World Series of Poker Europe

Mark Hodge Leads MSPT Player of the Year Race Heading Into Final Stop of Season 6

Mark Hodge
  • Heading into the last stop on @msptpoker Season 6 schedule, Mark Hodge leads a tight Player of the Year race.

There is only one stop remaining in Season 6 of the Mid-States Poker Tour – the MSPT Canterbury Park from December 4-13 – and MSPT Player of the Year race is coming down to the wire.

Right now, Mark Hodge sits atop with 3,540 points, but with a $200,000 guaranteed prize pool at Canterbury, the stop will award a minimum of 1,200 points (more likely 1,400-1,500 depending on the size of the field). That means a slew or players have a chance to catch Hodge.

Here are things stack up heading into the finale:

1Mark Hodge3,540
2Blake Bohn3,000
3Nicholas Pupillo2,950
4Peixin Liu2,900
5Bill Rogers2,900
6Richard Alsup2,800
7Daniel Goepel2,500
8Angelina Rich2,500
9Gerald Heckathorn2,200
10Thomas Peebles2,200
11Daniel Buckley2,167

The eventual winner will receive a $1,100 Main Event seat to the MSPT Mid-Season Championship at The Venetian in Las Vegas as well as $400 cash toward airfare. They will also receive $250 to every MSPT event in Season 7 (up to $5,000), and this year the 2015 Player of the Year will receive a $5,000 Custom Home Audio package from Holm Audio.

Originally from Indiana, Hodge has called the Twin Cities home for 25 years, and he's since become a tour regular. Decades ago, he was a partner in a technology consulting firm, one that eventually went public.

"Right place at right time, so I retired young," says Hodge, who retired in 2001. Even so, he went back to school to get his Masters in education, which lead to him working as a high school math teacher for a year. While he gave that up, he occasionally substitutes in between traveling with his wife and visiting their three sons and eight grandchildren.

"This is my hobby," Hodge says of poker. "It's been a lot of fun. I made a decision at the end of last year that I was going to play more poker this year. As soon as I started playing more poker the results came. A good start to the season, quiet in the middle, and a nice hit in Meskwaki. It's been a mix of results."

Hodge, who only plays on the MSPT and in local Twin City tournaments, kicked off the season by making the final table at the first-ever MSPT Jacksonville, and from there the results came regularly.

01/15/2015-01/25/2015Jacksonville, Floridabestbet10$5,231
01/30/2015-02/08/2015Columbus, MinnesotaRunning Aces Card Club4$25,539
02/14/2015-02/22/2015Baraboo, WisconsinHo-Chunk Gaming WI Dells18$3,541
03/05/2015-03/15/2015Black Hawk, ColoradoGolden Gates Casino35$2,182
04/04/2015-04/12/2015Milwaukee, WisconsinPotawatomi Casino37$2,704
06/01/2015-06/05/2015Las Vegas, NevadaThe Venetian169$2,512
09/11/2015-09/20/2015Columbus, MinnesotaRunning Aces Casino32$1,963
10/31/2015-11/08/2015Tama, IowaMeskwaki Casino6$18,820

"I think it'd just be fun, it'd be validation," Hodge says about the possibility of winning POY. "I don't think anything else would change. I'm competitive, the money is just a way to keep score. If you put points on something, I'm going to want to have more points than the next guy."

While POY is on his mind, Hodge also spends a lot of time thinking about actually capturing a MSPT title.

"If you ask me at the beginning of next year, my goal would be to win an event," he admits. "I want to win a $1,000+ buy-in event, that's my goal. Player of the Year is nice, something to talk to people about, but if you want to win you play to win."

Aside from that, for him, the MSPT is all about camaraderie.

"I've met a lot of good folks. It's been a lot of fun. The other day I was playing, and right before I busted, a couple guys said the table was a lot of fun. One guy looked at me and said it was because of me. I actually felt like I won. I know it may sound corny."

The PokerNews Live Reporting Team will be on hand throughout the MSPT Canterbury Park. Be sure to follow the action in our dedicated live blog to keep tabs on the POY race and to see whether or not Hodge can hold onto his lead.

Here's a look at those who've capture titles in Season 6 thus far:

Jan. 15-25, 2015MSPT bestbet Jacksonville421Brian Arbaugh$102,806
Jan. 30 – Feb. 8, 2015MSPT Running Aces354Erv Bjerga$91,941
Feb. 14-22, 2015MSPT Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells463Ben Wiora$114,512
March 5-15MSPT Golden Gates409Kane Lai$101,365
March 21-29MSPT Meskwaki371Chad Willett$96,760
April 4-12MSPT Potawatomi635Jason Mirza$147,529
April 6-19MSPT Maryland Live! Casino270Greg Himmelbrand$72,910
April 17-26MSPT Canterbury Park430Dan Hendrickson$106,182
May 9-17MSPT FireKeepers Casino614Mark Rubenstein$142,637
June 1-5MSPT Venetian1,964Angelina Rich$215,815
July 24-26MSPT Meskwaki410Blake Bohn$101,229
August 14-16MSPT Grand Falls238Alan Curl$64,941
August 21-23MSPT Tropicana Evansville251Michael O'Neill$67,746
September 4-6MSPT Potawatomi462Dan Goepel$114,117
September 18-20MSPT Running Aces328Peixin Liu$85,498
October 10-18MSPT FireKeepers Casino559Michael Ferraroti$134,642
November 6-8MSPT Meskwaki410Rich Alsup$101,229
November 20-22MSPT Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells379John Hayes$98,907

For more information, head on over to or follow them on Twitter @msptpoker.

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