The 2015 Mid-States Poker Tour returned to Milwaukee's Potawatomi Casino in a big way Friday.
After setting a Wisconsin state record for field size by attracting 487 entries at this very same venue this past September, the first of two starting flights drew a whopping 309 entries.
With another starting flight set for 4 p.m. local time Saturday, the MSPT has already obliterated the event's $200,000 guarantee, and if the numbers for the second starting day are anywhere near what the event drew today, both state and tour records should fall hard.
After 14 levels of play on the day, just 69 players survived. They will be joined by anyone who can make it through Day 1b to play down to a winner Sunday beginning at 10:30 a.m. local time.
2014 MSPT Gary, Indiana, runner-up Leon Morford, who also has a Heartland Poker Tour title under his belt, jumped out to the early chip lead thanks to one set-over-set hand and another where he made a full house against an opponent's flush. He found a comfortable gear as the day moved on, finally bagging 247,000.
However, Brett Reichard, who has twice made the MSPT final table in Tama, Iowa, managed to bag the biggest stack when all was said and done.
Day 1a Top 10 Chip Counts
|10||Tyler Van Elzen||143,000|
Reichard made a set of fours that held against a pair and a flush draw early to push past 100,000 in chips. He picked off a bluff later to push up near 200,000, and while he dipped a bit as the day wore on, Reichard made a late push to bag 290,500 and the chip lead.
While recognizable names like Allen Kessler, World Poker Tour title holder Ravi Raghavan, Wisconson's own Mark Kroon, and PokerNews Senior Editor and World Series of Poker bracelet winner Chad Holloway all found a way out the door, MSPT sponsored pro Matt Kirby and MSPT regulars Michael Ross and Steve Anderson were among those to build contending stacks before Day 1a was done.
The PokerNews Live Reporting team return to Saturday at 4 p.m. local time to capture all the Day 1b action.