Chris Smith is the MSPT Sycuan Casino Champion

Chris Smith won his second live event of 2021 when he triumphed over 518 opponents in the MSPT Sycuan Regional event for $33,149.

The ever-popular MSPT continued this weekend with a visit to the Sycuan Casino in San Diego. The regional event only cost $360 to enter, yet it paid its champion $33,149. Chris Smith is that champion after outlasting 518 opponents and claiming the lion’s share of the $155,700 prize pool.

Smith is a recreational poker player but one who has a talent for tournament poker. The California man won a $400 buy-in event at the Wynn Summer Classic for $16,203 in June 2021. He finished second in the $550 Ante Up Poker Tour Jamul in September 2019 for $14,000. Smith now has another five-figure haul, and it is the largest of his career.

Smith Crowned MSPT Sycuan Champion

Place Player Prize
1 Chris Smith $33,149
2 Dana Katzenmeier $20,370
3 Ricardo Mendoza $14,680
4 Luis Pedro $11,102
5 Matt Bradford $8,347
6 Jake Liebeskind $6,322
7 Tim Tang $4,934
8 Tai Reyes Purpero $3,855
9 Ewart Boyd $2,930

Some 519 players bought into the MSPT Sycuan Main Event and created a $155,700 prize pool. The top 54 finishers shared the pot, with a min-cash weighing in at $694. The Day 1A, 1B and 1C chip leaders all made it into the money place, but none navigated their way to the final table.

Pedro Prado (Day 1B) finished 27th for $1,033, Dantram Huynh (Day 1A) busted 20th for $1,403, and Alex Madriaga (Day 1C) crashed out in 15th for $1,815.

Smith reached the final table with 875,000 chips, the second-least of the nine finalists. It is fair to say he did not believe he would eventually walk away as the tournament’s champion.

Ewart Boyd busted in ninth shortly after the final table commenced. Boyd opened to 120,000 at the 25,000/50,000/50,000a level, and both Dana Katzenmeier and Smith called. Smith checked on the Ad-2s-Js flop, Boyd moved all-in, and only Katzenmeier called. It was Ac-Jd for Katzenmeier and As-Qh for Boyd. The 7d turn and 2c river reduced the player count by one.

Smith tripled up when his Qc-Qd held against the Ad-Jc of Tai Ryes Purpero and the Ac-Qh of Jake Liebeskind. It was now game on.

Payouts Grow Larger

Seventh-place and $4,934 went to Tim Tang, who got the last of his chips in with Kd-Qd on a 9s-8h-4s flop. Unfortunately for Tang, Matt Bradford held Qc-Qh and was going nowhere. No help appeared on the turn or river, and Tang busted.

Liebeskind headed for the cashier’s cage to collect the $6,322 sixth-place prize money. Smith min-raised to 160,000 from the hijack, Liebesking three-bet all-in for 830,000, and Luis Pedro called the all-in. Smith folded. Liebesking showed Ah-Th but Pedro held Ad-As. Pedro’s aces held.

Smith lost a few consecutive pots and became a short-stack again. He improved his position when he open-shoved for 12 big blinds with Kc-9c, and Bradford called off his ten big blinds with Qd-Td. Bradford spiked a ten on the flop of the Ts-5h-Ac-9s-9d board, but Smith hit trip nines.

Pedro can count himself unlucky to crash out in fourth for $11,102. He jammed all-in from the cutoff for 12 big blind with As-Kd, and Ricardo Mendoza re-shoved from the button with Ad-Jc. Pedro looked set to double his stack until a jack landed on the flop. Pedro caught a Broadway straight draw on the turn, but ultimately missed.

Mendoza Gets a Taste of His Own Medicine

Mendoza received a taste of his own medicine in a clash with the champion elect. With blinds at 100,000/150,000/150,000a, Mendoza opened to 425,000, Smith three-bet to 1,100,000 and called when Mendoza jammed for 3,300,000. Mendoza showed Ac-Ks and Smith the Kc-Js. A jack on the flop of the 5s-6s-Jc-3d-6h board sent the tournament heads-up.

Smith held a 7,950,000 to 5,025,000 lead over Katzenmeier going into heads-up. The latter never caught up. The final hand happened at the 100,000/200,000/20,000a level. Smith fired a bet on the turn of the Jd-3d-8h-5c board. Katzenmeier raised to 600,000, Smith made it 1,600,000, and Katzenmeier shoved. Smith called with 8d-5d for two pair and a flush draw. His opponent held Js-8s for top two pair. The 4d river gifted Smith a flush, and the victory.

Brad Johnson

You name the game, and you can bet your bottom dollar that Brad has either played it or placed a wager on it! Brad calls himself a natural gambler, and someone who gains as much enjoyment from writing about the crazy game of poker as he does playing it.


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