PokerStars EPT Barcelona Colorado Poker Championship WSOP Circuit Foxwoods

Main Event

Level Info

Level 28
Blinds 30,000 / 60,000
Ante 1,000

Players Info

Players Left
Entries 411
Prize Pool $397,170
Main Event
Day 2 Completed

Jason Zarlenga Wins MSPT FireKeepers Casino for $101,482

Chad_Holloway • Level 28: 30,000-60,000, 1,000 ante
Justin Zarlenga
Justin Zarlenga

On Sunday, the final 65 players of a 411-entry field returned to FireKeepers Casino in Battle Creek, Michigan to play down to a winner in the latest Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) $1,100 Main Event. It took 12 hours of play, but during that time the money bubble was burst and Jason Zarlenga of Lansing vanquished all his opponents to claim the title and $101,482 first-place prize.

“You have no idea how bad I wanted this,” said Zarlenga, who also added that his next stop will be Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker.

Day 2 kicked off with a plethora of eliminations including those of Zane Palmer, Santiago Vila, Mike Ermie, Michael Bozzo, Darrell Newcomer, Bob Buyce, Denny Robinson, and Robert West, all of who left empty handed.

In Level 17 (2,500/5,000/500), just 46 players remained, and with all but one of them slated to make the money, the bubble is on. Now when you hear the name Bob Dillon, you no doubt think of the American musician, singer-songwriter, artist, and writer, but at the MSPT FireKeepers that name is now synonymous with the bubble boy.

That's because Robert Dillon, who goes by Bob, got his last 41,500 all in preflop and was up against "Wild Bill" Romer.

Romer: {10-Hearts}{9-Clubs}
Dillon: {a-Clubs}{j-Clubs}

Dillon got it in good, but the {10-Spades}{2-Hearts}{q-Diamonds} flop gave Romer the lead with a pair of tens. The {9-Hearts} turn improved Romer to two pair, meaning Dillon needed to fill his straight on the river to stay alive. Unfortunately for him, that didn't happen as the {Q-Spades} blanked. Dillon was felled in 46th place, meaning the remaining players were guaranteed a minimum payday of $1,986.

The in-the-money eliminations piled up throughout the afternoon and included Matt Soloman (45th - $1,986), “Wild Bill” Romer (34th - $2,184), MSPT Majestic champ Ken Baime (32nd - $2,184), Day 1b chip leader Carter Myers (24th - $2,462), and FireKeepers stud Adam Lamphere (17th - $3,138).

Lamphere, the runner-up the past two times the MSPT visited Battle Creek, began the day as the fifth-shortest stack. He got lucky to double early on when his Big Slick cracked aces, and he used those chips to make his way deep into the money. Alas, his run came to an end courtesy of JC Chen.

It happened in Level 22 (8,000/16,000/2,000) when Lamphere shoved all in preflop holding the {q-Diamonds}{j-Diamonds} and Chen called him with {a-}{8-}. The flop paired Chen's eight, but it also contained two diamonds to give Lamphere a flush draw. An {8-} on the turn improved Chen to trips, while an {A-} on the river gave him a full house. Lamphere missed his flush and had to settle for 17th place. Still, that's three times the MSPT has come to FireKeepers and three times Lamphere has shown he's one of the best.

After the last woman in the field, Heather Schuchaskie, exited in 16th place, a few other notables – including Tyler Caspers (15th - $3,972), Taylor Tollefson (14th - $3,972), and Ken Payne (12th - $5,163) – followed her out the door before the final table was set.

After a short dinner break, the final table of ten returned to battle down to a winner. The first elimination of the final table came within minute when Zarlenga and Marko Doljevic both picked up pocket pairs. A low flop saw the chips go in, and the sixes of Doljevic were in bad shape against Zarlenga’s jacks. Neither the turn nor river changed a thing, and Doljevic exited in tenth place.

From there, Dash Dudley (9th - $7,943), Day 1a chip leader Scott Hammett (8th - $11,518), and Dustin Hargis (7th - $15,092) all fell, followed by John Michalak. Michalak’s last hand happened in Level 26 (20,000/40,000/5,000) when he opened for 100,000 under the gun and then called a three-bet to 237,000 from Mark Johnson. The {k-Clubs}{10-Hearts}{j-Clubs} flop saw Michalak call a bet of 163,000, and then both players checked the {10-Diamonds} turn. When the {5-Clubs} completed the board on the river, Johnson moved all in and Michalak leaned back in his chair.

"Do you have nines?" he asked. "That's what I put you on."

About 20 seconds later Michalak called off his last 450,000 with the {j-Spades}{a-Diamonds}. It was the wrong call as Johnson had flopped Broadway with the {a-Clubs}{q-Hearts}.

"I didn't believe you," Michalak said before making his way to the payout desk in sixth place to collect $18,866.

Over the next couple levels, start-of-the-day chip leader Nick Perkins (5th - $22,639) and JC Chen (4th - $28,795) both fell. The former got it in with a weak ace against Zarlenga’s big ace, while the latter was on the wrong end of a set-over-set cooler. Not long after, Johnson lost a massive flip to Zarlenga, who then went on to face off against Mike Deis in heads-up play.

The two began essentially even in chips, but it proved to be a back-and-forth affair. Zarlenga fell behind early, but then doubled big into the chip lead. From there, he was able to seal the deal by winning a race in the final hand.

Congratulations to Jason Zarlenga, winner of the MSPT FireKeepers Main Event.

MSPT FireKeepers Final Table Results

1stJason ZarlengaLansing, MI$101,482
2ndAdam DeisAnn Arbor, MI$58,583
3rdMark JohnsonWarren, MI$35,745
4thJC ChenRichland, MI$28,795
5thNick PerkinsChesaning, MI$22,639
6thJohn MichalakCleveland, OH$18,866
7thDustin HargisGalesburg, MI$15,092
8thScott HammettChelsea, MI$11,518
9thDash DudleyLansing, MI$7,943
10thMarko DoljevicHighland, MI$5,163

The next MSPT will be at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas during their popular Deep Stack Extravaganza (DSE) series. The $1,100 buy-in Mid-Season Championship will take place from June 2-4 and boast a $300,000 guarantee prize pool. For more on the MSPT, visit

Tags: Jason Zarlenga

Mike Deis Eliminated in 2nd Place ($58,583)

Chad_Holloway • Level 28: 30,000-60,000, 1,000 ante
Mike Deis - 2nd Place
Mike Deis - 2nd Place

In what turned out to be the final hand of the tournament, Mike Deis opened for 150,000 from the button only to have Jason Zarlenga three-bet to 360,000. Deis paused for a few beats before moving all in and Zarlenga snap-called.

Zarlenga: {a-Hearts}{9-Hearts}
Deis: {7-Diamonds}{7-Hearts}

"We've got a race boys," Zarlenga told his rail. Indeed they did, but for Deis he was just looking to hold. Unfortunately for him, that was easier said than done as the {a-Clubs}{q-Spades}{4-Hearts} flop paired Zarlenga's ace. Neither the {2-Spades} turn nor {3-Diamonds} river let Deis retake the lead, and he had to settle for runner-up and a $58,583 consolation prize.

Jason Zarlenga us 8,220,000 2,865,000
Mike Deis Busted

Tags: Mike DeisJason Zarlenga


All In and a Call

Chad_Holloway • Level 27: 25,000-50,000, 5,000 ante

Well, we just had a big pot take place.

It began with Mike Deis opening for 115,000 from the button and then moving all in when Jason Zarlenga three-bet to 290,000. Zarlenga snap-called off.

Zarlenga: {a-Spades}{q-Hearts}
Deis: {a-Diamonds}{5-Clubs}

Deis shoved with a weak ace, which meant Zarlenga's strong kicker made him a massive favorite. Being the at-risk player, he was understandably nervous and on his feet. With his rail cheering him on, he watched the board run out {a-Hearts}{j-Diamonds}{6-Diamonds}{2-Spades}{j-Hearts} to give him the double and the chip lead.

Jason Zarlenga us 6,055,000 3,045,000
Mike Deis 2,250,000 -3,045,000

Tags: Jason ZarlengaMike Deis

Big Pot to Deis

Chad_Holloway • Level 27: 25,000-50,000, 5,000 ante

Jason Zarlenga opened for 115,000 on the button and Mike Deis called, which brought about a flop of {6-Diamonds}{3-Diamonds}{9-Spades}. Deis checked, Zarlenga bet 115,000, and Deis woke up with a check-raise to 400,000. Zarlenga called and then both players checked the {J-Diamonds} turn.

When the {10-Diamonds} river put four diamonds on the board, Deis led out for 500,000 and Zarlenga folded.

Mike Deis 5,295,000 1,290,000
Jason Zarlenga us 3,010,000 -1,290,000

Tags: Jason ZarlengaMike Deis

Mark Johnson Eliminated in 3rd Place ($35,745)

Chad_Holloway • Level 27: 25,000-50,000, 5,000 ante
Mark Johnson - 3rd Place
Mark Johnson - 3rd Place

Jason Zarlenga opened for 115,000 on the button, and after Mike Deis folded from the small blind, Mark Johnson three-bet to 275,000 from the big. Zarlenga responded by four-betting all in, and Johnson double checked his cards before calling off for approximately 1.8 million.

Zarlenga: {j-Diamonds}{j-Clubs}
Johnson: {a-Hearts}{q-Spades}

It was a classic flip for a lot of chips, but Johnson was the one at risk and needing to improve. The {6-Clubs}{8-Spades}{2-Clubs} flop was no help, and neither was the {7-Hearts} turn. Johnson needed either an ace or queen on the river to survive, but it was not meant to be as the {3-Clubs} blanked.

Johnson will take home $35,745 for his third-place finish while Zarlenga and Deis will battle heads up.

Mark Johnson us Busted

Tags: Mark JohnsonJason Zarlenga

Dies at His Third Final Table of Season 5

Chad_Holloway • Level 27: 25,000-50,000, 5,000 ante

It's been a good couple months for Mike Dies. Prior to today he had already made two MSPT final tables in Season 5.

Event DatesLocationEventPlaceAmount 
03/01/2014-03/09/2014Gary, IndianaMajestic Star Casino6$11,725 
03/15/2014-03/23/2014Baraboo, WisconsinHo-Chunk Gaming WI Dells5$18,404 

Obviously Dies will be making his best MSPT performance to date here at FireKeepers, and just two players stand between him and his first title.

Tags: Mike Dies