Day 1a of the Mid-States Poker Tour Grand Falls Casino in Sioux Falls, South Dakota attracted 98 runners, but after 14 levels of play, just 16 remained. Fifteen of them are looking way, way up at Blake Bohn, who bagged a whopping 403,000, nearly double the 215,000 stack of second-place Justin Heilman.
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Many chip leaders can point to one or two critical pots that enabled them to vastly increase their stacks, but Bohn said that wasn't the case for him - he feasted on a steady diet of opponents' mucked cards.
"I don't even think I've had a showdown," Bohn said after he shot from 86,000 to 341,000 in two hours. The Minnesotan has had plenty of success on the MSPT, garnering a sponsorship from the tour and booking two second-place finishes, but he's still seeking the elusive first victory to add to his collection of tournament wins.
In addition to Bohn and Heilman, Vlad Revniaga (157,000), Dustin Kern (144,500), Max Bergquist (135,000), Phil Mader (133,000), Herb Laney (131,500), Jonathan Kulkay (90,000), Jim Boone (76,500), and Steve Belland (70,500) punched tickets to Sunday's Day 2. Meanwhile, "Wild" Bill Romer, Scott Mahin, Kou Vang, Lance Harris, Dan Dykhouse, Mark Sandness, Matt Alexander, and Matt Kirby were among the Day 1a eliminations, though they’ll have the option to try again on Saturday.
Kirby, another MSPT Team Pro, appeared well on his way to bagging a comfortable stack as he was among the leaders in the middle stages of the tournament after winning a key pot thanks to pocket aces. He pushed all in for about 18,000 on a final board of . One player was already all in, and Kirby's bet was into an already-sizable side pot. His opponent thought for about a minute before announcing a call, and Kirby tabled the . The other active player tossed into the middle, while the all-in player revealed a big pair as well in the . Despite that pot, a late slide saw Kirby get his stack all in preflop with only to fall to the of Laney after a ten spiked.
Fellow former MSPT champion Sandness also rolled up a nice stack early but eventually busted when his failed to overtake the of Bergquist as the board ran out . A coin flip also cost Vang the last of his chips when he missed with against Heilman's .
Day 1b will begin on Saturday at 4 p.m. local time, and the PokerNews Live Reporting Team will be on hand to bring you all the action in our Live Reporting section.