Eric Baldwin Goes Back-to-Back at MSPT Venetian; Umut Ozturk Wins Tight POY Race

Poker News

The Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) wrapped up its 14th season over the weekend at the Venetian Las Vegas. It was there that the last mid-major tournament of the year – a $1,100 buy-in Main Event – took place and presented players their last opportunity to win points to both the GPI Mid-Major and MSPT Player of the Year races.

Both Preston McEwen and Nick Pupillo were there with the former trying to catch the latter in the GPI Mid-Major POY race, but ultimately failed to do so. Likewise, Rob Wazwaz and Umut Ozturk were jockeying for MSPT Season 14 POY points in one of the tightest races in tour history.

On top of it all, you had the actual tournament that attracted 550 runners and ended with a familiar face hoisting the trophy.

Eric Baldwin Goes Back-to-Back

Eric Baldwin
Eric Baldwin

At the end of November, poker pro Eric Baldwin topped a field of 274 entries to win the MSPT Venetian $1,100 Main Event for $55,261. It marked the second time the two-time WSOP bracelet winner took down an MSPT Venetian title after having done so in 2019 to the tune of $80,872.

Amazingly, the former Wisconsinite went back-to-back to become a three-time MSPT Venetian champion, the latest score good for $90,692.

“I love it when you guys here and that I run so well in MSPTs,” Baldwin told MSPT officials after the win. “This is such a great tour, and it’s just ran really well especially here at the Venetian, and being from Wisconsin, it’s just awesome to play with all the players who travel from all over the country that come here to play it.”

He added: “This is what I love doing and I always get excited when I see the MSPT on the Venetian schedule so I’m looking forward to the next stop here in February.”

The MSPT is slated to return to Las Vegas for two events – the $1,100 Mystery Bounty Poker Bowl from Feb. 6-8 and the $1,600 Poker Bowl Main Event from Feb. 8-10.

MSPT Venetian Final Table Results

Place Player Hometown Prize
1 Eric Baldwin Las Vegas, NV $90,692
2 Bogdan Chornyy Paterson, NJ $66,870
3 Darren Rabinowitz Las Vegas, NV $49,861
4 Victorino Torres Boise, ID $37,604
5 Ankush Mandavia Richmond, TX $28,688
6 Dung Ho Stockton, CA $22,142
7 Bill Croft Henderson, NV $17,293
8 Luke Wasikowski Clearwater, FL $13,667
9 Ky Nguyen Gardena, CA $10,933

Others to cash the tournament were Shannon Shorr (10th – $8,853), Ben Moon (14th – $6,025), Stanley Lee (16th – $6,025), Ping Liu (19th – $5,066), Jack Salter (24th – $3,722), Jared Jaffee (28th – $3,254), Aaron Massey (33rd – $3,254), Hayley Hanna (36th – $2,882), Stephen Song (42nd – $2,882), and Christina Read (44th – $2,882).

Check out the MSPT Hub on PokerNews here!

Ozturk Holds Off Wazwaz for POY Honors

Umut Ozturk and Rob Wazwaz.
Umut Ozturk and Rob Wazwaz.

It’s been a great year for Umut Ozturk, who earlier in the year became just the 13th player to win their way into the MSPT Hall of Fame. He then amassed a record 17 cashes on the MSPT in 2023 – including a record five Top 10 finishers – which included a $101,336 win in February’s MSPT Hollywood Casino.

However, with 16 cashes of his own, Rob Wazwaz was right up there with him, and the duo engaged in a back-and-forth race down the stretch.

After Wazwaz failed to find a Day 2 bag, Ozturk locked up the Season 14 POY title. He wasn’t done, however, as the Minnesotan not only advanced to Day 2 but went on to finish in 23rd place for $4,314 and an additional 300 POY points.

All told, Ozturk has $327,507 in MSPT earnings, of which $244,620 came in 2014!

MSPT Season 14 POY Final Leaderboard

Place Player Cashes Points
1 Umut Ozturk 17 9,070
2 Rob Wazwaz 16 8,625
3 Blake Bohn 8 5,425
4 DJ Buckley 15 4,624
5 Jared Ingles 4 3,950
6 Kou Vang 6 3,750
7 Nick Barksdale 3 3,650
8 Max Havlish 7 3,600
9 Justin Lynch 6 3,166
10 Eric Baldwin 2 3,100
Umut Ozturk
Umut Ozturk became a MSPT Hall of Famer in 2023.

*Images courtesy of MSPT.

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Executive Editor US, PokerNews Podcast co-host & 2013 WSOP Bracelet Winner.

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