Exclusive: FireKeepers Ready for Return of the Mid-States Poker Tour

The Battle Creek casino is hoping to repeat its success in May, when a guaranteed $1 million prize pool grew to $2.2 million. It remains the only venue outside of Las Vegas to guarantee $1 million or more.
FireKeepers Ready for Return of the Mid-States Poker Tour
October 13, 2022

The Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) returns to Michigan this month to a familiar venue — the FireKeepers Casino Hotel in Battle Creek — for a four-day event that will feature a $1 million guaranteed prize pool.

On Thursday, aka Day 1A of the Michigan State Poker Championship, the action opens with a No-Limit Hold’em (NLH) event at noon. That event will be followed by a turbo satellite at 8 p.m., where one in five will advance to the second round — which, for players, could be Friday (Day 1B) or Saturday (Day 1C).

NLH events will be held at noon on Friday and Saturday, while another turbo satellite will take place at 8 p.m. Friday, with one in five players advancing. The final event is NLH and is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, October 16.

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The buy-in for each NLH event is $1,110, while for the turbo satellite, it is $265. The three NLH events leading to the final will feature 40 levels and 25,000 chips. Meanwhile, the two turbo satellites will have 15 levels and be played with 15,000 chips. The final event Sunday will also have 40 levels.

“We’re excited for what looks to be another great turnout for the Michigan State Poker Championship,” Jim Wise, vice president of marketing for FireKeepers Casino Hotel, told MI Gaming Review in an exclusive Wednesday.

“Our partnership with MSPT, combined with FireKeepers Team Members’ commitment to guest service, led to shattered attendance records and a $2 million prize pool in the spring event, and we expect nothing less this weekend.”

Prize Pools Have Grown Since 2013

The $1 million guarantee is significant.

Aside from 17 events held at The Venetian in Las Vegas, no other casino on the tour has hosted an MSPT event with at least $1 million guaranteed. FireKeepers has done that three times and will do it a fourth time this month.

Guaranteed prize pools have also been progressively increasing — a testament to the growing popularity of FireKeepers and MSPT and their ability to draw players. The prize pool began with $100k guaranteed in 2013, but it was bumped up to $200k in 2014, $300k in 2016, and $1 million in 2019.

FireKeepers has hosted 15 MSPT events since it opened its doors in August 2019. There have been 203 events to date.

Until the pandemic struck in 2020, the casino had hosted two MSPT events every year since 2013. The events have been held in May and October every year, except for the first year — events were held in March and August 2013.

COVID caused MSPT to shorten its schedule in 2020 and 2021, and FireKeepers was one of the casinos affected. But the tour returned this year in May.

The most recent MSPT event at FireKeepers — held May 12 through 15 — also had $1 million guaranteed but wound up with a much bigger prize pool: $2.2 million. Of the 2,330 entrants, 252 finished in the money. Daniel Bekavac of Chicago won a record fourth MSPT title and $252,020.

It was Bekavac’s best showing of three appearances at FireKeepers to date. He finished in 30th place and took home $1,452 in the August 2013 MSPT event, followed it up with a 15th place showing and winning $5,644 in May 2015. Bekavac’s career earnings on MSPT total $660k.

Looking for somewhere to play? Check out our complete guides to the Best Online Poker Sites in Michigan and the Best Online Casinos in Michigan.

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call the Virginia Council on Problem Gambling (VACPG) helpline at 1-888-532-3500

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