Kirby dominates Northern Lights poker event

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Matt Kirby of Bemidji, Minn., won $40,070 in the Mid-States Poker Tour main event May 5-20 at Northern Lights Casino in Walker, Minn. Kirby held the lead after Day 1A and arrived at the final table with half the chips in play.

He beat Mark Sandness of Minneapolis after about 45 minutes of heads-up action. This was Kirby’s second final table and fourth cash in MSPT events for earnings of $52,297. He thought he was going to miss the event because his first baby was due May 20, which was Day 2 of the main event. The birth of a healthy baby boy on April 23 allowed him to play and earn a chunk of change for diaper money.

Half of the final table had previous MSPT success with five final tables and 10 cashes spread among them. Lee Surma, winner of the MSPT event last year at Grand Casino, was one of the final-table competitors. Surma was attempting to become the first two-time MSPT winner. Also notable was 10th-place finisher Jeremy Ensrud, who has made every MSPT final table at Northern Lights.

Northern Lights Casino attracted 163 entrants for a prize pool of $156,903, the largest for an MSPT event there.

— John Somsky is the Ante Up Ambassador for Minnesota. You can email him at john.somsky@gmail.com.