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JohnnyGstaks wins USACOOP Main Event, $140,743

Chalk up another huge online score for a Minnesota grinder.

‘JohnnyGstaks’, from St. Paul, took down the PokerStars $530 buy-in United States Championship of Online Poker on Monday night, outlasting a field of 1,650 players for a $140,743 payday.

1. trainwrecks – $140,743 (JohnnyGstaks)
2. JohnFR – $108,294 (JohnFR)
3. dreedog – $125,013
4. TheTaker – $67,000
5. gboro780 – $47,500 (gboro780)
6. ChAtBan – $37,500 (ChAtBan)
7. schnizeltoe – $27,500
8. Baeras – $17,500
9. 10IsTheYear – $10,000

Here’s a write-up from

In the Main Event of the inaugural PokerStars USA Championship of Online Poker, or USA COOP, 1,650 players bought into a $530 No Limit Hold’em contest. A hefty $175,000 overlay was up for grabs in the $1 million guaranteed tournament and, when the smoke cleared, Minnesota’s JohnnyGstaks (pictured) walked away with the win following a three-way chop. He also banked $140,000, his largest cash tracked for the Online Poker Rankings
by a wide margin. The two-day tournament, which began on Sunday, wrapped up at 4:00am ET early Tuesday morning.
This month, JohnnyGstaks finished second in the Full Tilt Poker $100 Rebuy for $21,000 and took fourth in the Absolute Poker $1K for another $17,000. Now, you can add a $140,000 cash infusion to his credit. All told, he’s piled up nearly $200,000 in Rankings-eligible tournaments this month alone and won an online poker Triple Crown
back in 2008.

MSPT Ustream broadcast numbers…

We decided to try something new at the Minnesota State Poker Tour event at Grand Casino Hinckley last week.

A live broadcast of the feature and final table via on and

The technology was rather primitive — two stationary web cams and a table mic — and the expectations for viewership were low. After all, how many people really want to sit and watch poker without hole cards on non-HD TV?

Well, more than 500 people tuned in for Sunday night’s final table broadcast when Matt Hyland took home just under $40,000.

Just under 1,000 people tuned in throughout the week, including the feature table broadcasts from the $250 qualifiers.

All in all, the Ustream coverage drew 1,896 total views, adding up to 889 hours and 44 minutes of viewing.

Not bad.

As for the folks who have/had suggestions on how to improve the broadcast quality, don’t worry. We are on it. But at the same time, we’re not talking about ESPN cameras here. We’re trying to keep it simple.

Thanks for tuning in.


Play is heads-up.  One player has A-K and the other player has A-J.  The flop is A-5-6.  A-K bets, and A-J calls.  The turn is a 10, and the same actions ensues.  The river is a Jack.  A-K bets again, and, of course, A-J raises.  A-K calls.  The man with A-J shows his hand, and the man with A-K, justifiably upset, broods and steams as he looks at his card.  A few seconds pass.  He continues to do nothing.  He takes one last look at his hand, lets another eight seconds pass until he finally angrily throws his cards in the muck.

What is this?  Why do we do this?  The hand is over, and although we took a terrible beat, staring at your cards with contempt will not regain you the pot.

I think, if nothing else, this maneuver speaks to how social we are as poker players.  We lost the pot, but we have a yearning to let everybody know just how unlucky we got.  “Look,” our hesitation seems to say, “I’m not bad, I got really unlucky.  See!”

I know there is frustration, and believe me, I understand the emotion.  It’s tough being 3-outed to lose the pot.  But the hesitation in releasing our losing hand has always been fascinating to me.  I find myself doing it from time to time, and I can’t necessarily pinpoint the reason.  Why do we Hollywood without cameras or an audience?

Matt Hyland wins MSPT Hinckley, $38,707

In September, 2009, Matt Hyland won the Heartland Poker Tour Mille Lacs event for $49,932.

Thirteen months later, he has added a Minnesota State Poker Tour championship to his resume — at Grand Casino Hinckley for a cash prize of $38,707.

Hyland outlasted a field of 139, as well as a stacked final table that included current MNPokerMag Player of the Year leader Everett Carlton and online stud Lance “kingpin023” Harris.

For a recap of the day’s events and big hands, check the MNPokerMag Twitter log.

See the photo gallery below as well.

Final Results:

MSPT Hinckley – $1,100 buy-in
November 27-28, 2010 – 139 entrants
1Matt Hyland$  38,707
2Shawn Aaberg$  19,086
3Franco Cupello$  12,012
4Lance Harris$    9,343
5Yen Pham$    8,008
6Pete Bigelow$    6,006
7Marinela Selseth$    5,205
8Dmitri Soudakov$    4,538
9Everett Carlton$    3,737
10Kevin Davis$    3,070
11Bulut Ozturk$    2,669
12Kristin Lawson$    2,336
13Jeremy Dresch$    2,002
14Joe Big Bear$    1,668
15Samuel Lawerence$    1,468
16Hank Vejtruba$    1,335
17Babe O’Gorman$    1,335
18Paul Bigelow$    1,335
19Tom Stambaugh$    1,201
20Rob Westrom$    1,201
21Paul Schroeder$    1,201
22Joe Folz$    1,068
23Kye Longtin$    1,068
24Adam Dahlin$    1,068
25Jeremy Ensrud$       934
26Steven Peppin$       934
27Reg Powell$       934

MSPT Hinckley Day 1 concludes; Updated chip leaders

The Minnesota State Poker Tour $1K Main Event Day 1 concluded just after midnight, and 54 players remain out of a starting field of 139.

Marinela Selseth currently leads the field by a wide margin with 145,100 chips.

Behind her (and still alive) are several notable players — Jeremy Dresch, Matt Hyland, Matt Kirby, Everett Carlton, Lance Harris, and others.

Play resumes at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. The winner will take home $38,707, and 27 players will be paid.

Chip leaders:

Top chip counts:
1Marinela Selseth145,100
2Yen Pham107,100
3Kristin Lawson89,600
4Matt Hyland89,300
5Kevin Devis82,500
6Joseph Folz81,000
7Reg Powell69,000
8Paul Bigelow65,800
9Jeremy Dresch56,500
10Kye Longtin56,000
11Dmitri Soudakov55,700
12Babe O’Gorman55,400
13Bulut Ozturk55,400
14Sam Hanson54,000

MSPT Grand Casino Hinckley Main Event Day 1 Live Update


MSPT Main Event Pay Structure is out. 

1st $38,707

2nd $19,086

3rd $12,012

4th $9,343

5th $8,008

6th $6,006

7th $5,205

8th $4,538

9th $3,737

10th $3,070

11th $2,669

12th $2,336

13th $2,002

14th $1,668

15th $1,468

16th-18th $1,335

19th-21st $1,201

22nd-24th $1,068

25th-27th $934

10:00pm  Currently we have 87 players remaining.  We are in round 6 with Blinds at $300/$600.  Our own Phil Mackey has just busted out.

9:00pm  Currently we have 103 players remaining.  The reining MSPT Champion from Jackpot Junction Ray “StingRay” Bendijo has busted out.  He was a short stack with pocket 8’s pushed all in with an instant call from two seats to his left, the player was holding pocket A’s.   Jeremy Dresch is the only remaining MSPT Champion left in the field. 

The MSPT Main Event Day 1 is off to a great start.  Grand Casino Hinckley is the first tour stop where the prize pool is a 100K Guaranteed.  There was a total of 139 entries.  We have our feature table playing live on Ustream. 

Here are some pictures of Day 1 of the MSPT Main Event at Hinckley:

MSPT Day 4 Photo Gallery

The Royal Oaks Poker Room at Grand Casino Hinckley has a full house — 104 players registered for the Friday night MSPT Main Event qualifier.

With the qualifier, SNGs and live game going there is action everywhere. Come on out and visit.

Here are some pictures of today’s SNG’s and Qualifier’s:

MSPT Ustream update

Update: We are having some off-and-on technical difficulties with Ustream, but keep checking back for a live broadcast sometime Friday night or Saturday morning. Thanks for your patience.

The Minnesota State Poker Tour live broadcast is back up and running here at Grand Casino Hinckley — Truman Show-style.

We will carry live broadcasts every day until the conclusion of the tournament on Sunday — including live coverage of the $1K Main Event final table.

Watch live:

Photo gallery: MSPT Thanksgiving edition

There is much to be thankful for in the past year for many poker players.  Minnesota Poker Magazine appreciates all of the loyal readers. We hope that you are enjoying your day of food and football.

Come visit us at Grand Casino Hinckley during this week’s Minnesota State Poker Tour event.

Here are some photos from today’s SNGs and qualifiers:

Las Vegas Observations 2.0

I was playing a no-limit hold’em game at Caesar’s Palace.  I was in the seven-seat, and directly to my left in the eight- and nine-seats was a married couple.  They were perhaps thirty years old and very friendly.  They were Russian, visiting Las Vegas for the first time, though it was clear this wasn’t the first time they’d played hold’em.  They knew what they were doing.

A tense hand came up involving two players in an aggressive betting-war on the turn.  I was not in the hand, and neither was either member of the Russian couple; however, the couple began speaking to one another about the hand, while sitting at the table, in Russian.  The dealer politely turned to them and said, “English only at the table please.”  The couple went silent.

As the game progressed, however, the two continued to speak to one another in Russian.  They even began doing this during hands in which they were engaged.  The conversation was harmless, I’m sure, but it still made me uncomfortable.  The dealer did not repeat his plea for rule-enforcement, and the Russian continued.

Generally speaking, it isn’t in my personality to do the dealer’s job for him.  I don’t like being a back-seat control freak.  But the discussion between the two made me a bit uneasy because, as I said, the couple was smart.  They could have been talking about the hand, gaining an advantage over the rest of the silent players.  To be clear, I don’t really believe this was the case.  But it made me think: Would I have been a total jerk-off to ask these people to quit it with the Russian?  I am perfectly within my rights as a poker player to do so, particularly if I believe I’m being taken advantage of.  But as a human, would I have been a total dick?

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