Back in 2017, the Mid-States Poker Tour expanded its deal with Venetian to include an early February event coinciding with the Super Bowl. Dubbed the Poker Bowl, the tournament built on a relationship that already included a series of monstrous summer events that built some memorable prize pools.
The Poker Bowl began with a somewhat modest $300,000 guarantee, one that proved to be quite a bit smaller than the actual turnout. More than double the required number of entries turned up (695) and it came down to well-known pros Jordan Young and Ankush Mandavia. The two struck a deal that saw both players earn more than $100K, with Young as the official winner.
In 2018, the Poker Bowl returned with an expanded guarantee of $500K. The number would be easily beaten again with 827 entries, and this time, the final four came to a deal. Kfir Nahum and Matthias De Cercq would get the lion's share with $108,410 apiece — the former took home the title via the slightest of chip leads — and John Ploski ($84,743) and Bob Shao ($76,926) got the rest.
The guarantee was upped once again for 2019 with $650,000, but it was again easily surpassed with more than 1,000 entries and a prize pool just shy of $1 million. This time, the last three made a deal, with Eli Ross and Pedro Mendes each getting about $119K but Canada's Brian Wilson snagging $143,929 and the title.
Venetian bumped to number to an even $1 million for 2020 and they finally had a mild sweat with the turnout, but 1,093 entries still made for a prize pool of $1,060,210. Another deal ended play, with five players this time divvying up the remaining monies. Bob Whalen had the most chips by a fair amount, so he secured $140,152 while three European players (Grachia Minasian, George Brady, Thomas Lust) and one other American (Oluwashola Akindele) got between $85K and $100K.
MSPT Poker Bowl at Venetian Event History
|Year||Event||Entries||Prize Pool||Winner (Prize)|
|2017||MSPT Poker Bowl||695||$681,100||Jordan Young ($117,381)*|
|2018||MSPT Poker Bowl II||827||$806,325||Kfir Nahum ($108,410)*|
|2019||MSPT Poker Bowl III||1,022||$996,450||Brian Wilson ($143,929)*|
|2020||MSPT Poker Bowl IV||1,093||$1,060,210||Bob Whalen ($140,152)*|
*reflects final table deal