Wednesday, December 6, 2023

John Dennehey Takes Down 2022 MSPT Ohio State Championship ($155,933)

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John Dennehey

After 13 hours of play in the $1,110 buy-in Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) 2022 Ohio State Poker championship at JACK Casino Cleveland, it was Minnesota native John Dennehey who ended up striking a deal heads-up with Dustin Mcelhaney for $155,933 and the title. Mcelhaney took second place for $133,058.

“I just feel elated right now,” said an exhausted Dennehey, “I just played my hands.”

The Minnesota native has been playing the game recreationally for over 20 years and turned to tournaments within the past three years. The family man with two kids held over $100,000 in lifetime earnings and a prior career high of over $38,168 was overjoyed in taking down his first mid-major career title.

“My only advice to all players playing these things is just to never give up,” he says “I was the short stack nearly the whole tournament but here I am.”

The 2022 MSPT Ohio State Poker Championship attracted 991 entries and offered up a $959,770 prize pool.

MSPT JACK Cleveland Final Table Results

Place Player Payout
1st John Dennehey $155,933*
2nd Dustin Mcelhaney $133,058*
3rd Kevin Kerchenski $81,580
4th Chris Tryba $60,466
5th Scott Fitzhugh $46,069
6th Todd Rizzo $35,511
7th Dave Holmes $27,833
8th Shaun Gillian $21,115
9th Kris Davis $17,276

*Denotes heads-up deal

Day 2 Action

The day began only 10 eliminations away from the bubble and Jefferey Fritz went out as the unfortunate bubble boy when his two pair ran into a flopped straight. His elimination brought the remaining 108 players to the money.

The bursting of the bubble saw many players fall in quick succession including Michael Berk (73rd-$2,399), Renato Spahiu (59th-$2,975), MSPT champions Timothy Gundrum (57th-$2,975), and Kyna England (24th-$6,526). The final table was reached when Craig Stein could not hold on with his pocket queens against the ace-king of Dave Powell and he ended up in 10th place for $13,437.

Final Table Recap

MSPT Cleveland final table
MSPT Cleveland final table

The first elimination came when short-stacked Kris Davis moved all in for his remaining four big blinds with king-queen and failed to improve against the pocket fives of Mcelhaney. He wished his table mates good luck and left with his $17,267 for ninth place.

Shaun Gillian was the next to fall in a massive 9 million chip pot when he called off with aces against two sets of Mcelhaney and WSOP bracelet winner Chris Tryba. Mcelaney held the higher set, doubling through Tryba and sending Gillian to the payout desk in eighth place for $21,115.

Dave Holmes found himself next to leave, also at the hands of Mcelaney, when his second pair turned flush draw failed to improve against a flopped set of nines. He exited in seventh place for $27,833.

Next to go was short-stacked Todd Rizzo who got in his ace-jack against the queen-eight of Mcelhaney. A queen on the flop and turn was enough to send Rizzo to collect his sixth place prize of $35,511.

Scott Fitzhugh exited when he moved all in for his three million chips over a raise from Kevin Kerchenski and found himself racing with pocket sevens against ace-king. An ace on the turn sealed his fate and he ended up finishing in fifth place for $46,069.

Start-of-final-table chip leader Tryba suffered a very bad beat in the beginning of the final table when his set of fives ran into the set of sixes of Mcelhaney. His luck ran out when his pocket tens could not hold up against the ace-queen of Mcelhaney and a queen on the turn ended the WSOP bracelet winners’ run in fourth place for $60,466.

Chris Tryba
Chris Tryba

Kerchinski started three-handed play as the chip leader, but lost a key pot against Dennehey when his two pair could not hold up against a flush draw, and then another when he moved his short stack in with king-three only for Mcelhaney to wake up with queens in the big blind. A queen high board sent the Ohio native to the cage in third place for $81,580.

Dennehey started heads up at a near 2:1 deficit against Mcelhaney, but when Dennehey’s ace-king found a double against Mcelhaney’s ace-queen off, Dennehey found himself for the first time at the final table with the chip lead. A deal was discussed shortly after that guaranteed Mcelaney $133,058 for second place and Dennehey with the trophy and $155,933 for the win.

Congratulations to John Dennehey for winning the $1,100 Mid-States Poker Tour Main Event at JACK Casino Cleveland.

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Liam Gannon


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