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Michael Berk Wins The Mid-States Poker Tour Iowa Main Event

Berks Was Awarded The Top Prize Worth $142,467 For His First Tournament Win


Michael Berk – Photo Credit: MSPT

Michael Berk won the Mid-States Poker Tour Iowa main event at Riverside Casino in Riverside, Iowa. He was awarded the top prize worth $142,467 along with the MSPT title late on Sunday, Mar. 19. The resident of Chesterton, Indiana scored his first tournament win, and his career earnings are up to $285,632.

The $1,100 buy-in no-limit hold’em event had a prize pool worth $694,960 built by three starting flights that attracted a total of 718 entries. The top 72 players all cashed for at least $2,293 in prize money. There were 92 players that returned for the final day of the tournament, and the final day took more than 12 hours to play out.

A couple of notables fell early at the final table when previous MSPT champion Max Havlish hit the rail in ninth place, and tournament professional Ryan Tepen who holds just shy of $1 million in tournament earnings exited in eighth. Steven Federspiel was another former MSPT champion that was eliminated along the way, busting in fourth place, and Renato Spahiu’s exit in third place set the stage for a final match between Berk and Adam Tolander.

Berk held a slight lead with 9.66 million against the 8.29 million held by Tolander when play began, but Tolander pulled ahead for a while before Berk was able to retain the lead once again. He steadily increased that lead from there until Tolander got all in preflop with JHeart Suit10Spade Suit on the last hand. Berk had him covered holding QHeart SuitJDiamond Suit, and the board followed with KSpade Suit6Diamond Suit4Diamond Suit4Heart SuitKClub Suit. Tolander was out in second place, and he took home $86,878 as the runner-up for the biggest cash of his poker career.

“I feel good, I’ve played a lot of these and have had a bunch of almosts so it feels really good to win one,” said Berk to the MSPT reporters after the win. He continued, “I just lost my I.T. job last Wednesday, and honestly, things weren’t looking too good at the start, but you know, I’ve never really been speechless before, but this is just really insane.”

“I just want to give a shout-out to the person who had faith in me and put me in this tournament even without any results. Thank you to all my friends who supported me throughout the day, thank you to Terence, Alex, & Jackie for railing me at the end, and to my family and parents who support me playing poker,” said Berk to wrap up his winner’s interview.

A few other notables that cashed in the tournament included Daniel Bekavac (11th), Angela Joridson (14th), Mo Nuwwarah (19th), Nicola Di Tripani (21st), Larry Wagner 34th), Brett Reichard (36th), Wesley Cannon (47th), DJ Buckley (53rd), Michael Estes (60th), and Josh Reichard (69th).

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

Place Player Earnings POY Points
1 Michael Berk $142,467 912
2 Adam Tolander $86,878 760
3 Renata Spahiu $64,631 608
4 Steven Federspiel $47,952 456
5 Ryan Winsdor $36,138 380
6 Joseph Saltanovitz $27,103 304
7 Jimmy Dennis $20,849 228
8 Ryan Tepen $16,679 152
9 Max Havlish $12,509 76

The next stop on the Mid-States Poker Tour will take place at Running Aces Casino in Columbus, Minnesota from Mar. 23 to Apr. 2, and the $1,110 main event will run from Mar. 30 – Apr. 2.