Back in September 2015, Travis Lauson came agonizingly close to winning Mid-States Poker Tour Potawatomi when he took a chip lead into heads-up play with Dan Goepel, only to fall in second. It was a painful experience, one he was determined not to repeat after again making it to the heads-up match when the tour rolled into town again on Friday.
Lauson finished things this time, defeating Brandon Byrne to secure $129,077 for topping the 556-player field.
"I needed redemption from that second place," he said. "It's simply amazing. If I would have lost heads-up back-to-back I would have gone crazy."
Final Table Results
|1||Travis Lauson||Manitowoc, WI||$129,077|
|2||Brandon Byrne||De Pere, WI||$76,646|
|3||John Sun||Milwaukee, WI||$50,017|
|4||Abe Montenegro||Franklin Park, IL||$34,689|
|5||Ben Reinhart||La Porte, IN||$26,084|
|6||Nick Kost||Chicago, IL||$20,168|
|7||Miroslav Semanisin||Wisconsin Dells, WI||$16,404|
|8||Scott Vetter||Washington, IL||$13,446|
|9||Richard Bai||Schaumberg, IL||$10,756|
|10||Shane Thorne||Sheboygan, WI||$8,605|
Players finishing among the 54 paid positions in the tournament included Adam Lamphere (54th), Rob Wazwaz (37th), Mark Hodge (33rd), Rodger Johnson (24th), Nick Jivkov (20th), and Goepel (14th).
According to the live updates, Goepel's spirited title defense ended when he got the in against an opponent holding who spiked a ten.
Shortly after that, the pot that made Lauson primed for a championship run occurred with 12 players left. He opened under the gun with the and saw two players jam behind him. One held the and the other the , and the board ran out dead with nothing above a nine to send a massive pot to Lauson and kick off final-table play.
Lauson and John Sun were runaway chip leaders at that point with 80-plus big blinds apiece, more than double their nearest opponent. After a pair of early eliminations at the final table, Lauson picked up the in the big blind and called the shove of Scott Vetter, holding against the .
One elimination later, World Series of Poker bracelet winner Nick Kost was table to get it in good against Lauson after opening on the button and then calling off 1.1 million at 30,000/60,000/10,000 with the . Lauson was behind but had live cards with the , and a board meant Lauson had outdrawn his unfortunate foe.
Ben Reinhart then busted fifth and Abe Montenegro fourth, and Lauson had more than 60 big blinds three-handed while his opponents had about 25 each. Lauson solidified his lead after flopping a flush with the and getting paid on three streets by Sun as the board rolled out — Sun had the .
Sun was left short and went bust in short order, but Byrne gave Lauson a scare with an early double after both players made two pair by fourth street.
Big pairs came to the rescue again to send the last two huge pots to Lauson. The first came when Lauson picked up tens and raise-called his stack off against the of Byrne. The tens held and Lauson was in business again. Shortly thereafter, Lauson woke up with and snapped off a button shove from Byrne, who held the . A runout later and it was all over, allowing Lauson to close the deal after his narrow miss last year.
*Image courtesy of MSPT.