The Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) Season 5 finale at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minnesota kicked off with a huge Day 1a field of 214, and at the end of 14 levels of play Rodney Colson emerged with the biggest stack holding 385,500. Trailing Colson in a distant second was Nick Pupillo (235,500), followed by Dan Dykhouse (219,500) and Bill Criego (209,500). Forty-five players survived the flight to advance to Sunday's Day 2.
Top 10 Day 1a Chip Counts
Pupillo has been one of the most successful players on the MSPT this year. He's notched four cashes, three of them final table finishes in seventh, fifth, and fifth. These scores have him in the thick of the hunt for the MSPT Player of the Year title, where he currently ranks seventh but is a strong threat to win after advancing with a big stack. His success on the tour has come on the heels of a World Series of Poker in which he cashed for just under $100,000 including a 12th-place finish in the Monster Stack.
The Illinois native had already worked his way to a sizable stack when he won a massive pot in Level 12 (800/1,600/200). A flop of had prompted Mark Dunbar to get his stack of about 60,000 in the middle with , good for a straight draw and a pair. Unfortunately for him, Pupillo had a better pair and straight draw with and held for the knockout. In addition, Pupillo busted former MSPT champ Jason Sell earlier in the day when he bet-called a flop with the , holding against Sell's .
Others advancing included Judd Greenagel (183,000), James Wilson (173,000), Kou Vang (163,500), "Minnesota" Jon Hanner (80,500), Adam Dahlin (75,500), Aaron Johnson (73,000), Everett Carlton (71,500), and MSPT team pro Matt Alexander (62,000).
Vang won a few big pots late to vault up the counts, and he's another strong contender for POY, currently sitting in second place to Mike Deis, who did not make an appearance on Day 1a.
Many players did not see the final bell, of course. Among them were Jeff FIelder, Matt Kirby, Blake Bohn, Brandon Meyers, Jonathan Olson, Lance Harris, Dennis Stevermer, Mike Lang, Mike "Schneids" Schneider, Jeremy Dresch, John Morgan, Mark Sandness, Chad Holloway, and Mike Wilmes, who won this event for more than $108,000 last time the tour stopped at Canterbury.
Holloway, a PokerNews senior editor, swung and missed twice. After grinding a short stack for awhile before running into Hanner's kings on his first attempt, Holloway took a seat at a shark tank of a table in the corner of the room and found himself involved in a big pot soon after.
Sandness opened for a raise in middle position and was called by Johnson on his left, Holloway in the next spot, Bill Criego on the button, and the big blind. On the flop, Johnson bet 3,700 after two checks. Holloway pushed all in for 14,000, and Criego quickly announced all in as well. Everyone else folded.
Holloway had a heap of outs against the top two, but he couldn't spike any of them as the turn was followed by a river.
Holloway said he won't be back for Day 1b, but plenty of other players are undoubtedly itching for another shot at the swelling prize pool. Those who busted can fire another bullet if they so choose, and of course newcomers are welcome. One thing is for sure, the prize pool is going to swell on Day 1b, which kicks off at 4 p.m. local time.