MSPT Hosts Largest Poker Tournament in Michigan History

MSPT Hosts Largest Poker Tournament in Michigan History

Mark Brazis has won the biggest poker tournament in Michigan state history after besting a field of 1,287 runners over four days at the $1,100 MSPT Battle Creek for $221,323. The Indiana resident had just $31,264 in winnings from three cashes going into the MSPT Main Event, and after claiming his famous victory, the 36-year-old player commented:

“The MSPT FireKeepers is a great tournament, I really enjoyed it. The structure was wonderful, no too slow, not too fast. FireKeepers has a great establishment here, they’re always first class. You’ll see me more on the MSPT and at FireKeepers Casino.”

Demonstrating the continuing strength of the Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT), the previous record of 1,066 players was set at the same tournament in May 2017, with Mike Shanahan taking down the event on that occasion for a $216,829 payday.

Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT)

The Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) was originally launched in December 2009 as the Minnesota State Poker Tour, before rebranding in 2011 as it expanded into a greater number of states primarily in the Midwest region of the country. Now into Season Nine, the MSPT stops at more than 30 events throughout the year, and is recognized for hosting affordable, deep stack NLHE tournaments designed to appeal to recreational players, or “weekend warriors” as they are known on the tour.

MSPT FireKeepers Main Event

The MSPT Main Event kicked-off last Thursday at the FireKeepers Casino, and attracted a record breaking field of 1,287 players to create a prize pool worth more than four times its initial $300,000 guarantee. Amongst the notable players then seeing a return on their $1,100 buy-ins was Blake Bohn in 124th ($2,120), Greg Himmelbrand in 68th ($2,993), Kenna James in 57th ($3,242), Kevin Saul in 25th ($6,983), and Aaron Johnson in 15th ($13,715).

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Final Table

After the final table had been set, Bryant Miller (K-Q) sent Charles Baryames (A-8) to the rail in 10th, followed by Bryan Norris in 4th and Henry Zou in 3rd to force heads-up play against Brazis for the title.

As the final showdown commenced, Miller was sitting on a 2-1 chip lead, but Brazis soon managed to redress the balance before the deciding hand was played after both players were dealt monster holdings. In the hand in question, Miller’s A-K was up against Brazis’ pocket queens, but after the board ran out nine high Miller had to settle for a runner-up finish worth $137,158, which currently accounts for all but $2,054 of his career earnings. Meanwhile, top honors went to Mark Brazis, who commenting later on his victory stated:

“It was a hard battle, he played really well. He took some bad beats but always handled himself well. He fought me to the end. I’m happy I was able to win tonight. You take bad beats earlier in the tournament, you win some you lose some. Just gotta be happy to come out on top.”

Final Table Results

1: Mark Brazis $221,323
2: Bryant Miller $137,158
3: Henry Zou $99,751
4: Bryan Norris $76,185
5: Kou Vang $57,357
6: Justin Lee $43,641
7: Michael Reardon $33,666
8: Jason Zarlenga $26,185
9: Aaron Soulliere $21,197
10: Charles Baryames $17,456

MSPT Hall of Fame

In other, Mid-States Poker Tour related news, Kou Vang has become the first player to be inducted into the MSPT Hall of Fame. Players are able to qualify for the HOF by either recording 25 MSPT Main Event cashes and winning a MSPT title or Player of the Year award, or by reaching a minimum of 10 MSPT final tables and winning a MSPT title or Player of the Year award.

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Born in Thailand, the 36-year old player now living in Minnesota cashed in at his first MSPT tournament back in Season 2. This weekend, he then managed to satisfy the MSPT HOF requirements after finishing 5th at the aforementioned MSPT FireKeepers Main Event for $57,357, after which he commented:

“It feels absolutely wonderful to get recognition for the commitment and dedication put into chasing live poker glory. I am very glad MSPT found a way to acknowledge the players that have supported them throughout the years. It feels good, feels at home.”

Kou Vang now boasts $1,358,059 in live tournament earnings in a career dating back to 2006, with 2016 representing his best year to date after amassing an impressive $327,927 in winnings.


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