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Sean Munjal Wins Largest Major Poker Tournament in Cleveland History for $140,654

Sean Munjal

The Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) wrapped up the first event of its 10th season on Sunday. The $1,100 buy-in 2019 MSPT Cleveland Poker Open at JACK Cleveland Casino drew 725 runners and generated a $703,250 prize pool, which made it the largest major poker tournament in Cleveland history.

After three starting flights and a long Day 2, Michigan’s Sean Munjal emerged victorious to capture a $140,654 top prize.

"I think I’m going to use this to propel myself into other tournaments, play bigger games and stuff like that.”

“I feel amazing!” Munjal told MSPT officials after the win. “This is my first huge score. I was never a tournament player, I always played cash, I play a lot of higher stakes PLO cash games across the country, but I never play tournaments much. This was my first tournament of the year, so I’m off to a good start!”

Munjal continued: “The first thing I’m going to do is pay off all my student loan debt. To be honest, I’ve been playing poker for close to ten years, and for me this is a dream come true. I’m really excited about it, and I think I’m going to use this to propel myself into other tournaments, play bigger games and stuff like that.”

Prior to the win, Munjal had roughly $38K in tournament cashes including a prior best $7,723 for finishing 10th in the 2015 MSPT FireKeepers Casino.

Final Table Results

PositionPlayerHometownPrize
1Sean MunjalAnn Arbor, MI$140,654
2Anthony CarboneBuffalo, NY$86,500
3Adam FriedmanGahanna, OH$63,293
4Joel BrinkEstero, FL$47,047
5Igor IoffeReminderville, OH$35,866
6John MingusLouisville, KY$27,427
7Ed MogilnickiCleveland, OH$21,098
8Sean TrohaCleveland, OH$16,175
9Clinton HubbleMidland, MI$12,659
10Michael PempinStrongsville, OH$10,478

Others to cash the Main Event were Sherry Hammers (11th - $10,478), Jake Hornbacher (16th - $7,033), Jeff Scarborough (32nd - $3,094), MSPT Season 8 Player of the Year Chris Meyers (34th - $3,094), MSPT Season 9 POY Aaron Johnson (38th - $2,602), MSPT Season 4 POY Pat Steele (41st - $2,602), Joe Ebanks (66th - $2,110), and Mikiyo Aoki (73rd - $1,969).

Adam Friedman Takes Third… Again!

Last year, World Series of Poker bracelet winner Adam Friedman was one of 581 entrants to participate in the inaugural MSPT Cleveland Poker Open. He earned $52,976 for that finish. He was looking to improve upon that finish in Season 10, but as fate would have it he once again finished in third place, though this time it was good for $63,293.

Friedman’s demise came in Level 32 (80,000/160,000/20,000) when he limped the small blind holding the {a-Diamonds}{7-Hearts} and Munjal checked his option from the big with the {a-Spades}{10-Hearts}. Both players checked the {a-Hearts}{2-Hearts}{j-Spades} flop before Friedman led out for 200,000 on the {q-Hearts} turn. Munjal raised to 600,000 and then snap-called when Friedman moved all in for 2.2 million. The {j-Hearts} river gave both players a flush but of course Munjal’s was best.

“You guys just wanna ship me third-place money next year?” Friedman joked after busting.

Munjal would later compliment Friedman in his post-victory interview: “Adam was one of the toughest opponents in the field today, I actually kinda blew up at him when I knocked him out, but it was because throughout the day he was difficult to deal with. So, props to him, he came and played a great tournament. He’s phenomenal.”

The 2019 MSPT Cleveland Poker Open final table.
The 2019 MSPT Cleveland Poker Open final table including Adam Friedman (white hoodie).

Final Hand of the Tournament

Munjal took a near 2:1 chip lead into heads-up play against Anthony Carbone, and things came to a head in Level 33 (100,000/200,000/30,000). It happened when Carbone limped the button holding the {k-Hearts}{j-Diamonds} and Munjal raised to 700,000 with the {a-Hearts}{k-Spades}.

Carbone jammed for around 4 million and Munjal snap-called. The {5-Hearts}{3-Clubs}{10-Hearts} flop didn’t do Carbone any favors, but the {q-Hearts} turn did give him a straight draw. Unfortunately for him, the {5-Spades} river was a brick and the 22-year-old Carbone, who last year finished 60th in the same event, had to settle for second place and $86,500 in prize money.

The MSPT’s 10th season continues next weekend with the MSPT Majestic Star in the Chicagoland area January 25-27.

Photos courtesy of MSPT

Sharelines
  • Sean Munjal bests 725-entry field to win @MSPTpoker Cleveland Poker Open at @JACKClePKR for $140K.

  • Adam Friedman notched back-to-back third-place finishes in the MSPT Cleveland Poker Open @JACKClePKR.

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