Mid-States Poker Tour regular Mark Hodge won a huge pot as the night wound down at MSPT Running Aces in Columbus, Minnesota to lead the 34 survivors of Day 1a. The Minnesota native is a fixture on the tour, and even made the trek to Jacksonville for the first event of the year, where he made the final table and ultimately finished 10th for $5,231. Hodge also navigated to the final table of MSPT Canterbury, the final event of 2014, where he took home $15,837 for seventh.
Top 10 Day 1a Chip Counts
Hodge finished the night in prime position to record a third straight final table primarily because he doubled through Joe Barnard on one of the last hands of the night.
In a battle of the blinds, Hodge checked a flop and saw Barnard bet 9,000. Hodge raised to 20,000, and after some though Barnard tossed in a call. On the turn, Hodge bet 15,000, and Barnard cut out enough chips for a raise before electing to just call. Hodge fired once more with 30,000 on the river, and Barnard shoved after thinking it over for awhile. Hodge snap-called and tabled the for fours full. Barnard winged into the middle in disgust, and he had to send Hodge 152,600. Barnard did manage to bag 59,000 to advance to Day 2.
Others joining Hodge and Barnard for Sunday included James Maxey (228,500), James Gibson (204,000), John Reading (181,500), Darren Ficek (125,000), Jeff Fielder (94,500), Todd Melander (94,000), "DQ" Dan Hendrickson (92,000), "East Coast" Mike Ross (70,600), Terry Ring (67,500), Tony Lazar (42,000), and Jeremy Dresch (41,500).
Of course, with 161 runners in the field, plenty of notables failed to advance. Two-time champions Jason Zarlenga and Matt Kirby, Peixin Liu, Adam Dahlin, Everett Carlton, Mike Schneider, Nick Pupillo, Adam Friedman, and Kou Vang were among those missing the cut. They'll have the chance to come back for Day 1b at 4 p.m. local time on Saturday. Of course the PokerNews will be back on hand to document the day's play in our live blog.