This past weekend at the Shooting Star Casino in Mahnomen, MN, six Minnesota Poker League players won their way to the 2010 World Series of Poker! Each one will play in Event #54 while also competing in the FPN National Championship where the winner will be crowned the new National Champion and play in the $10,000 WSOP Main Event! The lucky winners (pictured front row left to right) were Tomi Hamilton from Trackside in Wadena,Nels Peterson from Ultimate Sports Bar in Waite Park, Jon Stern from 50 Lakes Bar in Emily, (back row left to right) Bill Long from Courtney’s Comedy Club & JC’s Corral in Moorhead and Dilworth, Jim Buchite from 50 Lakes Bar in Emily, and Kevin Rousser from the Whistle Stop Tavern in Lonsdale.
It certainly wasn’t an easy victory for any of the six winners, especially with a starting field of more than 200 players from all across Minnesota, not to mention the 11 past champions sprinkled in the mix. One extremley lucky player, Dale Umbriet from the Rusty Nail in Thief River Falls, was even dealt the grand supreme Royal Flush early in the day, only to go out within the next few hours of play. After nearly eight hours of hot and heavy (and sometimes downright aggravating) Texas Hold’em action, we were finally down to the final 10 players.
The lucky and skilled 10 players and their starting chips stacks at the final table were:
1. Bill Long — Courtney’s Comedy Club, Moorhead, and JC Corral, Dilworth — 674k
2. Kevin Rousser — the Whistle Stop Tavern, Lonsdale — 331k
3. Tomi Hamilton — Trackside, Wadena — 290k
4. Nels Peterson — Ultimate Sports Bar, Waite Park — 220k
5. Jon Stern — 50 Lakes Bar, Emily — 194k
6. Greg Buchite — 50 Lakes Bar, Emily — 139k
7. Kye Longtin — Louie’s, Shakopee — 121k
8. Robb Kjenstad — Route 65 Pub & Grub, East Bethel — 117k
9. Deno Torkelson — Spot Lite Bar, Hawley — 63k
10. Jim Buchite — 50 Lakes Bar, Emily — 59k
At this point, there were a few notable stories about this group of players. Firstly, cousins Greg Buchite and Jim Buchite were both hoping to take home a prize package to become the first family winners in Minnesota Poker League history. But with Jim’s short stack it looked like it might be his cousin Greg who would take home the trophy for the family and win exclusive bragging rights. Secondly Tomi Hamilton from the Trackside in Wadena managed to make her way to this final table by winning Trackside’s Wild Card Night and making it through regionals. She’s a perfect example of how awesome and important playing in those Wild Card Nights can be! ThirdlyNels Peterson from the Ultimate Sports Bar in Waite Park was looking to pick up his second Minnesota State Championship title to join the exclusive club of multiple winners.
When three-time state champion Clay Lipke, who went out just after the first break, started the final table action as a “guest dealer”, he had high hopes of “transferring” some of his luck and skill to the group of players looking to win one of the six prizes. And with six of the 10 players enjoying their first final table action, it looked like some of them might need any help they could get. It didn’t take long however to lose our first three players Deno Torkelson, Greg Buchite and Kye Longtin. To kill the pain (especially Greg’s who lost his lead to cousin Jim who was down from the start), we sent them off with some hot FPN gear and dreams of making it this far again during our next promotion Gold Rush 2.
Now down to the final seven, each player was at the edge of their seats to see how the final action would play out. And before we knew it we were in the midst of the final hand. Early positioned Robb Kjenstad of Route 65 Pub and Grub in East Bethel went all-in pre-flop with suited A-4, only to be called by Nels Peterson’s pocket 5s. With Kevin Rousser and Bill Long left to act, Nels’stare down seem to urge them to call and go three against one to end it. But both folded leaving it on Nels to become–or take down–the bubble. Luckily for Nels, his 5s held up and the next Minnesota State Champions were crowned! Congratulations to Tomi, Nels, Jon, Bill, Jim and Kevin our new champions! And thanks to all of you who came out for this memorable event!