Daniel Sepiol won the massive field MSPT Riverside regional in Iowa for $162,781, beating out 862 players. The Indiana native, a mid-stakes grinder, picked up his biggest score and his first Mid-States Poker Tour title.
The MSPT embarked upon the Hawkeye State in March with two events — one earlier in the month at Grand Falls Casino in the Northwest corner of the state, and the other this past weekend in Riverside, an Eastern Iowa town not far from the gorgeous University of Iowa campus.
Huge crowd in attendance
The $1,100 tournament promised at least $300,000 in prize pool money, and the guarantee was completely shattered. At the end of the two Day 1 sessions, 862 players had registered, generating a prize pool of $836,140, one of the largest live poker tournaments in Iowa history.
Players from all over the country, mostly from the Midwest, showed up in droves to compete in the mid-stakes event. Even nearby Wisconsinites such as poker journalist and pseudo-WSOP bracelet winner (does the Casino Employees event really count?) Chad Holloway crossed over the border to compete for life-changing money, and to experience the beauty the state of Iowa has to offer, something some would argue he can’t experience as much of in his own state.
Holloway, like every other Wisconsinite in the field, failed to reach the final table. He finished in 27th place for $4,841, which might have been somewhat impressive if not for the fact he was on his third bullet.
Speaking of firing multiple bullets, Chicago-area resident Kyna England told Poker.org she entered the tournament four times. The fourth time was clearly a charm as she finished in 3rd place for $73,782, the largest score of her poker career.
“We can’t win if we don’t fire again,” England said as her brilliant reasoning for firing four bullets.
England was eliminated by the eventual champion, Sepiol with K-9. She called an all-in with the best hand and was slightly out in front of Sepiol’s Q-10. But the board ran out 3-Q-J-J-3, and her four-bullet run came to an end.
That left Sepiol and Jason Crews of Ankeny, Iowa, a growing Des Moines suburb, to battle it out heads-up. Both players were guaranteed a six-figure payday, and Sepiol ended up with the largest chunk — $162,750 — and the title. Crews took home $100,157 as a consolation prize.
The Mid-States Poker Tour now leaves the state of Iowa for the West Coast. On April 29, the tour resumes play in sunny San Diego, California with a $300,000 guaranteed Showdown Series at Sycuan Casino Resort. Two weeks later, the MSPT heads back east to Deadwood, South Dakota for the $100,000 guaranteed South Dakota State Championship.
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