Main Event
Days:
1a1b2
Main Event
Day 1a Completed

Karakikov Leads Vang by a Nose After Day 1a (full)

mnuwwarah • Level 9: 800-1,600, 200 ante
Pavlin Karakikov bagged up 187,800 to lead the Day 1a field.
Pavlin Karakikov bagged up 187,800 to lead the Day 1a field.

Pavlin Karakikov bagged 187,800 to log a tiny chip lead over Kou Vang (187,400) and 32 other players on Day 1a here at Mid-States Poker Tour Majestic Star. Leon Morford (147,600), Brian Zimcosky (129,600), and John Simon (108,000) round out the top five.

Amazingly, we didn't catch Karakikov in a single reported pot today. He explained to us that he build his stack almost entirely in the last couple of levels.

"I flopped a set against top pair and a flush draw," Karakikov said of his most critical pot.

Vang showed up late, as seems to be his custom, but he made up for lost time by quickly building a stack. Easily his most important hand came against fellow MSPT grinder Matt Alexander.

A player in the hijack opened for 2,700, and Kou Vang called from the cutoff, as did the small blind. Alexander made it 11,000 in the big blind, and the initial raiser promptly folded. Vang pushed all in, the small blind folded, and Alexander called off for 60,800 total.

Alexander: {k-Diamonds}{k-Spades}
Vang: {j-Spades}{j-Diamonds}

The first four cards came {10-Hearts}{9-Clubs}{a-Diamonds}{3-Clubs}, keeping Alexander's kings best but fifth street was the {j-Hearts} to send him to the rail.

With just about 90 minutes remaining in the tournament, Vang held a huge lead over the field after this pot we witnessed, but evidently Karakikov went on a massive rush to pass him.

Vang, who is coming off of a second-place finish at the last MSPT stop two weeks ago, looks to continue his hot run by adding another big score to his more than $500,000 in career tournament earnings. Karakikov is no slouch himself, sporting just under $150,000 in winnings logged mostly at World Series of Poker Circuit events in the Midwest.

A total of 126 runners entered today, and Karakikov and Vang weren't the only notable survivors. Also bagging stacks were Jeremy Dresch (80,300), Matt Kirby (72,800), Patrick Steele (60,000), Tim Ebenhoeh Jr. (58,300), Bruce "Hammer" Swart (45,200), and John "JohnnyGstaks" Hayes (38,000). Those dropping out included the aforementioned Alexander, MSPT Baton Rouge winner Shawn Schoreck, Tom Midena, and Terry Ring.

Be sure to in to PokerNews tomorrow for coverage of Day 1b.

Pavlin Karakikov us
Pavlin Karakikov
us 187,800 187,800
Kou Vang us
Kou Vang
us 187,400 -2,600
Leon Morford us
Leon Morford
us 147,600 18,600
Brian Zimcosky us
Brian Zimcosky
us 129,600 129,600
John Simon us
John Simon
us 108,000 -3,200
Keith Lutz us
Keith Lutz
us 106,800
Jason Summers
Jason Summers
106,300 106,300
Scott Hammett us
Scott Hammett
us 103,100 3,100
Ron Kruk
Ron Kruk
87,800 49,125
Joe Santo
Joe Santo
84,000 84,000
Jeremy Dresch us
Jeremy Dresch
us 80,300 35,300
[Removed:67]
[Removed:67]
78,600
Charlie Sizemore
Charlie Sizemore
77,000
Justin DelRio
Justin DelRio
75,500 75,500
Steve Pint
Steve Pint
73,700 73,700
Matt Kirby us
Matt Kirby
us 72,800 -6,200
Ami Sharma
Ami Sharma
72,000 7,000
Shawn Rusch
Shawn Rusch
67,300 67,300
Patrick Steele us
Patrick Steele
us 60,000
Bradley Watts
Bradley Watts
59,700 59,700
Tim Ebenhoeh Jr.
Tim Ebenhoeh Jr.
58,300 58,300
Brian Ehman
Brian Ehman
56,200
Tony Pena
Tony Pena
53,500 53,500
Paul Bianchi us
Paul Bianchi
us 51,500 -6,900
Michael Younan us
Michael Younan
us 47,100 47,100

Read full

Tags: Bruce SwartJohn HayesJohn SimonKou VangLeon MorfordMatt AlexanderMatt KirbyPatrick SteeleShawn Schoreck

Two More

mnuwwarah • Level 9: 800-1,600, 200 ante

A tournament official announced that two more hands will be played.

Kirby Rebuilding

mnuwwarah • Level 9: 800-1,600, 200 ante
Matt Kirby is back to the stack he had before losing a cooler.
Matt Kirby is back to the stack he had before losing a cooler.

With a board of {4-Diamonds}{5-Clubs}{7-Hearts}{k-Hearts} in front of three players, John Simon bet 7,200 after two checks. Matt Kirby made the call in the small blind, and Ami Sharma came along in the big. Everyone checked the {j-Clubs}, and Kirby showed {k-Clubs}{10-Clubs} for top pair. Nobody could beat it.

Kirby has rebuilt his stack to about where it was before he ran {q-}{q-} into {k-}{k-}.

Matt Kirby us
Matt Kirby
us 79,000 38,000

Tags: John SimonAmi SharmaMatt Kirby

Vang "Running Well"

mnuwwarah • Level 9: 800-1,600, 200 ante

Kou Vang bet 3,900 in a three-handed pot after one check with the board reading {j-Diamonds}{2-Clubs}{j-Hearts}{k-Hearts}. The player on the button called, and the small blind folded. A {j-Clubs} river made trips on the board, and Vang bet 5,900. His opponent quickly called, and Vang showed {k-Diamonds}{k-Clubs} for the top full house. His opponent showed {k-}{10-} for a weaker boat.

"Running well," Vang said as he dragged yet another pot.

Kou Vang us
Kou Vang
us 190,000 10,000

Morford's Got the Ladies

mnuwwarah • Level 9: 800-1,600, 200 ante

Leon Morford opened for 5,000 from early position, and the player on the button shoved all in. Action folded back to Morford, who called without bothering to ask for a count. His opponent tossed in {10-Diamonds}{10-Clubs} as if he knew it was no good, and indeed Morford dropped {q-Spades}{q-Diamonds} into the middle.

The board came {j-Spades}{j-Clubs}{5-Hearts}{6-Spades}{a-Clubs}, and Morford sent his opponent packing.

Leon Morford us
Leon Morford
us 129,000

Tags: Leon Morford

Final Level

mnuwwarah • Level 9: 800-1,600, 200 ante

Level 9, the last of the night, just kicked off with the beeping of the clock.

Level:
9
Blinds:
800/1,600
Ante:
200

Final Break

mnuwwarah • Level 8: 600-1,200, 200 ante

The players left the room for one last 10-minute break.