Hayes wins Northern Lights poker tournament, $43K

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John Hayes of St. Paul, Minn., won the Mid-States Poker Tour at Northern Lights Casino in Walker, Minn., for $43,473. Hayes is no stranger to large cashes. Before Black Friday, he had accumulated more than $2.4 million in online cashes where he was mostly known as JohnnyGstaks. Hayes also has more than $220K in live tournament earnings and is formidable in cash games.

The event drew 160 runners for a $158,800 pool. Hayes came to the final table as chipleader, dispatching the rest of the table in record time, despite seven of the opponents having made it to an MSPT final table before. He eventually faced Reg Powell in a short heads-up match. This was Hayes’ second MSPT final table and fifth cash.

RUNNING ACES PRO: Running Aces Card Club in Columbus, Minn., has announced Erick Wright as ambassador and card-club pro. Wright of Shoreview, Minn., earned his first local championship title in 2011 when he won Running Aces Anniversary Tournament, a $1,100 buy-in event. He would go on to become the state’s top money earner in local tournaments for the year.

In 2012, Wright kicked off the year with a second-place finish in the MSPT event at Running Aces, earning $43,328. Wright was then named Minnesota Poker Magazine’s 2012 Player of the Year.

“We’ve considered teaming with a local player for some time,” said Tristan Wilberg, tournament director at Running Aces. “With his success, professionalism and ongoing public support of Running Aces Card Club, Erick Wright was the obvious choice for us.”

Wright has cashed in tournaments across Minnesota and Nevada, including the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, but earns most of his living playing poker at Running Aces.

“When Running Aces approached me about this opportunity several months ago, I knew it was something I wanted to do,” he said. “I believe they offer the best tournament structures and cash-game incentives that poker players could ask for, and that’s something I’m excited to help promote.”

— Email Minnesota Ambassador John Somsky at john.somsky@gmail.com.