Two former Mid-States Poker Tour champions topped the chip counts at the end of Day 1b of MSPT Meskwaki, leading a field of 50 survivors. Iowa native Joe Illingworth, who won MSPT Ho-Chunk in 2012 for $65,742, finished with the top stack, 269,500. That was enough for a small lead over the defending champion of this event, Jonathan Olson, who banked $95,741 here in July. Olson finished with 262,000.
Day 1b Top 10 Chip Counts
The field size of 244 for the second starting flight was enough to push the total to 426, smashing the old record (also set by the MSPT in April) of 389 players for a tournament with a buy-in greater than $1,000 in Iowa.
Others who moved on to Sunday's Day 2 included John Kurfman (216,500), Arron Salandro (215,500), Ken Auker (211,500), World Series of Poker bracelet winner Nick Jivkov (182,500), Jeremy Dresch (171,500), Nik Stone (105,000), Yossi Azulay (62,000), "Minneapolis" Jim Meehan (61,000), Phil Mader (58,000), and European Poker Tour champion Tim Vance (45,000).
Illingworth was among the leaders just before the last break, and he only added to his stack from there. In one notable pot, he was able to outdraw the of Cash Carpenter with his all in preflop when two diamonds hit the flop and a third hit on the river.
Olson was unable to get anything going for most of the day after coming up empty-handed on Day 1a, but he began to turn things around by doubling through bracelet winner Will Givens with the , good for a boat on a board of against Givens' . At that point, Olson had 36,500 at Level 10 (500/1,000/100), and he rode the heater from there to a top stack.
Dresch looked poised to bag the chip lead when he had more chips than both leaders ended with, but he bluffed off a large chunk of his stack on one of the last big hands of the night.
Many of the most notable and feared players in the field failed to advance to Day 2, including Blair Hinkle, Brandon Meyers, Lance Harris, Kou Vang, the aforementioned Givens, Allen Kessler, and Matt Kirby. Other eliminations included Mike Mustafa, Jon Hanner, Mike Holm, Judd Greenagel, Jason Seitz, Mario Hudson, Mike Ross, Jason Sell, Aaron Johnson, and Tony Lazar.
Day 2 play will resume at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, so don't miss the final day of this tournament, which will see a six-figure score head to the winner.