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2015 MSPT FireKeepers Main Event Day 1b: Midena Bags Lead; Seeks Second MSPT Win

Tom Midena

Back in 2013, the first time the Mid-States Poker Tour rolled into Battle Creek, Michigan for an event at FireKeepers Casino, Tom Midena navigated his way through a 272-player field and claimed the $73,456 top prize. It was the start of what has become a solid live tournament career, tallying nearly $400,000 in cashes thus far.

Midena's in good position to add to that after bagging 331,500 on Day 1b, topping the 35 survivors (the tournament drew 198 runners total). He spent most of the day treading water until a late surge vaulted him to the top in the last four levels of the night.

Others making it through included Yatendra Guru (262,000), Harry Tisdale (233,000), Mark Ummin (219,000), Sean Munjal (181,000), Ken Baime (172,500), Zal Irani (137,500), Brian Zekus (84,500), Gary Tsui (74,000), and Jose Serratos (58,000).

Day 1b Top 10 Chip Counts

1Tom Midena331,500
2Yatendra Guru262,000
3Harry Tisdale233,000
4Mark Uminn219,000
5Philip Wojtuniecki208,000
6Sean Munjal181,000
7Rob Robitaille174,000
8Ken Baime172,500
9Jeremy Grable159,500
10Bob Hoag142,500

Tisdale got lucky late against Tsui, and essentially trading places with him on the leaderboard. On the very last hand of the night, Tisdale called a three-bet to 14,800 preflop after saying he had a pair in the hole. He checked dark as the flop came down {2-Hearts}{8-Spades}{6-Diamonds}, and Tsui announced he was all in. Tisdale immediately verbalized a call as he'd flopped bottom set with the {2-Diamonds}{2-Clubs}. Tsui cursed his bad luck as he had the {a-Diamonds}{a-Clubs}, was unable to find an ace on the last two streets, and had to send 100,800 to his right.

Baime is another former MSPT champion, and he had a huge stack for most of the night after taking the lead early in the day. He ended up hovering around the 150,000 mark for most of the night after gaining his initial big stack.

Some players who took shots on Day 1b and failed to advance included Gerald Heckathorn, Sai Mudduluru, Elliott Hebden, Mark Johnson, Mike Ross, Andy Rogowski, Adam Lamphere, Bruce "Hammer" Swart, and former MSPT FireKeepers champ Jason Zarlenga.

Zarlenga was struggling for most of the day and couldn't get his head above water. Eventually, the MSPT team pro and two-time champion got it in for his last 21,000 during Level 14 (1,200/2,400/400) with the {a-Clubs}{k-Spades} against an opponent's {a-Hearts}{q-Diamonds}. Unfortunately for Zarlenga, the board ran out {9-Hearts}{q-Hearts}{10-Diamonds}{10-Spades}{2-Clubs}, busting him just shy of making it through to Day 2. He'll have one more chance though, as will the other casualties, as the third and final starting flight, Day 1c, will take place at Noon on Saturday. Of course the PokerNews Live Reporting Team will be on hand to capture all the action.

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