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Chad Bjorkman Wins Mid-States Poker Tour Grand Falls Main Event

The $1,100 Buy-In Event Drew 488 entries, With Bjorkman Earning $101,450 As The Eventual Champion


The 2021 Mid-States Poker Tour Grand Falls $1,100 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event saw 488 total entries made, blowing away the $200,000 guarantee to create a final prize pool of $471,860. In the end, the largest share of that money was awarded to eventual champion Chad Bjorkman, who emerged victorious with the trophy and the top prize of $101,450.

In addition to the title and the money, Bjorkman was also awarded 720 “Card Player Player of the Year": points. This big score was enough to propel Bjorkman up the leaderboard and into sixth place in the 2021 POY race, which is sponsored by Global Poker.

This event featured two starting flights that were held on Jan. 22 and 23, which attracted 231 and 257 entries, respectively. A total of 67 players survived to day 2, with 54 set to make the money and lock up at least a $2,123 payday in this event.

By the time the final table of nine players was set it was Cy Church who sat with the largest stack, with Bjorkman and Philip Gioia sitting in a tie for second place. Bjorkman closed the gap on the top spot somewhat by knocking out short stack Larry Loose in ninth place ($8,965).

Drazen Ilich was the next to fall, with his A-J running into the pocket kinds of Cory Nystrand. The pocket pair held up and Ilich was sent packing with $11,797 as the eighth-place finisher.

Despite starting the final table tied for second, Philip Gioia was the next to hit the rail. He got the last of his chips into the pot in a classic preflop race situation, with his pocket queens facing the A-K offsuit of Ha Nguyen. Gioia’s hand remained the best through the turn, but the KSpade Suit on the river gave Nguyen the winning hand and busted Gioia in seventh place ($15,100).

Nguyen lost doubled up Cory Nystrand to fall back toward the bottom of the leaderboard. Not long after that he got his last chips in with ADiamond SuitJDiamond Suit and found himself dominated by the AClub SuitQClub Suit of Cy Church. The best hand held up and Nguyen was awarded $19,346 for his sixth-place showing.

Anthony Scarborough’s run in this tournament came to an end thanks to a brutal preflop cooler. He got all-in with AClub SuitKClub Suit, only to get called by the ASpade SuitADiamond Suit of Dave Sanderson. Scarborough flopped a king but failed to improve any further and was eliminated in fifth place ($25,480).

Four handed action saw Church slip down the chip counts. He eventually got his last 3.5 big blinds in the middle from the small blind with 9Diamond Suit5Diamond Suit, only to have Bjorkman call with ADiamond Suit8Heart Suit from the big blind. Neither player improved and Bjorkman’s ace high secured him the pot. Church earned $33,974 for his deep run in this event.

With that Bjorkman took a solid lead into three-handed play. He extended his advantage even further by knocking Sanderson out in third place. Sanderson four-bet all-in with 9Spade Suit9Club Suit only to get called by Bjorkman’s 10Spade Suit10Heart Suit. The higher pair held up and Sanderson was awarded $44,921.

Bjorkman began heads-up play with more than a 6.5:1 chip advantage over Nordstrand. it didn’t take long for all of the chips to go in the middle. Nystrand shoved from the button with 10Club Suit8Club Suit and Nordstrand called all-in for around 10 big blinds with AClub Suit2Diamond Suit. The board ran out 9Club Suit5Heart Suit2Club SuitAHeart SuitKClub Suit, giving Bjorkman a flush on the river to lock up the pot and the title. Nordstrand took home $62,339 as the runner-up finisher.

Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table:

Place Player Earnings POY Points
1 Chad Bjorkman $101,450 720
2 Cory Nordstrand $62,339 600
3 Dave Sanderson $44,921 480
4 Cy Church $33,974 360
5 Anthony Scarborough $25,480 300
6 Ha Nguyen $19,346 240
7 Philip Gioia $15,100 180
8 Drazen Ilich $11,797 120
9 Larry Loose $8,965 60

Winner photo provided by MSPT.