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The $5,000 buy-in, $1 million guarantee Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT), held at the Venetian in Las Vegas, was witness to the biggest buy-in event till date along with the first-ever big blind ante tournament in the history of MSPT. The event attracted a total of 178 entrants leading to a slight overlay. To add to this excitement was the heads-up play between the poker power couple Alex Foxen and Kristen Bicknell (cover image).
In the end Foxen came out the winner (following a heads-up deal), besting his girlfriend and partypoker sponsored pro Bicknell to win the top prize of $239,000. Foxen, who has total live earnings of $4,317,022, is ranked 5th on the Global Poker Index (GPI). Bicknell, on the other hand, is ranked 27th on the GPI and has total live earnings of $2,092,118 as well as two World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets to her name.
The real-life couple had no ill-feelings competing against each other and took the heads-up in the true spirit of sportsmanship as evidenced by the tweets they shared.
— Kristen Bicknell (@krissyb24poker) June 17, 2018
— Alex Foxen (@WAFoxen) June 18, 2018
Our first final table of the summer went well! This guy is the absolute best ðŸ˜ðŸ˜‰. Thanks for all the support and nice messages everyone pic.twitter.com/h8K1WjqIm9
— Kristen Bicknell (@krissyb24poker) June 18, 2018
Regarding playing against each other in tournaments, Foxen said “It’s a running thing when we’re in a tournament. We’ve had some strange circumstances in the past with tournaments where she’ll win something and I’ll do well too. At Bellagio, she won the $5K prelim and I finished second in the Main. In Macau, she won the high roller and I won the next tournament. There have been a lot of crazy coincidences.”
Bicknell stated, “He’s run so good against me it’s crazy. He has busted me in big spots in tournaments and now he’s beat me heads up.”
Final Day Recap
The playing field initially attracted 178 hopefuls, but Day 2 saw only 10 players coming back for the final table with the eventual champion Foxen (984,000) leading the chip counts, with Kahle Burns (769,000) and Blake Whittington in close pursuit.
The remainder of the final table included Kristen Bicknell, Joey Weissman, Pavel Plesuv, Jake Schindler, Phong “Turbo” Nguyen, Conor Beresford and David Malka.
Final Table Recap
David Malka was the first to depart in tenth place. He was put at risk with by Whittington holding pocket rockets. The flop gave Malka a pair of queens but the turn and river didn’t do him any favours besides confirming his elimination.
JakeSchindler’s luck ran out next. He moved all-in from big blind with and Kahle Burns called from from small blind holding . The board ran and Kahle took down the pot with his better flush busting Schindler in ninth place.
Soon thereafter, Conor Beresford jammed his remaining chips from middle position with , Phong “Turbo” Nguyen called with . The flop helped Nguyen clip a set of kings while Beresford was left drawing dead. The turn and the river only confirmed Beresford’s fate and he was sent to the rail in eighth place.
More than an hour later, Pavel Plesuv got busted in seventh place. From under-the-gun, Bicknell raised to 35,000 which was called by her partner Foxen, Whittington, Burns and Plesuv. The flop prompted Foxen to bet 75,000, Whittington called and Burns folded. Plesuv check-jammed for 260,000, causing Bicknell to fold while Foxen and Whittington called. With the remaining community cards and being revealed, all three players tabled their cards. Foxen hit a full house with his pocket kings and Whittington made a lower full house with . But it was Plesuv who had to depart.
Joey Weissman found himself hitting the rail in sixth place. With hole cards , Weissman locked horns with Foxen who was playing from the button with . The rundown was in Foxen’s favour as Weissman moved over to the cashier`s desk to collect his prize money.
Next up, Blake Whittington made his way to the rail in fifth place. Bicknell raised from hijack with pocket jacks, Whittington 3-bet from the button with and Bicknell called. The board was tabled. Without the queen, Whittington failed to hit the Broadway draw and had to leave in fifth place.
Phong “Turbo” Nguyen then shoved all-in from the button with , and received the call from Bicknell with . The board spread out missing both players and Nguyen was kicked out by Bicknell’s ace kicker.
Kahle Burns was removed from the felt by power couple’s powerplay. First up, Burns lost 285,000 chips against Foxen when the latter jammed from small blind with and received a call from Burns in big blind with . The rundown brought Foxen trip sevens and the pot. Burns then went head-to-head with Bicknell and jammed his remaining chip holding . Bicknell had and managed to clip a pair of deuces when the board fanned out , thus ending Burns deep run in third place.
With the heads-up play pitching Kristen Bicknell against her partner Alex Foxen, the couple decided to opt for a chop ensuring that each player received $200,000 with only $39,000 left to play for. The play continued into the late hours of Day 2. On the final hand, Bicknell only had 285,000 in chips remaining and went all-in with against Foxen’s . The runout gave Foxen a full house along with the title!
Alex Foxen and Kristen Bicknell
Final Table Results (USD)
1. Alex Foxen – $239,000*
2. Kristen Bicknell – $200,000*
3. Kahle Burns – $120,000
4. Phong “Turbo” Nguyen – $85,000
5. Blake Whittington – $65,000
6. Joey Weissman – $51,000
7. Pavel Plesuv – $51,000
8. Conor Beresford – $30,000
9. Jake Schindler – $24,000
10. David Malka – $19,000
*denotes heads-up deal