MSPT Venetian Main Event goes to Korey Payne

Poker writer Geoff Fisk profile photo
Geoff Fisk
Posted on: November 24, 2020 13:51 PST

Payne takes $327,773 winner's prize as major tournament wraps up in Las Vegas

The second of two weekends of major tournament action in Las Vegas concluded with more than $327k going to the winner. Korey Payne took down the MSPT Venetian $1,600 Main Event in the early hours of Tuesday morning, securing a $327,773 payday.

The Venetian poker room has stood center stage in the live tournament poker realm over the last two weeks, with MSPT Main Events on consecutive weekends emanating from the Las Vegas Strip venue. The MSPT Venetian $1,600 Main Event played out over five days, with the final day of the live tournament kicking off Monday afternoon.

Payne began the day as one of 63 players still in contention for the title. Once that field whittled down to the eight-handed final table, Payne held the second-biggest chip stack (83 big blinds) and only looked up at Salim Admon (157 big blinds) in the chip counts among the final eight players.

The heads-up battle for the title came down to Payne and Admon (2nd - $219,699), and by that stage of the tournament, Payne held a nearly six-to-one chip lead over his final opponent. Payne managed to close the deal from there, collecting the big payday as a month of big tournament action at the Venetian came to a close.

Other top finishers

The massive heads-up chip advantage for Payne was set up up by Payne outsing Martin Zamani (3rd - $148,829) in third place. All of Zamani's chips went to Payne in a span of two hands, with Zamani caught bluffing in both spots.

Randy Froelich (4th - $100,991) was the first Main Event player eliminated on the six-figure portion of the payout ladder. Froelich hit the rail just minutes after Satoshi Tanaka (5th - $65,555), with Froelich earning the pay jump after Tanaka's elimination.

The final table finishing order rounded out with David Poces (6th - $49,610), Jorden Helstern (7th - $ 37,207), and Dale Eberle (8th - $28,343). The MSPT Venetian $1,600 Main Event drew 1,239 total entries, which produced a $1,771,770 prize pool.

Other notable names finishing in the money on the final day included Ralph Massey (31st - $9,390), Jeremy Pekarek (42nd - $6,556), Todd Sladek (55th - $6,024), and Bryant Miller (58th - $5,670).

Big turnouts for live tournaments at the Venetian

The COVID-19 era presents never before seen challenges for live poker rooms. The Venetian poker room has been at the forefront of the effort to produce a live poker scene that somewhat resembles pre-pandemic levels.

The Strip poker room was the first Las Vegas venue to get approval from the Nevada Gaming Control Board to run eight-handed cash games, doing so in August.

Following up on that, the Venetian brought large-field live tournament poker back to Las Vegas with the in-house DeepStack Showdown series running at various times in September and October. Some events from the DeepStack Showdown drew upward of 1,500 entries, as live tournament players expressed a keen interest in returning to action despite the uncertainty of COVID-19.

The MSPT and the Venetian operate as long-running partners, with the tour making multiple stops to the Strip property every year. Payne's Main Event win marked the second of two consecutive weekends of big attendance for MSPT Venetian events.

The Venetian poker room hosted a $1,100 MSPT Main Event on the previous weekend. That tournament drew 1,123 total entries, with Landon Tice taking the win for a $201,529 payday.

Featured image source: Twitter