Parenting duties almost cost Chance Kornuth his MSPT Venetian ME win

Jon Pill
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Posted on: June 15, 2021 8:33 pm EDT

Chance Kornuth won the Mid-Stakes Poker Tour $1,600 Main Event at the Venetian yesterday, winning himself $412,086 in the process. This is the second “Main Event” of the series after the $1,100 Main Event last week.

However, Kornuth almost didn’t play the event at all. He’s been tied up lately with launching his coaching business — Chip Leader Coaching — and with being a new dad. He was so busy with his parenting duties, that the MSPT event completely slipped his mind. In fact, he only remembered to register after one of his poker friends reminded him that the event was happening.

So he headed over to the Venetian to join the list of 2,011 players who ponied up the $1.6k buy-in. All in all, that made for a prize pool of $2,865,675. That is an impressive heap of cash for a sub-$5k event.

Chance Kornuth doesn’t have a lot of poker regrets. He’s got two World Series of Poker bracelets, one online and one live. He’s won high roller events at the European Poker Tour, World Poker Tour, and Aussie Millions.

Along the way he’s racked up $8 million in live tourney cashes, and who knows how much more online and in cash games. We do know that he sacked off just under three-quarters of a million to Phil Galfond in their heads-up challenge. And he owes another quarter-milly to Galfond on top of that as a side bet.

Final Table

The MSPT final table started well for Kornuth. He had a comfortable chip lead, with almost double the chips of his nearest competitor.

Kornuth’s biggest threat was Eric Baldwin (no relation to the acting dynasty). Baldwin has a pair of WSOP bracelets too, and had a decent stack to boot.

The heavy chip inequality meant there was a lot of short stacks right from the start. In quick succession they took their shots and fell away. Raman Afanasenka (9th), Bobby Po (8th), Brock Wilson (7th), and Ryan Torgersen (6th) hit the rail one-after-another. In the process, they tightened up the running order for the remaining five players.

Michael Zulker was next. First, his AxQx ran into AxKx. Then his QxJx ran into KxQx. Dominated both times and without the assistance of the board, Zulker (5th) went the way of the dinosaurs.

Nick Phoenix (4th) self-immolated shortly after. He had been right at the bottom of the chip leaderboard when the final table began. But he kept himself in the game with some lucky all-ins and canny blind stealing. In the end, he overplayed the middle pair and got caught by Kornuth’s two pair.

That left Kornuth, Baldwin, and Peter Braglia. Braglia has had some moderate success on the tourney circuit but has rarely closed the deal with just one first-place finish that is now over a decade old. In the end, it was the amateur who won out with Braglia knocking out Baldwin (3rd) to take on Kornuth heads-up.

Final Hand

The blinds were at 300,000/600,000 when the hammer fell. Kornuth raised to 1.4 million with pocket sevens. Braglia called.

The flop of 83♣7♣ gave Kornuth a set. Braglia checked, and Kornuth bet 1.1 million, hoping to catch any pairs and to make the club and straight draws pay to see the next card. Then Braglia raised to 3.4 million and Kornuth made it 9.7 million total. Braglia called the bet, making the pot around 23 million and leaving 12 million behind.

The turn was the 6, adding a backdoor flush draw and completing some of the possible straight draws. Braglia shoved. Kornuth called, and Braglia sheepishly turned over the Q3. His bottom pair didn’t improve on the river and Kornuth claimed the title.

Braglia received $282,269 for second place.

MSPT Venetian $1,600 Main Event final table results

PositionPlayer NamePayout
1stChance Kornuth$412,086
2ndPeter Braglia$282,269
3rdEric Baldwin$209,194
4thNick Phoenix$157,612
5thMichael Zulker$120,358
6thRyan Torgersen$93,134
7thBrock Wilson$71,642
8thBobby Po$55,881
9thRaman Afanasenka$44,991

Featured image source: Flickr by WPT