After spending two weeks in sweltering Melbourne working the 2014 Aussie Millions, I returned home to the bitter cold of Wisconsin. A day later I was in my car making the nearly four-hour trek to Columbus, Minnesota for the first stop of the fifth season of the Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) at Running Aces Harness Park.
The tournament featured two starting flights, but given my schedule I was only able to make it up there for Day 1b. The reason for the trip was twofold. First, I was going to make sure everything was going smoothly for Mo Nuwwarah, the PokerNews reporter onsite to live report the MSPT for the very first time. He did a fine job with the live blog, and I can’t wait to read updates from the MSPT throughout Season 5. Second, I was going to play the $1,100 Main Event.
Back in November I finished fifth in the MSPT Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells Main Event for $14,718 — an experience which I wrote about here — so I was rather excited to play my first event of the new season. I had high hopes of making another deep run, but alas things didn’t go according to plan.
I spent the first five hours or so below the starting stack and as card dead as could be. I picked up ace-jack a couple times, big slick once, and pocket threes, but other than that I consistently looked down at crappy cards.
I’d occasionally see flops with hands like , , and , but each time it’d be a big swing and a miss as the flop would come up the opposite of what I was looking for. The cost of seeing those flops added up, and before long I had less than half the 20,000 starting stack and the blinds were on the rise.
I managed a double by flopping a straight with , but I failed to maintain momentum and quickly dropped back down to a short stack. Despite not picking up any hands, I was surviving as other players were dropping like flies. I then managed another double when I defended my big blind with and caught a flop of . Soon after it seemed like my luck was turning around as I looked down at the biggest hand I’d seen in hours.
It happened in Level 8 (600/1,200/100). A player had opened for 2,500 from early position and I moved all in for approximately 18,000 from the cutoff with . I had a tight image and was confident I was going to swipe the chips in the pot.
Much to my dismay, the small blind, who barely had me covered, moved all in over the top. The big blind and original raiser both folded, and I discovered the bad news as my opponent tabled . I was in desperate need or either an ace or some diamonds, but I came up empty as the board ran out all black and jack-high.
I got up from the table, collected my things, and then headed over to inform Mo of the bad news. The whole time I had a hard time shaking the feeling that I had been robbed. I finally found a big hand, and it was supposed to be my time to get back into the game. Instead I ran it straight into kings. How was the small blind so lucky to wake up with an even bigger hand? How dare he? Then I didn’t even get lucky... c’mon!
Eventually the turbulent waters in my mind settled and I repeated the same manta I’ve both said and heard hundreds of times — “That’s poker.”
I live report similar hands at every stop I cover, so it’s foolish to get upset when I experience such a hand while playing. It won’t be the last time I run a big hand into one better, and it’ll eventually balance out when I’m the one who wakes up with the big hand. It’s simply variance.
To see who won the MSPT Running Aces, check out a full recap of the action on PokerNews.
While I wish my first event of the MSPT Season 5 had gotten off to a more fruitful start, I am excited to play more stops as the year wears on. The MSPT is a growing tour with great value, and I’m determined to earn some more five-figure scores. If you get a chance to play the MSPT, I highly recommend you give it a shot. I’ll see you on the felt.
Here’s a look at the remaining MSPT schedule for 2014:
|Feb. 15-23, 2014||Belle of Baton Rouge Casino||Baton Rouge, Louisiana||$100K|
|Mar. 1-9, 2014||Majestic Star Casino||Gary, Indiana||$200K|
|Mar. 7-17, 2014||Golden Gates Casino||Blackhawk, Colorado||$200K|
|Mar. 15-23, 2014||Ho-Chunk Gaming WI Dells||Baraboo, WI||$200K|
|Mar. 29-Apr. 6, 2014||Meskwaki Casino||Tama, Iowa||$300K|
|Apr. 19-27, 2014||Canterbury Park||Shakopee, Minnesota||$200K|
|May 10-18, 2014||FireKeepers Casino||Battle Creek, Michigan||$200K|
|July 19-27, 2014||Meskwaki Casino||Tama, Iowa||$300K|
|Aug. 9-17, 2014||Grand Falls Casino||Sioux Falls, South Dakota||$150K|
|Aug. 16-24, 2014||Majestic Star Casino||Gary, Indiana||$200K|
|Aug. 23-31, 2014||Belle of Baton Rouge Casino||Baton Rouge, Louisiana||$100K|
|Aug. 30-Sep. 7, 2014||TBA||TBA||$200K|
|Sep. 13-21, 2014||Running Aces Harness Park||Columbus, MN||$200K|
|Sep. 20-28, 2014||Ho-Chunk Gaming WI Dells||Baraboo, WI||$200K|
|Oct. 11-18, 2014||FireKeepers Casino||Battle Creek, Michigan||$200K|
|Nov. 1-9, 2014||Meskwaki Casino||Tama, Iowa||$300K|
|Nov. 7-17, 2014||Golden Gates Casino||Blackhawk, Colorado||$200K|
|Dec. 6-14, 2014||Canterbury Park||Shakopee, Minnesota||$200K|