This past weekend, the 2017 MSPT Indiana State Poker Championship drew 320 runners to Tropicana Evansville. After two long days of play, 32-year-old Satish Thakur, an IT programmer for the state of Michigan, emerged victorious to capture a $71,047 prize.
Thakur was railed by two friends at the final table, and while they were there to share the moment, the real celebration will occur this weekend when his wife visits from India.
“Feeling great, man, it’s a dream,” Thakur said after the win. “I drove all the way from Michigan. I play the MSPT a lot, especially at FireKeepers. I was really short at one point, [Big Al] had a huge chip stack, but patience paid off.”
Thakur was referring to his heads-up opponent, “Big” Al Hedin, who was less than a month removed from finishing sixth in the MSPT Iowa State Poker Championship. Hedin began heads-up play with a 3-to-1 chip lead over Thakur, but the duo ended up battling for nearly three hours.
During that time, the chip lead changed hands multiple times, and eventually Thakur pulled out to a big lead of his own. In what was the final hand of the 2017 MSPT Indiana State Poker Championship, which took place in Level 32 (80,000/160,000/20,000), a J♥9♠10♥ flop saw Hedin get his chips in holding J♠7♠ against J♣10♣ of Thakur. The 6♦ turn and 3♦ river failed to help Hedin and he had to settle for runner-up and a $43,864 consolation prize.
Meanwhile, it was the largest score of Thakur’s playing career, which has been comprised solely of MSPT events. He previously had three cashes on the tour, all at his home venue, FireKeepers Casino in Battle Creek, Michigan. His previous best cash was $19,944 for finishing eighth in the 2016 MSPT Michigan State Poker Championship.
Wild Six-Way Hand
With 65 players returning for Day 2 of the MSPT Indiana State Poker Championship and only 36 of them getting pair, 29 would leave empty handed, including both MSPT Season 6 Tropicana Evansville champ Mike O’Neill and MSPT Season 5 Tropicana Evansville champ Charlie Dawson.
Once Jay Baggett exited as the bubble boy, in-the-money finishes came quick and included World Series of Poker bracelet winner and MSPT champ Nick Jivkov (29th for $2,162), the last MSPT champ in the field Adam Thomas (27th for $2,255), last woman standing Patricia Till (23rd for $2,471), three-time World Series of Poker Circuit ring winner Bob Castoire (19th for $3,243), and Day 1B chip leader and final table bubble boy Kevin Brenner (11th for $5,220).
One of the more interesting hands of the entire tournament occurred early at the final table. It happened in Level 24 (12k/24k/4k) when satellite winner Ross Bryant looked down at A♣A♦ and raised to 55,000 from early position. He received four callers, including two holding pocket eights and nines, before five-time WSOP Circuit ring winner Kurt Jewell called from the big blind with 6♥6♠.
Then six players saw the flop: 6♣K♦6♦.
Jewell checked his flop quads. Bryant ended up betting 300,000 and then called when Jewell jammed for just a little bit more. Neither the 3♠ turn nor 2♦ river changed a thing and Jewell more than doubled up.
Bryant went on to finish eighth in the MSPT Indiana State Poker Championship while Jewell finished a couple spots better in sixth.
Season 8 of the MSPT continues next weekend with an $1,100 buy-in, $150,000 guaranteed Main Event at Grand Falls Casino just outside Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Final Table Results
1 Satish Thakur (Lansing, MI) $71,047
2 “Big” Al Hedin (Keystone, CO) $43,864
3 John Mingus (Louisville, KY) $31,817
4 Donnie Phan (Nahsville, TN) $23,476
5 Charles Payne (Westphalia, IN) $17,607
6 Kurt Jewell (Frankfort, Kentucky) $13,592
7 Craig Welko (St. Louis, MO) $10,503
8 Ross Bryant (Elkhart, IN) $8,340
9 Terrence Esparza (Evansville, IN) $6,456
10 Aaron Gamino (Murfreesboro, TN) $5,220