One of the largest live poker tournaments in Las Vegas this summer ended over the weekend with U.S. player David Levine emerging victorious and claiming the top prize of $495,500. He took home almost $50,000 less than the original payout after striking a heads-up deal with the other runner for the title, Felipe Davila.
The Mid-States Poker Tour event was one of the most anticipated tournaments during the 2018 DeepStack Championship Poker Series, which runs for more than two months at the Venetian Las Vegas. The event started June 3 and its final, third day was held Friday evening when the 39 finalists gathered at the tables to fight for the 2018 MSPT Venetian title and the top prize of $548,341. The $1,100 buy-in event drew in a massive field of 4,411 players in the four starting flights, a record-breaking attendance for both the MSPT series and the Venetian.
Day 3 started at noon on Friday with 39 players competing for the champions title, including UK’s Iaron Lightbourne who held a massive chip lead with a stack of 7,330,000. The players who bagged the next biggest stacks during the previous night were Young Eum (4,770,000), Dustin Goff (4,750,000), and Jonatan Simchon (4,430,000). After 10 hours of grinding, however, only one of them made it to the final table. This was Eum who finished 10th and took home a cash prize of $43,007. The player who triumphed and claimed the title was David Levine from Rancho Cucamonga, CA. He reached a deal with the other hopeful for the trophy, Felipe Davila from Lima, Peru.
The 44-year-old Levine is an emergency medicine technician, according to MSPT, and this is the largest cash prize in his career, although he has one more first-place finish. In January, he won the $350 NLH Triple Stack event at the 2018 WPT L.A. Poker Classic, banking $16,910. In fact, most of his finishes have rewarded him quite modestly and with that latest win, he has collected around $600,000 in total live tournament earnings. Although he is not a professional, nor a regular participant in live events, he is not a newcomer on the scene with the first cash from a live tournament in 2009.
Ten Hours of Poker on the Final Day
Friday saw many notable players eliminated before they could make it to the final table. Among those were MSPT regular Osama Aweida (11th, $43,007), WPT champ Iaron Lightbourne (12th, $43,007), another MSPT regular from Colorado Eric Maier (27th, $17,203), 2017 WSOP Thunder Valley main event winner Nick Pupillo (29th, $14,622), Mike Del Vecchio (32nd, $14,622), and Phong Nguyen (39th, $12,042).
There were only a handful non-U.S. players, such as Owen Crowe (5th, $150,525), the only Canadian to survive to the final day, and UK’s Lightbourne, Alex Zeligman (26th, $17,203) and Matthew Hunt (38th, $12,042). Also, Bulgarian players Ivan Uzunov (13th, 36,556) and Emil Gramatikov (18th, $30,105) made it to the top 20. Young Sik Eum was the first player to leave the final table, followed by Chicago-based Shane Martin (9th, $51,609), and Derek Wolters from Las Vegas (8th, $64,511). Ken Rawlinson (7th, $81,714) from Riverside, RI, and Tyreem Williams (6th, 109,668) from Philadelphia were the next to fall.
Canadian poker pro Owen Crowe from Halifax, Nova Scotia, finished 5th, taking a nice cash reward of $150,525 and Scottsdale-based Scott Massimiano (4th, $197,833) followed soon after. After Lou “AP” Garza hit the rail, a deal was struck between Levine and Davila who agreed that each would take $405,500. They continued to fight for the rest of the prize pool and the trophy, and not long into the heads-up battle, Levine defeated Davila who had to settle for the second spot and a cash prize of $405,500. The winner, David Levine, took home $495,500 and the 2018 MSPT Venetian title.