MSPT Grand Falls Main Event keeps attendance up despite Delta variant

Jon Pill
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Posted on: August 24, 2021 9:36 pm EDT

The Mid-States Poker Tour event in Grand Falls had an impressive turnout despite fears about COVID-19’s latest twist, the Delta variant.

January’s MSPT event at Grand Falls managed to gather 488 entries. This week’s edition managed to beat that with 532 folks putting down $1,100 to buy-in. The two numbers aren’t totally comparable. In January, coronavirus was peaking as the Trump administration opened the country up, seemingly out of spite at losing the election.

The ultimate winner was Nicholas “grizpoker” Smith, who triumphed over Kenneth Johnson heads up. The pair got their stacks in pre-flop with Smith having the better end of an A♣T v. A6 match up. The board was of no help to Johnson ending things there. Johnson made $67,971 for his second-place finish.

“I’ve been playing poker for a very long time. This was my first time playing in a big buy-in event,” Smith said in his post-game interview. “After tonight I definitely plan on playing a lot more.”

Action in Grand Falls

Smith’s journey to the final table was quite a ride. He had to apply a degen’s grit to push through and become the MSPT Grand Falls champion.

“It’s an amazing feeling”, Smith said. “I’ve worked for this for years. All I want to do is play poker. I left home at 4:00 in the morning. Played the Thursday night satellite. Won that. Sold the ticket. Then I played the Friday morning satellite and won that as well, busting my first bullet. Then I rebought on Day 1A.”

Once through the Day 1s, things were a little smoother for him and he found his rhythm. 73 players made it through to Day 2. It took twelve hours of play for 72 of them to go bust.

Only 54 players were paid so a good number of those had played for nothing. Of those who survived to see the money, none are as enthusiastic about the game as Smith.

“I love this game and this is what I’m made to do, it’s all I want to do,” Smith said. Of course he feels that way after turning over an 11,000% ROI in three days. We’ll check in again after he’s hit a three-month downswing under a positive EV line.

The next MSPT event is at the Venetian starting on September 4. No doubt we will be seeing Smith there.

MSPT Grand Falls Main Event complete final table results

PositionPlayer NameHometownPayout
1stNicholas “grizpoker” SmithFishers, IN$110,633
2ndKenneth Johnson$67,971
3rdLarry WagnerMiddleton, WI$48,984
4thGraham BeynonSioux Falls, SD$37,047
5thTyler KolnessHendrum, MN$27,785
6thJoe OsterbauerMinneapolis, MN$21,096
7thJason CrewsClive, IA$16,465
8thTaylor HowardAltoona, IA$12,864
9thSaad GhanemBloomington, MN$9,776

Featured image source: Flickr by Stephen Velasco