Rich Bai Takes Down 2017 MSPT Wisconsin State Poker Championship for $139,0862 years ago
Three previous final table appearances at the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee at the Mid States Poker Tour left Richard Bai devoid of a championship, but he wouldn't be denied on his fourth deep run as he claimed the title and $139,086 first place prize.
It was Potawatomi's first time hosting the Wisconsin State Poker Championship and it attracted 701 entries who bought in for $1,110 to create a $678,470 prize pool. That smashed the $200K guarantee and also broke the record to become Wisconsin's largest ever major poker tournament.
"Feeling great," Bai told MSPT officials after his well-deserved victory. "It’s nice to final table four times and finally win one. I’ve been running so good lately."
Indeed he has. Just last month Bai topped 139 entries at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana to win a WSOP Circuit ring and $38,919. His recent success in tournament action has prompted the Illinois native to vow to enter more MTTs and spend less time in the high stakes cash games that consumed much of his time previously.
A likely wise choice for the 29-year-old whose live tournament earnings now stand at $610,430.
A tough final table included MSPT champ Ahmed Taleb, who won the Main Event in South Dakota in August for $54,089. Also seated at the FT was Max Young, fresh off his WSOP Circuit victory at Harveys Lake Tahoe two weeks ago for $147,699.
But it was David Kowal who proved to be Bai's most difficult opponent. A fellow Illinoisan, Kowal held almost a 2-1 advantage in chips when heads-up play began.
Pocket aces came at a great time for Bai, who doubled up when the board failed to match Kowal's pocket jacks. Several hands later, Bai was slightly behind pre-flop with diamond-suited big slick while Kowal tabled pocket tens after his all-in shove was called.
Two diamonds appeared among the 7-8-6 flop, resulting in a flush draw for Bai to go along with his overcards. A nine of hearts on the turn gave Kowal a straight and hopes of scooping the huge pot if the river was any suit but diamonds.
The dealer burned and turned, revealing the 10d on fifth street, giving Bai the flush and the MSPT title. Kowal's runner-up finish was good for $84,809, the largest cash of his career by far.
$1,110 MSPT Main Event - Potawatomi - Final Table Results
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