Ben Marsh Wins 2017 MSPT Main Event

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The MSPT Season Final $1,100 Main Event at Canterbury Park - Racetrack & Card Casino attracted a record 493 entries, which surpassed the spring event (475 entries) as the largest major poker tournament ($1K+ buy-in) in Minnesota history.

By the time the stop wrapped, 32-year-old poker pro Ben Marsh finished as the last player standing for $102,493 and his second MSPT title. Marsh, who way back in Season 2 won the MSPT Treasure Island for $40,071, became the ninth player in tour history to win multiple titles.

"I am feeling pretty great," said Marsh, who spends most of his time playing online. "I haven't played a ton of live poker this year and didn't have any luck when I did. This is only my second tournament since the WSOP in Las Vegas."

All told, Marsh now has four MSPT final tables, two wins and seven cashes totaling $189,438.

"The tour has grown so much," Marsh said when asked about the six-year gap between wins. "When I won the first time, first place was only $40K. Everyone involved with the tour has done a great job growing the events. Now they're tournaments that you can't miss. I think in general poker is a lot tougher these days."

Among those make the trip to the Minnesota venue were 2016 MSPT Michigan State Poker Champion Brett Blackwood, MSPT first-timer, poker Twitter legend Kevin "Kevmath" Mathers and Joe Matheson, who saw his streak of cashing every MSPT season come to an end when he fell on Day 1B.

Matheson's failure to cash in Season 8 means Kou Vang, Matt Kirby, Dan "DQ" Hendrickson and Jeremy Dresch are the only four players in the world to have cashes each and every season of the MSPT.

On just the third hand of the final table, James Huynh fell after getting his short stack all in preflop and failing to get there against Thomas Wu. Former champ David Gonia was next to go, but failed to hold against 2017 Minnesota State Poker Champ Jon Hanner, who rivered a flush.

Marsh then got his first elimination of the final table when he defended his big blind against Vlad Revniaga's short-stack shove in the small blind.

Norberto Santamaria followed him out the door in seventh place — the results of his failing to get there against Rob Wazwaz — and then Osama "Sammy" Aweida, the only player at the final table not from Minnesota, hit the rail when he ran into Marsh.

Brian Berthiaume exited when he ran pocket jacks into Wu's queens, and then Wazwaz fell shortly after losing most of his chips to Wu. Not long after, Marsh won a crucial flip against Wu.

Wu, the Day 1B chip leader, took his leave in third place after getting it in against Hanner after a runout.

Hanner and Marsh entered heads-up play near even in chips, but before long Marsh pulled out to a healthy lead. In the final hand of the tournament, which took place in Level 32 (80,000/160,000/20,000), Hanner raised to 330,000 and Marsh defended.

The flop saw Hanner continue for 300,000, Marsh called and the dealer burned. Marsh led out for 330,000 with trips, Hanner called, and the card fell on the river. Marsh moved all in and Hanner hesitantly called off his remaining 1.395 million.

"There are a lot of really good players in Minnesota, a lot of them at this final table," Marsh said after the win. "Jon Hanner is a great player, I just got some cards and things went my way."

Final table results

1. Ben Marsh (Duluth, Minnesota) $102,493

2. Jon Hanner (St. Paul, Minnesota) $62,973

3. Thomas Wu (Minneapolis, Minnesota) $45,383

4. Rob Wazwaz (Minneapolis, Minnesota) $34,323

5. Brian Berthiaume (Cottage Grove, Minnesota) $25,742

6. Sammy Aweida (Broomfield, Colorado) $19,545

7. Norberto Santamaria (Columbia Heights, Minnesota) $15,255

8. Vlad Revniaga (Burnsville, Minnesota) $11,918

9. David Gonia (White Bear Lake, Minnesota) $9,057

10. James Huynh (Brooklyn Park, Minnesota) $7,151 

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