Luke Bohnen Returns from Three-Year Hiatus to Win MSPT Running Aces for $86,440

Luke Bohnen is proof that taking a break from poker can sometimes be the best way to improve your game.

After taking a three-year break from poker, the Minnesotan decided to get back in the game as 2016 wrapped up. Two months later, he’s shipped a major title and the biggest score of his career. It was about as good a comeback as the  27-year-old Bohnen could have hoped for this past weekend.

Luke Bohnen kicked off three years of rust to win the MSPT Running Aces for the largest score of his career. (Image: MSPT)

The controls engineer from Blaine, Minnesota topped a field of 358 entrants to win the Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) Running Aces Main Event for $86,440.

Nice Work If You Can Get It

From 2012-13, poker was all Bohnen did. He had some small results, but nothing over four figures. And then his dad told him that he needed to get a real job.

“I sort of faded from poker,” Bohnen told MSPT officials after the win. “Last Christmas, I decided to starting playing again and had a lot of luck right out of the gate. This is my biggest win by far, but it’s still back to work tomorrow.”

Bohnen chalked his win up to “a lot of luck” and “getting good cards,” but that wasn’t exactly the case. He finished as the Day 1B chip leader, steadily chipped up on Day 2, and went wire-to-wire at the final table, where he defeated accomplished pro Rob Wazwaz, who was at his seventh MSPT final table, during heads-up play.

Bohnen took a near 5:1 chip lead into heads-up play against Wazwaz, who finished 17th in December’s WPT Five Diamond Main Event. In the final hand of the tournament, Wazwaz flopped an open-ended straight draw with nine-seven and got it in against Bohnen’s pocket nines. The straight never got there, and Wazwaz had to settle for runner-up and a $51,864 consolation prize.

“I’ll do my best to not be super responsible,” Bohnen said when asked what he’ll do with the money. “I’ll get something fun at least.”

Final Table Results

1 Luke Bohnen (Blaine, MN) $86,440
2 Rob Wazwaz (Minneapolis, MN) $51,864
3 Nikki Nelson (Dayton, MN) $33,642
4 Joe Barnard (St. Paul, MN) $23,512
5 Jason Bender (Keota, IA) $17,634
6 Thai Dinh (Duluth, MN) $13,830
7 Scott Delong (Invergrove Heights, MN) $11,756
8 Aaron Hintz (Ames, IA) $9,681
9 Mark Reid (Canton, IA) $8,301
10 Ron Olson (St. Cloud, MN) $6,569

Kirby and Dresch Extend MSPT Record

Day 2 saw 64 players return to action, but only 36 of them would get paid. Two players that managed to make the money were two-time MSPT champs Matt Kirby (26th for $2,766) and Jeremy Dresch (24th for $2,766).

By cashing, Kirby and Dresch, the latter of whom won the Running Aces last fall, notched their first cashes of Season 8, which meant their streak of cashing every season of the MSPT continues. Kou Vang, Dan “DQ” Hendrickson, and Joe Matheson all have a chance to equal the feat, but they’ll need to cash sometime this season to keep their streak alive.

Some other players to cash in the tournament were MSPT Pro Blake Bohn (35th for $2,178), reigning Player of the Year Rich Alsup (34th for $2,178), and MSPT Canterbury Park champ Jon Kim (33rd for $2,178).

Season 8 of the MSPT continues this coming weekend with a $350 Regional Event at Tropicana Evansville in Southern Indiana. The next MSPT Main Event, which will be the tour’s 100th, will take place March 24-26 at Meskwaki Casino in Tama, Iowa.

Editor’s Note: CardsChat and MSPT share a cross-promotional alliance. Chad Holloway is Media Director for the MSPT.

Chad Holloway
Written by
Chad Holloway
Splitting his time between his native Wisconsin and Las Vegas, Chad Holloway gave up a potential law career to follow his passion and play and write about poker. His background includes a long stint as a senior writer for a major poker news site. Long well-known throughout the poker community for his incisive and in-depth commentary and reporting, we are proud to have Chad on board as part of our CardsChat writing team, where he will be covering everything from the World Series of Poker to interviews, features, and more.

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