Day 1b of Mid-States Poker Tour Canterbury Park featured a tightly bunched cluster at the top of the counts, and Derek Crooks emerged slightly ahead of the pack with 224,300 at night's end. Crooks topped a field of 218 runners, of which 48 advanced to Sunday's Day 2. Along with Day 1a's 214 entrants, the 218 entries pushed the total to 432 for the event.
Ronald Lifson (215,000), Ken Pates (214,000), Rich Alsup (201,000), Ryan Skluzak (198,500), and Peixin Liu (197,500) also ended the 14 levels of play near the top of the counts. Pates seeks his second straight Minnesota MSPT victory after taking down MSPT Running Aces in September for $87,698.
Top 10 Day 1b Chip Counts
Crooks made the majority of his hay with the "weapons of mass destruction," as Mike Sexton is fond of calling two aces in the hole. Early in the day, during Level 5 (150/300/25), Crooks made it 700 to go from an early position and was called by Sam De Silva in the cutoff. The player on the button reraised to 1,800, and Crooks made it 3,700. De Silva cold-called, and the player on the button jammed for about 9,000. Crooks raised to 15,500, and De Silva finally dumped face-up. It was a wise decision, as Crooks had , and the third player was disappointed to show , knowing he needed a straight. The board ran out , and Crooks took the pot.
Then, during the final level of the night (1,200/2,400/400), a player in early position opened for 9,000, and Crooks made it 17,000 on his left. Action folded to the big blind, who shipped for about 70,000. The opener folded, and Crooks double-checked his cards before calling.
Crooks' opponent could only curse and then watch helplessly as the community ran out dry.
Some others who managed to punch tickets to Day 2 included Dennis Stevermer (137,500), Muneer Ahmed (117,500), MSPT team pro Matt Kirby (104,000), Thao "Scratch" Thiem (99,500), Jeremy Dresch (78,000), Jeff Fielder (74,500), Tony Hartmann (69,000), Jeff Bryan (65,500), and Todd Breyfogle (64,000).
Marc "Poker Joker" Powers, Jonathan Olson, David Gonia, Mike Lang, Brandon Meyers, Lance Harris, John Morgan, Mark Sandness, Brett Kuznia, and World Series of Poker bracelet winner Nick Kost were among those trying their luck but coming up short.
Day 2 play commences at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday at Canterbury, so be sure to come back to PokerNews to see who will be the last MSPT champion of 2014. Click here to follow the updates from the final day of play.