Van Blair wins marathon poker finale, $88.9K

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The Mid-States Poker Tour made its second stop of the year in Iowa at the end of July, this time at Meskwaki Bingo Resort Casino. The main event resulted in a grind that became the longest running main event in MSPT history. When the long battle royal ended, Andy Van Blair of West Des Moines, Iowa, was king of the hill, earning $88,958 and a diamond bracelet.

The MSPT nearly broke a Meskwaki attendance record with 348 players. This was only one shy of the record set last year and easily passed the $300K guarantee.

The final table was regionally diverse with three players from Iowa, one from Nebraska, one from Kansas, one from Michigan and four from Minnesota. The lead swapped between several players and once it got four-handed, it was several hours before another player was eliminated. At about 2:30 a.m., the tournament was heads-up between Van Blair and Shane Fuller of Olathe, Kan. Just 10 hands later, Van Blair eliminated Fuller in an A-9 vs. A-4 showdown when Van Blair’s four paired. This sent Fuller to the pay window to collect $48,672.

The MSPT visited Grand Falls Casino in Northwest Iowa in August and then will return to Meskwaki at the end of October.

RIVERSIDE CASINO: To celebrate July 4, Riverside Casino and Gold Resort held the Stars and Stripes poker event on July 7. This had a $32,810 prize pool as 193 players competed for the top prize of $9,190. When the dealing was done, Dustin DenHartog found himself at the top of the standings, followed by runner-up Lance McCafferty, who won $5,905.

Riverside is a popular casino south of Iowa City with about a dozen tables. You can find regular Omaha as well as Texas Hold’em games and an active $2-$5 NLHE group.

On Oct. 6-13, it will have Iowa’s Fallout Poker Championship with a $100K guarantee. The main event will have a $1K buy-in. This is sure to bring out lot of good tournament as well as cash-game action so mark it on your calendar and book your room. Maybe you can get a piece of the bad-beat jackpot, which was up to $126K at press time. To see what’s going on daily, look for RiversideCasinoPokerRoom on Facebook.

MYSTIQUE CASINO: On Sept. 14, Mystique Casino will have the Team of Dreams tournament. This event will have one Major League Baseball player at each table and they will autograph their shirt for the player who knocks them out of the tournament. This event was nearly sold out, so check with the Mystique poker room if you are interested.

— Email Ken Warren at anteupken@gmail.com.