MSPT Venetian flourishes, Bally’s Main Event Mania fizzles

Geoff Fisk
Published by:
Posted on 01/04/2021

MSPT event draws 1,000-plus players; Bally’s gets 57

A pair of highly-advertised live tournaments played out in Las Vegas over the weekend, with wildly varying turnouts for each.

Both the Mid States Poker Tour Venetian and the Bally’s Main Event Mania series ran main events to begin the new year. The latest chapter of the frequently occurring MSPT Venetian series drew 1,009 players for its $1,100 Main Event, which ran Jan. 1-3.

The Bally’s Main Event Mania series offered a $1,500 Main Event on those same dates. Coinciding with the completion of the 2020 World Series of Poker Main Event, the Bally’s tournament only garnered 57 entries.

The Bally’s event scheduled Day 1a and Day 1b flights for Jan. 1-2, with the advancing players from those flights intended to move on the Day 2 finale on Jan. 3. Day 1a turnout was so low, however, that tournament officials canceled the flight altogether.

That shifted the tournament from a four-day event to just two days. Tournament officials restructured the event to keep late registration open up to the start of Day 2, and by the cutoff time the event drew 57 entries and a total prize pool of $76,950.

Ben Craig emerged from the field to take down the win, coming away with the $25,834 first-place prize.

Bally’s Main Event Mania $1,500 Main Event final table results

PlacePlayer NamePrize
1Ben Craig$25,834
2Pete Dailey$15,964
3Lewis Robledo$10,467
4Viny Lima$7,195
5Terry Fleischer$5,196
6Mike Shin$3,954
7Daniel Sepiol$3,178
8Ryan Lenaghan$2,708

MSPT Venetian crushes the competing Bally’s Main Event Mania

Both Bally’s Main Event Mania and the MSPT Venetian tournament got major event treatment and advertising in the poker community. PokerNews sent live reporters to both tournaments, and the Bally’s event had a tie-in to the WSOP, as both WSOP and Bally’s are owned by Caesars Entertainment.

As noted by Hold’em Media founder Dan Ross on Saturday, however, Las Vegas players chose the Venetian event over the Bally’s tournament by an eye-opening margin:

“Vegas 4-figure tourneys at a glance right now,” Ross started the tweet. “Venetian with 255 entries so far – more than two dozen alternates seated – for a $1,100.”

“Bally’s with 16 entries so far for a $1,500.”

That disparity only became wider as each tournament progressed. The MSPT Venetian Main Event took 1,009 entries, with a total prize pool of $978,730.

MSPT Venetian $1,100 Main Event final table results

PlacePlayer NamePrize
1James Carroll$180,850
2William Chao$135,277
3Daniel Jones$84,171
4Daniel Sammarco$57,745
5Bill Lewis$38,170
6Veselin Dimitrov$28,383
7Justin Ligeru$21,532
8Monty Ford$15,660

James Carrol kicks off 2021 with six-figure win

Live tournament specialist James Carroll appears poised to pick up where he left off after a stellar 2019 and a lack of live poker opportunities due to COVID-19 in 2020.

Carroll came away with the MSPT Venetian $1,100 Main Event win, clinching the victory in the early hours of Monday morning. Carroll outdueled heads-up opponent William Chao (2nd – $135,277) to secure the tournament win.

Other top finishers included Daniel Jones (3rd – $84,171), Daniel Sammarco ($57,745), and Bill Lewis (5th – $38,170).