Rob Wazwaz made the final table of the very first MSPT event back in 2009. That tournament took place at Canterbury Park, and on Sunday night things came full circle. After making his record ninth final table, Wazwaz finally broke through to capture his first title at the same venue.
The second MSPT Season 9 $1,100 Main Event at Canterbury Park drew a record 526 entries making it both the largest MSPT ever held at the venue in 16 stops and largest major poker tournament ($1K+ buy-in) in state history.
Running Waz Pure
Fittingly, the title came down to the 40-year-old Rob Wazwaz and two-time MSPT champ Blake Bohn, two legends in the Minnesota poker community. Wazwaz had previously finished fourth in the same event back in December and took second in a Season 8 stop at Running Aces. Meanwhile, Bohn, who had two runner-up finishes in MSPT events on his poker résumé, was seeking his record-tying third MSPT title.
Heads-up play didn’t last long as Wazwaz began with a huge chip lead. In the final hand of the tournament, Wazwaz moved all in with the 2♣2♥ and Bohn called off with the K♠5♦. The board ran out J♣9♠8♣J♥7♠ and Bohn, already Minnesota’s all-time money leader, finished in second place for $67,203.
That brought Bohn’s MSPT lifetime earnings up to $373,270, second only to MSPT Venetian champ Nader Kakhmazov’s $395,888.
“He’s the best,” Wazwaz said of Bohn. “It was akin to defeating a great athlete. In all fairness, I caught way better cards than Blake … obviously I ran really hot.
I really tried hard to win this one because I couldn’t stand that I’d never won an MSPT, I just couldn’t stand it. I had to add it to my résumé, I felt it was incomplete, all the MSPT I had played without winning.”
He continued: “My favorite tournament I’ve ever won is this one right now, best honor ever. Being 0-8 on the MSPT, knowing I didn’t play the ones right back then, that I wasn’t as good back then. I should’ve done better.”
It was just the latest win for Wazwaz, who has nearly $1.3 million in lifetime earnings. Earlier this month, he won Running Aces’ Spring Poker Classic $500 Main Event for $32,268, and last May took down the HPT Chicago for $173,385.
Vang Closing in on Hall of Fame
Day 2 saw 94 players return to action, but only 54 of them got paid including former champ Jon Kim (11th for $7,631), UCCS Mountain Lion Poker Club member Justin Cole (26th for $3,408), and Kimo Sabe Mezcal MSPT Season 8 POY Chris Meyers (30th for $2,747).
Kou Vang (22nd for $3,917) notched his 24th MSPT cash in the tournament, which puts him just one away from becoming the first player inducted into the MSPT Hall of Fame. To be inducted, a player must obtain either “a minimum of 25 MSPT Main Event Cashes and 1 MSPT Win or 1 MSPT Player of the Year” or “a minimum of 10 MSPT Main Event Final Tables and 1 MSPT Win or 1 MSPT Player of the Year.” Vang won the MSPT Season 2 Canterbury Park for $64,645.
Beginning the final table as chip leader was 18-year-old Peyton Smith, a state chess and hockey champion who is still in high school. Peyton showed great promise but ultimately was downed by Wazwaz.
First, Smith bluffed two streets with ace-king against Wazwaz’s pocket kings, and then a short time later. Wazwaz then finished off Smith with the 5♦5♥ against A♥K♥. The board ran out Q♣7♠J♣9♦8♠ and Smith busted in third place for $48,430.
Season 9 of the MSPT continues this weekend with a $350 Regional Event at Grand Falls Casino, which is situated just outside Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Final Table Results
1 Rob Wazwaz (Minneapolis, MN) $109,375
2 Blake Bohn (Eden Prairie, MN) $67,203
3 Peyton Smith (Egan, MN) $48,430
4 Brian Zupancich (Silver Bay, MN) $36,628
5 Tom Stambaugh (Nevis, MN) $27,471
6 Robert Mitchell (Salt Lake City, UT) $20,858
7 Ryan Hartmann (Minneapolis, MN) $16,279
8 Barbara Sargent (Fort Worth, TX) $12,718
9 Vlad Tkachuk (Ukraine) $9,666
10 Rob Maier (Little Canada, MN) $7,631
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