Toronto's Veerab Zakarian Wins MSPT Title at Seneca Niagara
It was the first time at Seneca Niagara Casino for the Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT), and Canadian Veerab Zakarian took the opportunity to win his first MSPT title. The $63,340 win was the biggest of his career, bringing his total live earnings to $290,854.
Beginning life in 2009 as the Minnesota State Poker Tour at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minnesota, the MSPT quickly expanded into neighbouring states. With new venues, the tour was rebranded as the Mid-States Poker Tour, keeping the same MSPT abbreviation. With nine seasons under their belt now, the 2018 MSPT offers more than 30 events across the United States.
This event was the first time MSPT held an event at Seneca Niagara Casino, and over the course of three Day 1s, a total of 264 players took their shot, creating a prize pool of well over $250,000. When action commenced on Day 2, 51 players were dumping chips out of plastic bags onto the felt, including 10 Canadians.
In addition to the eventual winner Zakarian, Day 1b chip leader Maria Parlatore also showed up for Day 2 after finishing Day 1b with nearly 100,000 more chips than second-place Zakarian. Parlatore went on to win $4,654 for 11th place.
Another Canadian to make a deep run on Day 2 was Calgary's Harp Padda who finished Day 1a second in chips, and parlayed that into $3,878 for 15th place. Patrick Lacy of Wallaceburg and Illan Kandiah of Ajax also cashed in the event.
Zakarian powered through a final table where he was the only Canadian representative. He was the player to dispatch MSPT regulars Brian Soja, Derrick Brown, and Steve Anderson, helping him get into heads-up play against Paul Butski. After some back and forth, Butski called off a shove by Zakarian and Butski was holding the best hand preflop with ace-ten against the king-queen of Zakarian. He had to wait for the fifth community card, but Zakarian wouldn't be denied as a king hit the river to give him the title and his biggest live score ever.
While this was the first stop for MSPT in Seneca, it's been a good place for Zakarian in the past. In 2014, he was runner-up in the Seneca Niagara Fall Poker Classic Main Event for a score of $40,000, and two years later he took third for $29,394 in the 2016 Seneca Niagara Fall Poker Classic Main Event.
Lead photo courtesy of Mid-States Poker Tour.