Kou Vang Defeats Dash Dudley in MSPT FireKeepers Main Event for Third Title

An epic battle between two of the Midwest’s greatest poker players took place last night at FireKeepers Casino in Battle Creek, Michigan as Minnesota’s Kou Vang bested Wolverine State native Dash Dudley in the $1,110 buy-in Main Event to win $314,145 and his third MSPT title.

Vang, an MSPT Hall of Famer, earned his biggest career cash with the victory in the Main Event, which drew 2,471 runners including fellow Hall of Famer Josh Reichard (33rd – $8,623) and recent MSPT Missouri State Championship winner Umut Ozturk (29th – $11,019).

Others at the final table included Michigan natives Edward Dixon ($37,128) and Robert Strunk (3rd – $162,885) and Wisconsin’s Melissa Bartelme (5th – $97,252).

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MSPT FireKeepers $1,110 Main Event Final Table Results

  1 Kou Vang Maplewood, MN $314,145
  2 Dash Dudley Lansing, MI $257,145
  3 Robert Strunk Portage, MI $162,885
  4 George Abi-Zeid Miller Park, NY $126,955
  5 Melissa Bartelme Muskego, WI $97,252
  6 James Wilson Minneapolis, MN $76,652
  7 Austin Thieleman Wixom, MI $59,884
  8 Ray Ezzie Beachwood, OH $46,710
  9 Edward Dixon Detroit, MI $37,128

Battle of the Midwest’s Best

There couldn’t have been a better heads-up duo as the MSPT FireKeepers Main Event came to a close with Vang and Dudley being two of the most accomplished poker players in the region.

Vang entered the tournament with $2.1 million in live tournament earnings and two MSPT titles from victories in the 2011 MSPT Canterbury Park Main Event ($64,645) and the 2022 Running Aces Casino Main Event ($67,621) on his resume.

Reaching the final nine players gave Vang his 13th MSPT Main Event final table appearance, but he faced top-notch competition from Dudley, a three-time World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner and Michigan poker superstar with $3.1 million in live earnings.

According to MSPT live updates, Vang and Dudley entered heads-up play nearly even in chips before Vang took the lead against the three-time bracelet winner, who was after his first MSPT title.

Dash Dudley
Dash Dudley

In the final hand, Dudley was all in and at risk with ace-six and couldn’t hold against the queen-jack of Vang as the Minnesota crusher locked up his third title.

“This is the reason why we play the game is to get life-changing scores like this,” Vang told MSPT after the victory. “I play the game to provide for my family the best I can, and $300,000 should go a long way.”

Next up on the MSPT trail will be a stop in Deadwood, South Dakota that will feature the $1,110 buy-in South Dakota State Poker Championship from May 19-21.

Photos courtesy of MSPT

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