Day 1a of the Mid-States Poker Tour Meskwaki attracted 182 entrants — a new record for the stop — but after 14 levels of play just 35 remained with David Gutfreund and his stack of 238,500 leading the way.
The Chicago native has a solid tournament résumé with more than $350,000 in cashes, and he's had some success playing MSPT events in the past. However, his history on the tour is also littered with agonizingly close calls. He narrowly missed final tables in back-to-back weekends in Colorado and Wisconsin this past March, finishing 14th and 11th, respectively. Back in 2012, he did score a final table at Meskwaki only to bow out eighth for $8,729.
Could this be the one for Gutfreund? It's early, and only time will tell, but he's certainly put himself in an amazing position to begin the event.
Top 10 Day 1a Chip Counts
Other players bagging at night's end included Nick Pupillo (181,500), Loki Abboud (174,500), Kevin Shimp (168,000), Todd "sharkslayerr" Breyfogle (167,000), Sam DeSilva (165,000), Mike Lang (161,000), Jim Lawrence (135,500), and James "mig.com" Mackey (99,500).
Pupillo has been cashing like a madman on the MSPT as of late, already notching three final tables in the past three months for about $55,000 in winnings. He received a big boost to his stack in Level 11 (600/1,200/200) moments before the final break of the night after a flop of . Pupillo had flopped the nuts with the , and he managed to get Tyler Newman all in with . Pupillo faded the full house to climb over 100,000, and he kept accumulating from there.
Another Chicago native, Ralph Massey, owes his survival to a couple of well-timed big pairs. First, he stopped the run of a player who had survived four straight all ins by holding with the against on a run out during the penultimate level of the night. Then, as the clock was winding down towards bagging time, Massey shipped for about 30,000 over an early open with the and was called by the opener, who had the . Again, the board ran out safe for Massey, and he went on to bag 63,000.
Some of those who will need to saddle up for Day 1b if they hope to get a chunk of the prize pool included Aaron Johnson, Dustin Dirksen, Josh Reichard, Brandon Meyers, former MSPT Meskwaki champ Jonathan Olson, Will Givens, Phil Mader, tour pro Matt Kirby, and possibly the most accomplished tournament player in the field, Blair Hinkle, all of who were eliminated on Day 1a.
Day 1b kicks off at 4 p.m. Saturday, and you can follow all the action in the PokerNews live blog. We’ll also have a full recap upon completion of play, so stay tuned to these pages for all your MSPT Meskwaki coverage.