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Jason Zarlenga Wins MSPT Potawatomi for $120,164; Becomes All-Time MSPT Money Leader

Jason Zarlenga

On Sunday, the Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) Potawatomi Hotel & Casino — the second largest in MSPT history — came to an end as the final 83 players from a 487-entry field played down to a winner. It took a full day of action, but eventually Jason Zarlenga emerged victorious to capture the $120,164 first-place prize.

Final Table Results

1Jason Zarlenga$120,164
2Sunny Ali$69,370
3Rob Edelstein$42,328
4Ben Keeline$34,097
5John Sun$26,808
6Paul Mattioda$22,340
7Steve Anderson$17,872
8Tuan Nguyen$13,639
9David Sutton$9,414
10Adam Lamphere$6,109

This marks the second MSPT title Zarlenga has captured in Season 5, joining the likes of Matt Kirby and Dan Sun as two-time champions. His previous victory came back in May when he conquered a field of 411 entrants to win the MSPT FireKeepers for $101,482. What’s more, Zarlenga now finds himself as the MSPT’s all-time money leader and in contention for Season 5 Player of the Year honors.

Just 45 players were slated to get paid on Sunday, which meant 38 had to leave empty handed. Early on in Level 15, Eric “basebaldy” Baldwin opened for 6,000 from early position only to have Madison's Steve Verrett three-bet to 16,000. Action folded back to Baldwin, and he thought for a bit before moving all in for roughly 50,000. Verrett called and the cards were turned up.

Baldwin: {10-}{10-}
Verrett: {q-}{q-}

Baldwin was in bad shape, and it got even worse when the {q-}{9-}{6-} flop delivered Verrett top set. The {5-} turn left Baldwin drawing dead, and after a {9-} was put out on the river, he took his leave from the tournament.

Others who fell short of the money were start-of-the-day chip leader David Brown, Mark Sandness, Mark “P0ker H0” Kroon, Ian Demrow, Toby Stubbs, Steve Belland, and Jim Boone.

After Frank Swierczynski fell as the bubble after running kings into aces, the in-the-money finishes began to mount. Among those who earned a payday were Doug Timmer (45th - $2,352), Mike Holm (41st - $2,352), Larry Ormson (34th - $2,587), “Wild Bill” Romer (32nd - $2,587), Ken Baime (26th - $2,916), reigning MSPT Player of the Year Pat Steele (22nd - $2,916), and Mike Deis (17th - $3,715).

The first elimination of the final table came when MSPT regular Adam Lamphere committed with {A-}{K-} on an ace-high board only to run into the flopped set of queens of chip leader Sunny Ali. Not long after, David Sutton and Tuan Nguyen joined him on the rail, and then Steve Anderson followed them all out the door in seventh place after his pocket threes failed to hold up against the {a-Spades}{q-Diamonds} of Paul Mattioda.

Despite winning that hand, Mattioda was the next to go, and then local player John Sun bowed out in fifth. Four-handed play proved to be an extended affair, but finally ended in Level 29 (40,000/80,000/10,000) when Ben Keeline busted with the {j-Hearts}{j-Clubs} to Ali's {a-Diamonds}{8-Clubs}.

Rob Edelstein was the next to go in third place after his {a-Diamonds}{10-Hearts} failed to win a race against Ali’s {7-Diamonds}{7-Spades}, and that left Ali holding a decent lead over Zarlenga. That changed though as Zarlenga doubled into the lead and then got lucky to lay claim to the title.

Congratulations to Jason Zarlenga, the MSPT Potawatomi champion for $120,164!

That does it for PokerNews’ coverage from Milwaukee. The next MSPT will run from September 13-21 at Running Aces Harness Park in Columbus, Minnesota, which will be followed by the MSPT Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells from September 20-28. For more information on both, visit

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