James Carroll rang in the new year in style, defeating a field of 1,009 total entries to win the 2021 Mid-States Poker Tour Venetian $1,100 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event. The two-time World Poker Tour main event champion earned $180,850 for the win.
This was Carroll’s 29th recorded tournament title, and it brought him within striking distance of $5 million in career earnings. This was the fifth-largest score on Carroll’s resume, with his two largest being for his WPT main event wins earned in the 2014 Bay 101 Shooting Star (a $1,256,550 top prize) and the 2019 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown (a $715,175 top prize).
Carroll has a chance to become a three-time WPT champion in the near future, as he is among the final six players at the 2020 WPT L.A. Poker Classic final table which has been delayed since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. Carroll will enter the final table in third chip position when it is ultimately rescheduled this year.
The final day of this event began with 133 players remaining from the 1,009 entries made. The $978,730 prize pool that was built as a result of the big turnout was paid out among the top 104 finishers. Plenty of big names made the money but fell short of the official final table, including Michael Rocco (103rd – $2,251), Lexi Gavin (93rd – $2,447), World Series of Poker bracelet winner Benjamin Keeline (91st – $2,447), Ricardo Eyzaguirre (74th – $2,838), recent Benny Binion Shootout winner William Firebaugh (68th – $3,034), and 2020 MSPT Venetian champion Landon Tice (20th – $7,047), who topped a field of 1,123 at this same venue in November of last year to win $201,529.
Carroll had come into the final day in 36th chip position among the final 133 players, but he managed to battle his way into the chip lead by the time the eight-handed final table was set.
He scored his first elimination of the final table when his K-Q held up against the Q-J of Veselin Dimitrov (6th – $28,383. After that Carroll went on an absolute tear, busting each and every one of the remaining competitors on his way to the title. He started this final spree by busting Bill Lewis (5th – $38,170) with top set against Lewis’ top and bottom pair. He then knocked out Daniel Sammarco (4th – $57,745) and Daniel Jones (3rd – $84,171) to take a sizable lead into heads-up play against William Chao.
In the final hand of the event Carroll raised to 400,000 on the button with A9 and Chao three-bet to 1,360,000 from the big blind with A6. Carroll four-bet all-in and Chao called to put himself at risk. The board ran out 874A8 and Carroll’s superior kicker played to earn him the pot and the title. Chao took home $135,277 as the runner-up finisher.
Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table:
Winner photo credits: MSPT / Venetian Poker Room Twitter accounts.