Japan’s Oya Wins MSPT Venetian Main Event

Masashi Oya signed off 2021 in style when the Japanese grinder won the MSPT Venetian Main Event for $161,780, his first-ever cash.

Japanese poker player Masashi Oya celebrated New Year’s Eve in style after taking down the MSPT Venetian Main Event for $161,780. The $1,100 buy-in MSPT Venetian Main Event drew in 851 entrants, but Oya left them all in his wake.

The 851 entrants bought in across a pair of Day 1s, but only 103 made it through to Day 2. This Day 2 took place on the eve of New Year’s Eve. Anyone padding their bankroll with a big score guaranteed themselves an amazing NYE celebration. The impressive turnout meant the MSPT Venetian paid out $821,216 instead of the advertised $500,000 guarantee.

Only the top 91 finishers won a slice of the pie, meaning 12 of the Day 2 players went home empty-handed. Germany’s Daniel Vehring was the first player to cash, his 91st place coming with $1,068 in prize money.

Big Names Cash in the MSPT Venetian Main Event

Plenty of established professional players made it into the money of the MSPT Venetian Main Event. They turned out in force for the last major live poker tournament of 2021.

Katie Lindsay, wife of British star Chris Moorman, finished 61st for $2,464. Shannon Shorr, a player with $9.3 million in live tournament cashes, busted in 32nd place for $3,285.

All eyes were on Taylor Howard, who had the chance to spoil the Player of the Year party. However, Howard came unstuck in 27th place for $3,860, which handed the title to Kyna England. A seventh-place or better finish would have seen Howard crowned the tour’s player of the year.

Ryan Laplante (24th – $4,599), Matthew Wantman (19th – $5,502), Nick Pupilo (18th – $6,734), and Jordan Cristos (14th – $8,459) also cashed.

Final Table Set

All nine players at the MSPT Venetian final table locked in five-figure sums, but the top two finishers won more than $100,000.

Frenchman Mohammed Bennane fell in ninth for $13,961, before Chris Paolino exited in eighth for $18,231.

Aaron Massey, by far the most experienced player at the table, finished in seventh. Massey collected $24,472, which took his life time winnings to an impressive $4,669,190. Sixth-place and $32,849 went to Californian Ron West. West has $756,987 in live poker tournament earnings as a result of this final table finish.

Fifth-place went to Thu Nguyen. Amazingly, Nguyen finished third in the MST Venetian run in September. That result awarded Nguyen $62,938. He made do with a $43,935 payday this time around.

Robbie Waz locked in the largest live cash of his career after his tournament ended abruptly in fourth-place. Waz, who hails from Minnesota, got his hands on $58,717.

Heads-up was set when Kelly Kielbasa bowed out in third-place for $78,262. Jerry Payne and Masashi Oya locked horns and butted heads one-one-one for the MSPT Venetian title and its top prize.

They neglected to strike a deal despite a $53,000 difference in the payouts. This meant Payne walked away with a consolation prize worth $108,154, leaving Oya to bank the $161,780 top prize, which is his first recorded live cash.

Place Player Prize
1 Masashi Oya $161,780
2 Jerry Payne $108,154
3 Kelly Kielbasa $78,262
4 Robbie Waz $58,717
5 Thu Nguyen $43,935
6 Ron West $32,849
7 Aaron Massey $24,472
8 Chris Paolino $18,231
9 Mohammed Bennane $13,961

England Crowned 2021 MSPT Player of the Year

Kyna England did not cash in the MSPT Venetian Main Event, but still won the tour’s Player of the Year award. England amassed 4,750 points during the season, some 692 more than Taylor Howard.

England enjoyed a stellar breakout year in 2021. She started the year with $21,000 in live cashes, mostly in small stakes games. However, England finished with more than $770,000 in cashes, thanks in part to a third-place finish in the WPT Venetian Main Event worth $448,755.

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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