Mid-States Poker Tour Team Pro Matt Alexander reached his fourth final table on the tour, but he couldn't overcome local cash-game grinder Luke Arora heads up at Running Aces as Arora claimed $83,773 and his first MSPT title while denying Alexander his first.
Arora, who doesn't often venture into the tournament scene, told event reporters that he's a regular in a local $40/$80 mixed game. He overcame a final table that included past MSPT final table regulars like Jeff Fielder, Mark Sandness, Jeremy Dresch, and Tyler Caspers.
Final Table Results
|1||Luke Arora||Arden Hills, MN||$83,773|
|2||Matt Alexander||Minneapolis, MN||$50,264|
|3||Nathan Baum||Lincoln, NE||$32,604|
|4||Mark Sandness||Wayzata, MN||$22,786|
|5||Jeff Fielder||Des Moines, IA||$17,090|
|6||Jeremy Dresch||Fridley, MN||$13,403|
|7||Tyler Caspers||Echo, MN||$11,393|
|8||Andy Beberg||Stillwater, MN||$9,383|
|9||Dave Soderstrom||St. Paul, MN||$8,042|
|10||Steve Vang||Brooklyn Park, MN||$6,367|
The tournament 347 players total, and tour regulars Jason Seitz (35th), Kou Vang (32nd), Ben Marsh (24th), Muneer Ahmed (17th), Joe Barnard (14th), and Adam Dahlin (11th) were among the players making runs into the 36 paid positions.
According to the live updates, Sandness ran up a big stack with a hot run at the final two tables, busting Dahlin to get to the official final table with over 70 big blinds, well clear of nearest competitor Dresch who had about 40.
After the first few eliminations, with the blinds at 20,000/40,000/5,000, Arora shipped 496,000 from the big blind over a raise from small blind Dresch, who called holding pocket fours. Arora held eights though, and the board ran out , keeping the eights best and moving Arora to about 1 million while Dresch was left crippled and busted in sixth.
Arora continued to run hot and scored another double after a board. He jammed with the and found himself looking at the , good for two pair, held by Nathan Baum. Unfortunately for Baum, a king peeled off on the turn and the board failed to pair the river.
Next to go was Fielder in fifth, courtesy of a three-outer from Baum, followed by Sandness in fourth after he lost a race to Baum.
Baum's hot streak did not continue, however, as he called off his stack on a board holding the . He was happy to see Alexander had jammed with the and he needed only to fade the river card, but one of Alexander's many outs was the and it arrived to send Baum packing.
Both players had over 50 big blinds when heads-up play began, but Arora pulled ahead early. He eliminated Alexander after opening the button with the and having Alexander defend with the . The dominated became dominant after a flop gave Arora two pair, and the two got in a raising war that ended with Alexander all in. Two blanks hit the board, and Arora had the biggest tournament cash of his life while Alexander was left padding a résumé that boasts more than $700,000 in cashes but no victories on his home tour.
"He's a really good player, I just ran hot against him," Arora said after his win. "I just ran hot from the final table on."
*Image courtesy of MSPT.