Shooting Star Casino in Mahnomen, MN was buzzing with league players this last weekend, Saturday May 5th, where hundreds of qualifiers from around Minnesota gathered to compete for trips to Las Vegas and a chance to compete in the “Vegas or Bust” national championship. The state championship tourney began at noon and additional freeroll opportunities for busted players and spectators.
As the largest region of the Free Poker League, Minnesotans played down to 16 qualifiers, with the top 8 winning airfare and hotel packages. This was the largest ever Minnesota State Championship for the league.
The action was aggressive the whole day, over one dozen players were eliminated in the first hour. The players knew that to go through a big field they would need a little luck on their side. They were half way through the field by dinner break, a reigning Poker Pro champion Matt Neuman from Willmar was the chip leader with 90,500.
While grinding to the end, Gloria Millsop from Warroad was the chip leader until she took a couple of big hits. It started with Gina Arvis from Fergus Falls holding K-10 when she ran into Gloria’s pocket kings. Luckily for Gina she got a 10 on the flop and a 10 on the turn to steal the pot and make her way to the end. Not much longer Cindy Schroeder from Moorhead doubled up through Gloria when her nut straight won against Gloria’s second nut straight. This gave Cindy the chip lead and close to a million in chips.
While all this action was going on the freeroll second chance tournament was starting up. As a bonus to the biggest state of participation the winner of the freeroll was given a Vegas or Bust National Championship seat. In all there were over 170 players that stuck around to play in the freeroll giving them a second chance to make it to Vegas and participate in the National Championship.
When they arrived at two tables in the main game there was not much of a lull in the action with so much on the line. The players stayed aggressive and when they hit the final 16 the new Minnesota winners were very excited!!! After all the hoopla our 16 Minnesota qualifiers for the Vegas or Bust National Championship are:
Jessica Braton*: Barnesville VFW
Dusty Schroeder*: Dawns Corner Bar, Dundas
Nels Peterson*: Ultimate Sports Bar, Waite Park
Gloria Millsop*: Springsteel Resort, Warroad
Cindy Schroeder*: Courtney’s Comedy Club, Moorhead
Tom Brimhall*: Mabel Murphy’s, Fergus Falls
Scott Goodman*: Billy’s Corner Bar, Vergas
John Lossing*: Vermillion Club, Vermillion
Justin Hron: Taconite American Legion, Taconite
Sarah Musker: Hunters Inn, East Bethel
Gina Arvis: Z103, Fergus Falls
Joel Smith: New York Mills VFW
Tim Stockwell: New York Mills VFW
Dwayne Hines: Barnesville VFW
Phillip Fueher: Erick’s Bar, St. Paul
Marvin Hemming: Long Pines Bar, Bertha
(*denotes won airfare allowance & hotel stay)
While the main tournament was wrapping up and all 16 new winners were starting to celebrate the side game was coming to a close. Long time supporter of the league and bar owner of the Patch Restaurant Peter Konig took down a huge freeroll to earn his spot in the National Championship.