The Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) at Firekeepers Casino in Battle Creek has ended after a couple of weeks of qualifying, 3 starting days and an exciting day 2 that ended in a world-wide broadcast of the final table on www.msptpoker.com and www.pokernews.com. Thomas Madena took home the $73,456 top prize as well as a championship bracelet valued at over $5000 after over an hour of heads up play with Adam Lamphere who took home $39,351. There were 272 entries which was MSPT’s largest field for a first time event in a new casino.
The MSPT uses Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to assist them in their online broadcast. The cards have the RFID antenna in them to determine what cards each player has. There is a square in front of each of the players that picks up the signal and sends the information to their video feed to display the viewers on a 15 minute delay. The crew for the MSPT gets an accurate count at the start of the broadcast and updates the play as all action is announced by the dealer to help the crew manually input the action. I think I only saw 2 occasions where the information was incorrect on the screen but it was quickly fixed before the hand was even over.
There were instances that the cards were not displayed but most of these were related to players either not leaving the cards over the square or players holding the cards so they hovered over the square. The cards have an extremely short-range (i.e. Cards have to be flat on the table to read the info) to keep anyone from reading the RFID information with other devices. The RFID inside the cards are so small you cannot feel it. The only difference between those cards and regular deck is the corners are more squared.
I think the staff at Firekeepers Poker Room and the MSPT Crew were extremely friendly. The waitresses were always in the room keeping the drinks (coffee in my case) coming. The dealers kept the games going and enforced the “no phones at the table’ rule. There was even an instance of a regular watching movies on his phone where the floor came over and gave him a warning (he was slowing the game) and then the dealer stopped dealing him until he turned it off. The food service was quick to deliver food to your table side. You receive $0.80 per hour on cash game play in the form of comps which can be used for anything in the hotel (well not entirely sure about alcohol). I believe this is the best run Poker Room that I have been to in the state.
The MSPT will be returning to Firekeepers Casino August 17th-August 25th, 2013 for another exciting week of qualifying and main event tournament. There were hints talked about during the broadcast that they may not have the 100 entry cap per day at the next tournament. Hopefully this would allow for a larger field and prize pool. I will surely be there for the next event and hopefully make a deep run at that life changing money!