Live Events 2
$1,110 South Dakota State Championship

Gerald Cunniff Wins MSPT South Dakota State Poker Championship

MikePatrick • Level 30: 100,000-150,000, 150,000 ante

A tournament steeped in history and tradition has another outstanding champion to call its own as Gerald Cunniff of St. Paul, Minnesota has won the MSPT South Dakota State Poker Championship.

Cunniff takes home one of the most iconic trophies in poker for his victory, outlasting 506 entries at the Silverado-Franklin Hotel and Gaming Complex in Deadwood, South Dakota.

“It’s going right on the mantle, until my wife takes it away”, joked Cunniff when asked if he was putting the legendary trophy in a special place.

Along with that incredible trophy, Cunniff takes home $94,483, which is his largest-ever tournament score. “The trophy is really cool, but the money is really the best thing.” said Cunniff when asked to compare the significance of the trophy to a near $100,000 score.

In the end, it was Cunniff taking home the largest piece of the prize pool and that trophy, as a deal was agreed upon before heads-up play began, with Cunniff holding a near five-to-one chip lead over runner-up Mike Estes of Coralville, Iowa. The deal saw Estes take home an even $75,000 for his efforts.

The tournament was one of the region’s biggest and most successful ever, as the massive field created a prize pool of $489,320 which was spread among the final 54 players.

MSPT South Dakota State Poker Championship Final Table Results

1Gerald CunniffSt. Paul, MN$94,843*
2Mike EstesCoralville, IA$75,000*
3Ron KohnerPeoria, AZ$46,583
4Wesley CannonMinneapolis, MN$35,231
5Joshua KievalFort Collins, CO$26,423
6Michael WilliamsBillings, MT$20,062
7Alex SmithCasper, WY$15,658
8Kevin EllisBillings, MT$12,233
9Sergio MirelesNewcastle, WY$9,297

*Denotes heads-up deal.

Road to the Final Table

Cunniff came into Sunday as the chip leader and kept building his stack as he battled his way through a day which saw many quick eliminations as the bubble was burst quickly with just 12 of the 66 returning players needing to be eliminated to reach the money.

Patricia Baumann was the unfortunate bubble elimination when Jeff Heiberg sent her home shy of the money with ace-ten against Baumann’s ace-four.

From there, many notables fell shy of the final table, including MSPT stars Matt Kirby (30th - $2,642) and DJ Buckley (23rd - $3,768), along with Jeff Heiberg (12th - $7,340) and Joshua Reichard (11th - $7,340).

Final Table Action

After the final nine returned from dinner, it looked like Estes would run away with the event as he took an early pot off Cunniff before scoring the table’s first elimination by ending the run of 2019 champion Sergio Mireles.

Cunniff then began his final ascension to the title, first knocking out Alex Smith in 7th place, then cutting into Estes’ chip lead in a key pot.

The wild card at the table was Ron Kohner, whose random aggressive style had players shaking their heads throughout the day. But it was Cunniff who finally got to him midway through the final table in a key pot, then put him on fumes with a huge double up that sent Cunniff to a chip lead that he would not relinquish before finishing off Kohner.

From there the deal was agreed upon that declared Cunniff the champion.

Next Stop, Vegas!

The MSPT crew has packed up and is now on their way to Vegas for what promises to be a pair of huge Main Events at the Venetian Resort and Casino. PokerNews will be there to capture all the action.

MSPT Venetian Main Event Schedules

DateTime (PDT)TournamentLate RegGTD Prize PoolStarting StackBlind Levels
Monday, June 611:10 am$1,600 MSPT Main Event Day 1a6:40 pm$2,000,00030,00040
Tuesday, June 711:10 am$1,600 MSPT Main Event Day 1b6:40 pm$2,000,00030,00040
Wednesday, June 811:10 am$1,600 MSPT Main Event Day 1c6:40 pm$2,000,00030,00040
Thursday, June 911:00 am$1,600 MSPT Main Event Day 2---40
Friday, June 1012:00 pm$1,600 MSPT Main Event Day 3---40
Sunday, June 1211:10 am$1,100 MSPT Main Event Day 1a6:40 pm$1,500,00025,00040
Monday, June 1311:10 am$1,100 MSPT Main Event Day 1b6:40 pm$1,500,00025,00040
Tuesday, June 1411:10 am$1,100 MSPT Main Event Day 1c6:40 pm$1,500,00025,00040
Wednesday, June 1511:00 am$1,100 MSPT Main Event Day 2---40

This concludes our coverage from Historic Deadwood, South Dakota and the Silverado-Franklin Hotel and Gaming Complex.
Congratulations to Gerald Cunniff, the 2022 South Dakota State Poker Champion.

Tags: Alex SmithDJ BuckleyGerald CunniffJeff HeibergJoshua KievalJoshua ReichardKevin EllisMatt KirbyMichael WilliamsMike EstesPatricia BaumannRon KohnerSergio MIrelesWesley Cannon