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Bob Whalen Wins MSPT Venetian Poker Bowl IV ($140,152)

Bob Whalen

The fourth edition of the Mid-States Poker Bowl (MSPT) $1,100 buy-in Poker Bowl at The Venetian in Las Vegas featured a $1 million guarantee, and a massive turnout of 1,093 entries over three starting flights resulted in a $1,060,210 prize pool.

On Saturday night, the day before the NFL Super Bowl LIV between the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs, a winner was crowned in the MSPT Poker Bowl IV after Bob Whalen began as the Day 2 chip leader and rode it to victory after a five-way deal was struck.

Whalen took $140,152 as a part of that deal, which was a new career-high surpassing the $129,967 he previously won back in 2009 after taking down a Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) Main Event. In 2008, he also finished 79th in the World Series of Poker Main Event for $77,200.

Whalen, formerly from Wisconsin, has lived in Vegas for the past three and a half years playing about town nearly every day of the week. However, it wasn’t his first taste of victory at Venetian as ten years ago he won three DeepStack tournaments within a two-week span.

Final Table Results

1Bob Whalen$140,152*
2Grachia Minasian$100,682*
3George Brady$96,839*
4Thomas Lust$94,376*
5Oluwashola Akindele$85,004*
6John Dennehey$38,168
7Justin Young$29,686
8Vadim Shlez$23,325
9Eyal Al Revah$19,084
19Kou Yang$14,843

*Denotes five-way deal.

Among those to make the money at the top 150 were Terry Fleischer (14th - $11,662), Marko Pantelic (20th - $8,588), Poker Bowl II champ Kfir Nahum (22nd - $7,209), Kathy Liebert (23rd - $7,209), Sorel Mizzi (31st - $4,559), Brett Halan (41st - $3,499), Ashley Sleeth (47th - $3,181), Kenna James (60th - $2,863), Chipp Jett (66th - $2,757), Eric Wasylenko (70th - $2,757), and MSPT Season 1 Running Aces champ Joe Matheson (77th - $2,651).

MSPT Final Table
The MSPT Poker Bowl IV final table.

Final Table Action

MSPT regular Kou Yang was the first final table casualty after running pocket fours into Justin Young’s sixes, and Eyal Al Revah followed him out the door after committing his short stack with king-ten suited only to see Grachia Minasian roll over pocket aces. Revah flopped a flush draw but bricked the turn and river to fall in ninth place.

The short-stacked Vadim Shlez was next to go after losing king-ten to Young’s ace-queen all in preflop, while Young himself bowed out in seventh running pocket tens into George Brady’s two black jacks.

Next on the chopping block was John Dennehey, who lost holding jacks to Minasian’s ace-nine after the latter made a straight on the river. At that point, the final five players paused the clock to discuss a deal. They came to terms, and as the chip leader, Whalen was crowned the Poker Bowl IV MVP taking down his first MSPT title.

DatesEditionEntriesPrize PoolWinnerPrize
February 2-4, 2017Poker Bowl I695$681,100Jordan Young$117,381
February 1-3, 2018Poker Bowl II827$806,325Kfir Nahum$108,410
January 31-February 2, 2019Poker Bowl III1,022$996,450Brian Wilson$143,929
January 29-February 1, 2019Poker Bowl IV1,093$1,060,210Bob Whalen$140,152

Season 11 of the MSPT continues February 21-23 with a $1,100 buy-in, $300K GTD Main Event at Minnesota’s Canterbury Park. Once again PokerNews will be on hand to capture all the action. For more information visit

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  • Bob Whalen topped a 1,093-entry field to win @msptpoker @VenetianPoker Poker Bowl IV for $140,152.

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