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2015 Mid-States Poker Tour Tropicana Day 1a: Spalding Leads, Defending Champ Falls

Craig Spalding


  • Day 1a of @msptpoker Tropicana Evansville attracted 110 entrants to the Indiana State Poker Championship.

  • Craig Spalding finished as chip leader w/ 283,000 after Day 1a of @msptpoker Indiana State Poker Championship.

On Friday, the Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) rolled into Tropicana Evansville in Southern Indiana for its second-ever event there, now branded as the Indiana State Poker Championship. Day 1a of the tournament drew 110 entrants, and Craig Spalding finished as top dog with 283,000 after 14 levels of play.

Top 10 Day 1a Chip Counts

1Craig Spalding283,000
2Jim Will207,000
3Mike O'Neill200,000
4Jim Russler151,000
5Hyun Lee147,500
6Tom Zenthoefer141,500
7Alex Yen112,000
8Nick Pupillo111,000
9Charlie Leroi103,000
10Tony Ketterling95,500

Eighteen other players survived the grind, including Alex Yen (112,000), Nick Pupillo (111,000), and two-time ring winner Josh Turner (82,500). Yen got second in this tournament last year, falling to Charlie Dawson heads up. Pupillo also made that final table, where he ultimately finished seventh in his first MSPT appearace. He has since parlayed his success on the tour into a sponsorship deal.

Yen made a huge call for stacks during Level 7 (250/500/50). The pot already contained more than 60,000 when Keith Heine put 35,000 in the middle, enough to put Yen's stack of 26,100 at risk on a board of {2-Clubs}{j-Spades}{3-Spades}{6-Diamonds}{4-Hearts}. Yen tanked a couple of minutes and called off his second bullet.

"Ace-high," was all Heine could muster.

Yen showed {k-Spades}{j-Diamonds}.

"That's a great call."

Yen's heads-up opponent from 2014 did not have as much success. Dawson looked poised to mount a spirited defense, building up to more than 50 big blinds in the penultimate level of the night. However, his success ended there. He three-bet to 18,000 from the big blind over a button open from Tom Zenthoefer, who responded by shoving all in. Dawson called for 63,100 effective.

Dawson: {10-Hearts}{10-Clubs}
Zenthoefer: {j-Spades}{j-Clubs}

Dawson was unable to wriggle out of trouble as he had a couple of times before as Zenthoefer faded a third ten. Dawson was left with just a few big blinds and busted in short order.

Allen "Chainsaw" Kessler, Jonathan Dimatteo, Jason Zarlenga, Matt Alexander, Mark Hodge, Adam Friedman, Adam Lamphere, and Steve Anderson were some of the other players failing to advance. They'll have one more shot on Day 1b on Saturday. Play will kick off at 4 p.m. once again, andPokerNews will be on hand for more live reporting.

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