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The 2018 Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) Season Nine Canterbury Park $500,000 GTD Main Event wrapped up on Sunday. Andy Rubinberg bested the 997-strong field to take down the largest major poker tournament in Minnesota for $179,776.
The series also saw Brandon Welter winning an eight-player Heads-up Flipout tournament that got him the coveted $30,000 Platinum Pass for the 2019 PokerStars Players NLHE Championship (PSPC).
On the sidelines, Aaron Johnson, who scored a 32nd place finish in the event to bank $4,163, snagged the MSPT Season Nine Player of the Year (POY) distinction.
This was Rubinberg’s second MSPT title and 11th MSPT Main Event score. He has earlier won the 2016 MSPT Wisconsin State Poker Championship for $120,808. “This is wonderful. Back in 2016 was my first big win, but this one confirms my game,” Rubinberg said, after the event got over.
“I’ve been working so hard, working with Chip Leader Coaching, studying, I felt so much more confident going into this final table and just feel I played so much better. Hard work pays off,” Rubinberg added.
Talking about the competition he faced, Rubinberg said, “This was a tough field, but aside from being such a big field a lot of big pros came. I knew if I could win this one it would mean something. Outside of Vegas, this might’ve been the toughest field ever.”
Day 2 of the event saw 148 survivors from the three starting flights coming together for the first time and it was an intense fight to make it in the money line. Almost a third of the field fell before the bubble as only the top 99 finishers posted a score in the event. Among those who departed empty-handed were 2015 MSPT Wisconsin State Poker champion Ben Wiora, Jeff Fielder and three-time MSPT champion Carl Carodenuto.
Larry Ormson went out on the money bubble.
MSPT Season 8 Player of the Year (PoY) Chris Meyers (15th for $11,354), MSPT Season 9 Canterbury Park champion Rob Wazwaz (19th for $7,759), Aaron Johnson (32nd for $4,163), Craig Trost (35th for $4,163), MSPT Meskwaki champion Taylor Howard (39th for $3,217), Day 1C chip leader Cherukuri Sandeep (43rd for $3,217), Day 1A chip leader Brad Berman (51st for $2,933), and Day 1B chip leader Rocco Crivello (73rd for $2,460) all finished in the money.
Following the elimination of Scott Velisek (11th for $13,247), the remaining 10 finalists were off for a short break before the ten-handed final table kicked off.
Jesse Rockowitz came into the final table with a stack of 5,400,000 followed by Andy Rubinberg (2,945,000) and Mike Schneider (2,395,000).
1.Jesse Rockowitz – 5,400,000
2. Andy Rubinberg 2,945,000
3. Mike Schneider – 2,395,000
4. Joel Klipping – 2,055,000
5. Ronnie Lamb – 1,650,000
6. Stuart Luhm – 1,380,000
7. Jovan Sudar – 1,150,000
8. Shawn Douglass – 1,040,000
9. Jason Bender – 775,000
10. Tom Sadowski – 730,000
Jason Bender was the first player to fall out of the final table after running his pocket fives into Joel Klipping’s aces. Following him out the door was Stuart Luhm, who collected a ninth place payout after his pocket kings were cracked by Jesse Rockowitz’s ace-nine.
Rockowitz then scored another knockout by running down Soccer coach Jovan Sudar in eighth place with his queen-ten making a straight on the board to coast ahead Sudar’s ace-nine.
Minnesota Poker Hall of Famer Mike Schneider went out next, in seventh place after losing two big hands to Ronnie Lamb.
Tom Sadowski hit the rail in sixth place after moving his short stack all in with queen-jack and failed to get there against Klipping’s ace-king.
Next to fall was poker dealer Shawn Douglass, who ran his ace-jack into Rubinberg’s ace-queen to bounce out in fifth place.
Rubinberg scored the next two eliminations as well. He first sent 2010 WSOP bracelet winner, Jesse Rockowitz to the rail in fourth place after his ace-three improved to two pairs on the flop and Rockowitz’ ace-queen just couldn`t match up. MSPT Season 6 Mahnomen Regional Event winner, Joel Klipping was Rubinberg’s next target. Klipping held pocket fours and moved all in, but was confronted by Rubinberg’s pocket eights, and went out in third place.
Eliminating Klipping gave Rubinberg a huge chip lead coming into the heads-up match with Ronnie Lamb. In the final hand, Rubinberg limped on the button with and Lamb, who held , checked his option to find the flop. Lamb checked and then moved all in for 1.9 Million, as Rubinberg bet 300,000. Rubinberg made the call. Though Lamb spiked a straight draw on the turn, he missed his outs on the river. Lamb had to settle for runner-up place while Rubinberg won the title.
Andy Rubinberg – Winner of 2018 MSPT Season 9 Canterbury Park Title
1.Andrew Rubinberg – $179,776
2. Ronnie Lamb – $110,704
3. Joel Klipping – $81,278
4. Jesse Rockowitz – $61,502
5. Shawn Douglass – $46,363
6. Tom Sadowski – $35,009
7. Mike Schneider – $27,440
8. Jovan Sudar – $21,762
9. Stuart Luhm – $17,037
10.Jason Bender – $13,247
The MSPT Canterbury Park saw a $30,000 valued Platinum Pass going to Brandon Welter. To give away the Platinum Pass, one name from a barrel was drawn every flight and the randomly picked players then participated in an eight-player heads-up Flipout tournament.
24-year old Welter, who works as an actuary for an Insurance company, was among the eight randomly picked players. He clashed with Joan Sandoval, former MSPT champions Dan Hendrickson and Mark Sandness, Royce Cannon, Jolene Jensen, Kevin “1sickdisease” Eyster and Eric Wasylenko and came out on top to win the Flipout.
“A couple come-from-behind wins. I was feeling pretty nervous. I just tried to stay cool. I’m super excited to go to the Bahamas. I’m sure I’ll get more and more nervous as it gets closer, ” an ecstatic Welter said, after pocketing the Platinum Pass.
Eventually, Welter defeated Hendrickson, Sandness and Sandoval in three flips respectively to win the pass. In the first round, he held pocket threes. In the second round, he rivered a queen to advance and finally, he hit a pair of sixes on a board that proved dominant against Sandoval who held an open-ended straight draw but bricked the board.
As the stop concluded, Aaron Johnson from Minnesota locked up the MSPT Season Nine Player of the Year (POY) title.
“It feels amazing. It’s surreal to have a year like this where you ship two Player of the Years on two different tours,” Johnson said. “Coming into 2018 I wanted to have a good year, but I would never have imagined I’d be in this situation right now. It really feels surreal and I hope it’s not a dream.”
To date, Johnson has $857,187 in lifetime earnings and his MSPT scorecard includes 28 Main Event cashes and six regional cashes, totaling $250,981.
This year, Johnson has reveled in live tournament success. His prominent scores include a runner-up in the April-held 2018 MSPT South Dakota State Poker Championship for $39,181. Prior to this, he had finished fourth in MSPT Canterbury Park for $34,183. He also won the MSPT Grand Falls Regional Event for $21,268. In August, he scored another runner-up finish at the MSPT Grand Falls for $33,834.