At each stop, the Mid-States Poker Tour offers $250 qualifiers in which the top 20 percent of the field win a seat into the $1,100 Main Event. That’s how Nathan Trenkamp came to play the MSPT Meskwaki over the weekend, and it turned into a life-changing score.
Battling the Big Boys
The first MSPT Meskwaki Main Event of Season 9 attracted 414 entries to Tama, Iowa. Among those to play were former Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson, stand-up comedian Jeff Grimes (AKA Bubba Kincaid), and poker reporter Mo Nuwwarah.
Another player in action was Trenkamp, who only plays poker twice a month and usually just weekly events. In fact, his best score had been a modest $1,600 for winning a weekend $100 buy-in tournament at his local casino. That changed on Sunday when Trenkamp, who was playing his fourth MSPT event but notching his first cash, found himself at the MSPT Meskwaki final table competing for big money.
Trenkamp began the final table in the middle of the pack chip-wise and had to contend with some accomplished MSPT players including Ken Komberec and Blake Bohn.
Komberec, who won the MSPT Meskwaki in Season 7, busted first after running queens into Powell’s queens, and then Trenkamp dealt a big blow to Bohn, a two-time MSPT champ and Minnesota Poker Hall of Famer during five-handed play. It happened when Trenkamp three-bet all in with ace-nine suited and won a flip against Bohn’s pocket sevens.
Bohn busted shortly thereafter in fifth place for $22,004, which brought his lifetime earnings up to $2.7 million. That saw him leapfrog Poker Hall of Famer Lyle Berman on Minnesota’s all-time poker money list.
Trenkamp went on to battle Powell in heads-up play and claimed victory when the latter shoved holding the A♦8♣ and the former called with the A♥J♣. The board ran out 2♠5♣7♥A♠3♥ and Powell had to settle for second place and a $54,416 consolation prize.
“It hasn’t hit me yet,” Trenkamp said after the win. “This is incredibly awesome, way more than my previous win. I’m getting into real estate investment, so probably put some of th winnings in there. Maybe go on a vacation. Boring stuff.”
Pocket Rockets Crash and Burn
Day 2 saw 79 players (34 from 1A, 45 from 1B) return to action. The top 45 were slated to get paid, which meant 34 would leave empty-handed. They included former MSPT Meskwaki champ Andy Van Blair, Iowa cash game legend Dustin Dirksen, Day 1B chip leader Kanat Ozturk, and bubble boy Rob Wazwaz.
Once in the money, the bust outs came quick. Among those to cash but fall short of the final table were MSPT Season 8 Potawatomi Regional champ Craig Trost (42nd for $2,200), Day 1A chip leader Josh Reichard (40th for $2,200), MSPT Season 5 Meskwaki champ Jonathan Olson (29th for $2,400), 2016 MSPT Wisconsin State Poker champ Andy Rubinberg (20th for $3,761), Chip Leader Coaching member Brad Sailor (16th for $4,401), and John Rausch (11th for $6,401).
Rausch actually came up one spot shy of making back-to-back MSPT Meskwaki final table, and it took a bad beat to stop him. It happened in Level 23 (10,000/20,000/3,000) when Chad Ellis raised to 50,000 from the button with the Q♠Q♦ and Rausch, who finished fourth back in November when Max Havlish won, three-bet to 170,000 from the big blind with the A♦A♥.
Ellis responded by moving all in for 525,000 and Rausch, who barely had him covered, made the call. Unfortunately for Rausch, the flop fell Q♣3♥2♦ and Ellis spiked a set. Neither the J♠ turn nor 2♠ river helped Rausch and he was left with crumbs before busting tow hands later.
Season 9 of the MSPT continues March 31 through April 8 at Potawatomi Casino in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The $1,100 buy-in, $300K GTD Main Event will take place the weekend of April 6-8.
Final Table Results
1 Nathan Trenkamp (Grand Mound, IA) $88,018
2 Reg Powell (Elk River, MN) $54,416
3 Yanni “John” Orfanos (Park Ridge, IL) $39,608
4 Shem Yusuf (Kansas City, MO) $29,206
5 Blake Bohn (Eden Prairie, MN) $22,004
6 Steven Pike (Madison, WI) $16,803
7 Theo Lee (Des Moines, IA) $13,203
8 Chad Ellis (Lansing, MI) $10,402
9 Josh Smith (Bettendorf, IA) $7,602
10 Ken Komberec (Grafton, WI) $6,401
Editor’s Note: Cardschat and MSPT share a cross-promotional alliance. Chad Holloway is Media Director for MSPT.