They say chips flow to the left in poker. They certainly did for Brian Newman on Day 1a of Mid-States Poker Tour FireKeepers Casino, as he got full value out of a positional advantage against a fellow big stack en route to bagging 438,500 for a wide lead over second-place finisher and former MSPT Player of the Year Patrick Steele, who ended with 312,500.
Day 1a Top 10 Chip Counts
The event drew a very solid turnout of 156 runners, far ahead of the 122 the tour drew for Day 1a last time it was in Battle Creek, Mich. Of those, 30 survived the 14 levels of play, including MSPT team pro Nick Pupillo (227,500), David Gutfreund (119,000), Adam Friedman (118,500), defending champ Ryan Dykhouse (97,500), and Nick Jivkov (71,000), who already has one MSPT title on his résumé.
Newman spent the critical later levels of the night seated to the left of one-time chip leader Brian Stevens. That positional advantage fueled his late surge as he clashed repeatedly with Stevens. First, Stevens min-raised in the small blind to 4,000 and saw Newman make it 9,000. Stevens called, seeing a flop. He check-called 10,000, and both players checked the turn. Stevens fired 25,000 on the river, but the bluff proved to be ill-timed as Newman snapped it off with the and was shown the .
Then, on a completed board of during that same level, Stevens bet 30,000, only to have Newman shove all in for about 110,000 more. Stevens folded, and Newman showed the for the monster bluff. He eventually finished Stevens off in the final level of the night with on a flop against .
Pupillo, the subject of a recent PokerNews feature piece, has been on a tear recently, coming off of a victory in HPT Ameristar East Chicago for more than $120,000. He won a huge late flip in a five-bet pot with the when he held against the unimproved.
Some players who did not advance included Steve Anderson, Jose Serratos, Bruce "Hammer" Swart, Howard Hankin, Dash Dudley, Tom Midena, and Allen "Chainsaw" Kessler.
There's a quick turnaround to Day 1b, which begins at noon on Friday, so come back to PokerNews for more live updates.