Gianluca Pace Wins Mid-States Poker Tour Sycuan Casino Main Event

The Mid-States Poker Tour Sycuan Casino $1,100 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event attracted a field of 460 total entries, building a prize pool of $444,700 that was paid out among the top 48 finishers. After three starting flights and final day, Gianluca Pace emerged victorious with the title and the first-place prize of $74,562.

This was by far the largest tournament score Pace has ever recorded. The Encinitas, California resident’s only prior live cash came when he finished 34th in the 2020 Card Player Poker Tour Ocean’s 11 Casino main event for $950.

In addition to the title and the money, Pace also earned 720 Card Player Player of the Year points for his victory in this MSPT event. This was the single largest chunk of points awarded so far this year, and was enough to see Pace surge up the standings and into the top spot on the 2022 POY leaderboard.

A total of 61 players made it through the trio of starting flights, with Huy Nguyen entering day 2 with the chip lead while Pace sat in sixth place. By the time the field was narrowed to eight players, Pace had climbed to second chip position. He overtook the lead when he flopped a set of eights and got all-in against the pocket kings of Scott Subak after the turn paired the board. Subakwas unable to find a king on the river and was eliminated in eighth place ($10,673).

Anthony Pitesa knocked out Jason Hickey (7th – $12,896) and Rich Alsup Eliminated (6th – $16,454), scoring the final blow with pocket kings and pocket queens, respectively. Lena Evans was the next to fall, with her pocket nines running into the pocket tens of DJ Buckley. Evans earned $21,346 as the fifth-place finisher.

The final four struck a deal that divide up most of the remaining prize pool based on ICM. The title and 10 percent of the remaining money up for grabs were set aside for the eventual champion. Pitesa held the lead at the time, and as a result locked up $61,194. DJ Buckley guaranteed himself $58,631, while Pace secured at $51,062. Nguyen guaranteed himself $41,487 as the shortest stack.

Pitesa lost a preflop race to Pace to fall to the bottom of the leaderboard and then got all-in with A-2 against the A-k of Nguyen to hit the rail. DJ Buckley got all-in with A-Q racing against Pace’s pocket jacks. The board brought no help and he was sent home with the payout he negotiated in the deal.

In the next hand Nguyen got all-in with 10Heart Suit5Spade Suit, which happened to be a coinflip against Pace’s pocket threes. The board came down JDiamond Suit8Spade Suit4Heart SuitKSpade Suit4Club Suit to lock up the pot and the title for Pace.

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

Place Player Earnings (USD) POY Points
1 Gianluca Pace $74,562 720
2 Anthony Pitesa $61,194 600
3 D.J. Buckley $58,631 480
4 Huy Nguyen $41,487 360
5 Lena Evans $21,346 300
6 Richard Alsup $16,454 240
7 Jason Hickey $12,896 180
8 Scott Subak $10,673 120
9 Christopher Skinner $8,672 60

Winner photo via MSPT’s official Twitter page.