanwhile, Muneer Ahmed began Day 2 11th in chips, and actually dipped to just six big blinds before bouncing back to make the final table. During three-handed play, a big pot developed between Ahmed, who qualified for the tournament through a satellite, and Molly Mossey. The board read {q-Diamonds}{7-Hearts}{2-Clubs}{q-Clubs}{9-Diamonds} and Ahmed moved all in. Mossey tanked for several minutes with {a-}{j-}, but ultimately folded. If she could see Ahmed's cards, she wouldn’t have, as Ahmed showed {6-}{5-} for a bluff.

Mossey ended up falling in third place, Jeff Petronack in second, and Ahmed went on to capture the title and $89,184 first-place prize.

“The money is great, but this bracelet means the most,” Ahmed said of the RF Moeller diamond championship bracelet he received for the victory.

Here’s a look at the first-ever MSPT Meskwaki final table:

A Historical Look at the Mid-States Poker Tour Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel Stop 101

Final Table Results

1Muneer Ahmed$89,184
2Jeff Petronack$48,799
3Molly Mossey$32,310
4Heidi Roggenkamp$21,875
5Mark Butler$16,827
6Steve Reichelt$13,462
7John Oetker$11,779
8Ben Jacobs$10,096
9Mitch Ackerman$8,414

Dan Sun Captures His First MSPT Title at Meskwaki

Only two players have won two MSPT titles. MSPT Pro Matt Kirby is one, and the other is Dan Sun of Cedar Rapids, IA, and his first-ever win came at Meskwaki. It came back in late July 2012 when he conquered a field of 301 entrants, which created a prize pool of $301,500.

One man that was in the tournament was 2006 World Series of Poker Main Event champ Jamie Gold. The former world champ made it deep on Day 1, but with an hour left in the night he got many of his chips all in preflop holding {a-}{k-} and was well out in front of MSPT regular Jeremy Dresch, who was at risk with {a-}{q-}. A queen on the flop ended up crippling Gold, and he hit the rail a short time later.

“I had a blast this week.” Gold said of his MSPT experience. “I had heard about this tour a year ago and have been wanting to check it out. I finally got a week off and decided last minute to make the trip to Iowa to spend a few days playing cash games and the main event. I couldn’t have been more impressed, the players are so friendly here and fun to play with.”

Meanwhile, Sun, a software engineer, thrived on Day 1 as he bagged up the seventh biggest stack of the advancing 101 players, and by the time the final table rolled around he held the chip lead. Others at the final table included the aforementioned Dresch, local fan favorite Gene Bennett and 2011 MSPT Player of the Year Nate Fair. Fair ended up falling in seventh place for $10,183, while Bennett lasted a little longer before hitting the rail in fifth place for $14,548.

Dresch managed to make it to heads-up play against Sun, but failed to overcome his chip disadvantage. In what would be the final hand, Dresch raised with {8-}{2-} offsuit and Sun called to see a flop of {a-}{8-}{3-}. Dresch bet, San raised, and Dresch moved all in. Sun called with {8-}{7-}, and captured the $77,103 first-place prize after a {5-} blanked on the turn followed by a brick on the river.

Here’s a look at the second-ever MSPT Meskwaki final table:

A Historical Look at the Mid-States Poker Tour Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel Stop 102

Final Table Results

1Dan Sun$77,103
2Jeremy Dresch$42,183
3Michael Fink$27,932
4Jason Brin$18,912
5Gene Bennett$14,548
6Erik Burton$11,638
7Nathan Fair$10,183
8David Gutfreund$8,729
9Brett Reichard$7,274

Reynolds Wins MSPT’s Third Visit to Tama

The MSPT visited Meskwaki for the third time from October 27 to November 4, 2012, and this time the Main Event attracted 297 entries and resulted in a $300,000 prize pool. The final table featured former MSPT champ Jason Seitz, but he was looking up at the massive chip lead of Chicago’s Mike Reynolds.

Seitz ended up busting in eighth place, but around this time Reynolds fell to the short stack. Not to be deterred, Reynolds battled back and ultimately captured the title and accompanying $81,060 first-place prize. After the win, Reynolds stated that he planned to use some of the money to buy a condo in Las Vegas and continue to play poker there.

Here’s a look at the third-ever MSPT Meskwaki final table:

A Historical Look at the Mid-States Poker Tour Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel Stop 103

Final Table Results

1Michael Reynolds$81,060
2Jeff Grimes$43,421
3Phil Mader$27,501
4Brad Sullivan$20,265
5Steve Federspiel$17,370
6Ed Nassif$13,028
7Kirk Flom$11,001
8Jason Seitz$9,843
9Gennady Shimelfarb$8,106

Ring Overcomes Stacked Final Table to Win MSPT Meskwaki

The first MSPT Meskwaki stop of 2013 accounted for 342 entries and created a prize pool of $342,700. Even more impressive is that it resulted in a “final table [that] may have been the toughest in MSPT history.” That’s because it included WSOP bracelet winners Blair Hinkle and Nick Jivkov; winner of the Chicago Poker Classic and MSPT Pro Blake Bohn; MSPT Running Aces champ David Gonia; an MSPT regulars Mark Sandness and Eric Loehr. There was also an amateur from Durant, IA by the name of Terry Ring.

Wouldn’t you know it, Ring’s slow-and-steady approach earned him pot after pot, and before long he found himself heads up against Jivkov holding a massive chip lead. Ring, who also has a Heartland Poker Tour title on his résumé, used it to seal the deal and take down the $87,694 first-place prize.

Here’s a look at the fourth-ever MSPT Meskwaki final table:

A Historical Look at the Mid-States Poker Tour Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel Stop 104

Final Table Results

1Terry Ring$87,694
2Nick Jivkov$47,983
3Kevin Boskey$31,768
4Dominic Giarango$21,510
5Doyle Elwell$16,546
6David Gonia$13,237
7Eric Loehr$11,582
8Mark Sandness$9,928
9Blair Hinkle$8,273

Van Blair Captures $88,958 First-Place Prize

The MSPT returned to Meskwaki for a second time in Season 4 from July 20-28, 2013 and saw 348 entrants create a prize pool of $347,600. It turned out to be the longest Main Event in MSPT history up until that point, and in the end it was Andy Van Blair, an occupational therapist from Des Moines, that walked away with the $88,958 first-place prize.

Van Blair survived Day 2 with 76,600 in chips, which put him 33rd of the advancing 102 players. From there, he continued to build and ended up at the final table with 1.2 million, putting him second in chips behind Kansas construction operator Shane Fuller. Action stalled when just four players remained, but after several hours Sam Desilva got his chips all in holding the {4-Diamonds}{4-Hearts} and was up against Fuller’s {a-Spades}{3-Diamonds}. An ace on the flop would be all it took for Desilva to bow out in fourth place for $21,819.

After Derek Dempster fell in third place, Fuller took a 3-1 chip lead into heads-up play against Van Blair. On the third hand between the two, Van Blair got his stack in with the {6-Clubs}{4-Clubs} and was flipping against Fuller’s pocket threes. The board ran out {9-Spades}{8-Hearts}{5-Hearts}{k-Spades}{7-Clubs} and Van Blair rivered a straight to keep his tournament alive.

Van Blair went on to take over the chip lead, and on the 10th hand between the two, Fuller raised from the button with the {a-Spades}{9-Spades} and then called when Van Blair shoved with the {a-Clubs}{4-Clubs}. Fuller got it in good, but the {4-Spades}{k-Hearts}{q-Diamonds} flop gave Van Blair the lead with fours. Neither the {5-Spades} turn nor {5-Clubs} river helped Fuller, and he had to settle for second place and a $48,672 consolation prize.

The stop marked the MSPT’s 31st event, and it’s worth noting that it was Everett Carlton’s seventh MSPT final table and ninth cash, making him the most decorated MSPT player up to that point.

Here’s a look at the fifth-ever MSPT Meskwaki final table:

A Historical Look at the Mid-States Poker Tour Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel Stop 105

Final Table Results

1Andy Van Blair$88,958
2Shane Fuller$48,672
3Derek Dempster$32,224
4Sam Desilva$21,819
5Nathan Russler$16,784
6Everett Carlton$13,427
7Brett Schwertley$11,749
8Derek Crooks$10,070
9Shaun Decker$8,392

Survival was the Name of the Game for Spooner

From October 26 to November 3, 2013, the MSPT was back at Meskwaki and 296 entrants turned out to create a prize pool of $300,000. Six out of the 10 final tablists were from Minnesota, but it’d be Jesse Spooner, a process engineer from Easton, MI, that would walk away with the $81,060 first-place prize.

Spooner didn’t exactly thrive on Day 1 — finishing 65th out of the advancing 90 players — but he went into survival mode on Day 2. He made it all the way to the final table, but was the short stack with just nine big blinds. Fortunately for him, he doubled early and then hit a heater that eventually led to him becoming the chip leader; in fact, he began heads-up play against Tom Tracy, a supply chain manager from Apple Valley, MN, with a 9-1 chip lead.

Tracy managed to fight his way into the chip lead, but then momentum swung back in Spooner’s favor. In the 140th hand of the final table, Tracy got his stack all in holding the {a-Clubs}{k-Diamonds} and was way out in front of Spooner’s {a-Spades}{4-Clubs}. The {4-Spades}{7-Diamonds}{q-Clubs} flop was disaster for Tracy, and he watched helplessly as the {6-Hearts} blanked on the turn followed by the {2-Clubs} on the river.

Here’s a look at the sixth-ever MSPT Meskwaki final table:

A Historical Look at the Mid-States Poker Tour Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel Stop 106

Final Table Results

1Jesse Spooner$81,060
2Thomas Tracy$43,425
3Ryan Hartmann$27,503
4Jason Sell$20,260
5Jeff Bryan$17,370
6Daniel Schmidt$13,027
7Joe Matheson$11,001
8Aaron Johnson$9,843
9Jacob Kramer$8,106

Anderson Wins Largest MSPT Meskwaki to Date; Denies Kirby Third Title

The last time the MSPT was at Meskwaki was from March 29 to April 6, 2014. The first of three stops in Season 5 attracted 389 entrants, which made it the biggest MSPT Meskwaki to date.

MSPT Pro and two-time champ Matt Kirby began Day 2 as the chip leader among the returning 70 players, and he won a big pot midway through the day. It happened when James “” Mackey got his stack all in with {a-}{10-}, another player with {k-}{k-}, and Kirby with {6-}{6-}. A six on the flop gave Kirby a set, and he turned a full house to send Mackey to the rail and rake in a massive pot that allowed him to make it all the way to the final table.

In fact, Kirby made it to heads-up play against Matthew Anderson. Kirby was seeking his record third MSPT title, but in one of the first hands the two played, Kirby shoved over a check-raise from Anderson on a {k-Spades}{9-Spades}{k-Clubs} flop. Anderson quickly called with the {k-Hearts}{3-Hearts}, which was ahead of Kirby’s {6-Spades}{4-Spades} flush draw. Anderson managed to turn quads, and that was all she wrote for Kirby, who took home $54,481 for his runner-up finish. Meanwhile, Anderson was awarded the top prize of $100,075.

Here’s a look at the most recent MSPT Meskwaki final table:

A Historical Look at the Mid-States Poker Tour Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel Stop 107

Final Table Results

1Matthew Anderson$100,075
2Matt Kirby$54,481
3Jeremy Putthoff$36,070
4Taylor Howard$24,423
5Ken Payne$18,787
6Aaron Johnson$15,029
7Ricky McGown$13,151
8James Martimo$11,272
9Ryan Tepen$9,393

For more on the MSPT's upcoming stop at Meskwaki, visit Also, don’t forget PokerNews will be live reporting the event, which you can follow in our Live Reporting section.

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