FireKeepers’ standing as one of the nation’s premier poker rooms is strengthened by the participation of elite poker players from throughout the nation. FireKeepers Casino Hotel hosted a four-day Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) event that attracted a record 2,409 participants and created a $2.3 million prize pool, significantly above the $1 million guarantee, making it the largest Michigan poker tournament to date.
On the MSPT, participation in the Michigan State Poker Championship established a new record for the Midwest area. Matthew Davis of Flat Rock, Michigan won the race and $344,446 in prize money. It was the first MSPT championship for Davis.
Tuesday, the casino said that the participation of elite poker players from throughout the country has further cemented FireKeepers’ position as one of the nation’s premier poker rooms. The top 252 finishers received compensation.
Prize pool for May’s tournament topped $2,200,000
FireKeepers continued its success from the previous spring.
MSPT Main Event #195 was conducted from May 12 to 15 and attracted 2,330 participants. Similar to the recently finished Michigan State Poker Championship, the tournament started with a guaranteed prize pool of $1 million but quickly ballooned to a cool $2.2 million.
Chicago’s Daniel Bekavac won the competition and $252,020. It was Bekavac’s record-setting fourth MSPT championship.
The prize fund for the Michigan State Poker Championship was only $122,855 more than that of the Main Event #195. Bekavac finished in 44th place in the previous competition and won $6,772 in prize money.
“A wonderful cooperation with the MSPT, along with the FireKeepers Team Members’ dedication to guest service, continues to attract record-breaking attendance and prize pools,” said Kelley Bailey, poker manager at FireKeepers.
“Event after event, the team outdoes itself, enticing players to return for more – so much so that we’re already looking forward to our next large events.”
Last week, Jim Wise, vice president of marketing for FireKeepers, told MI Gaming Review that the casino anticipated the prize pool for Main Event #195 to surpass the $2.2 million mark.
$1M Prize Pools are Uncommon Outside of Las Vegas
Since opening its doors in August 2019, FireKeepers has held 15 MSPT events. To far, there have been 203 events on the tour.
FireKeepers is situated in Battle Creek, Michigan, right off Interstate 94, which is the key route between Chicago and Detroit. Its strategic location and easy accessibility from both cities contribute to its success.
With this achievement, the MSPT has now guaranteed a $1 million prize pool at FireKeepers four times. The only other location on the tour with a guaranteed $1 million prize pool was The Venetian in Las Vegas, making this a very unique offer.
The Venetian has held seventeen MSPT events with a guaranteed prize pool of at least $1 million.
Since 2013, FireKeepers has been rapidly expanding their collaboration with the MSPT. In the first year the casino held a tour event, the guaranteed prize pool was $100,000. However, it was increased to $200,000 the next year, and to $300,000 by 2016. In 2019, the prize pool grew to $1 million.
As a result of the COVID outbreak, the MSPT was forced to cancel multiple activities. FireKeepers was not spared from the budget changes; it will not hold MSPT events in 2020 or 2021.
FireKeepers likely missed out on four events in all, two for each pandemic year. Since 2013, the casino has staged two MSPT tournaments annually. Typically, they were conducted in May and October; however, events were staged in March and August 2013 during FireKeepers’ first year as host.