The poker world is converging on Las Vegas in anticipation of the 2023 World Series of Poker, set to begin soon. Just before the first bracelet event of the year commenced, Matthew Schulte emerged victorious in a significant tournament on the Las Vegas strip. Hailing from Ohio, Schulte triumphed over a field of 807 participants in the recent Mid-States Poker Tour Venetian main event, which required a $1,100 buy-in for a game of no-limit hold’em. His triumph earned him $118,874 in prize money and his first MSPT trophy.
Schulte expressed his thoughts to MSPT reporters after his victory, saying, “I had an incredibly fortunate streak at this final table, which is often the key to success.”
This victory marked Schulte’s second-highest earnings ever, following his 33rd-place finish in the 2021 WSOP main event, where he secured $198,550. In total, he has now amassed nearly $788,000 in tournament winnings throughout his career.
The tournament took place within The Venetian Las Vegas and featured three starting flights from May 27-29. After the initial rounds, 91 players advanced and returned on Memorial Day to battle it out until a champion emerged. Kenny Hallaert, a finalist in the 2016 WSOP main event, initially held the chip lead but was ultimately eliminated on the final table bubble, earning $12,028 for finishing in tenth place.
Entering the final nine players, Adam Walton held the chip lead, with Schulte positioned third in terms of chips. Walton widened the gap by eliminating two-time bracelet winner Michael Wang in seventh place ($23,480) before six-handed action commenced. Schulte managed to reduce the deficit by winning a preflop race with A-Q suited against William Latta’s pocket sevens (sixth place – $29,980).
Schulte and Walton then took turns eliminating two more players, with Walton sending Al-Farouk Mosoyore Obi home in fifth place ($38,685), while Schulte ousted David Jackson, also a two-time bracelet winner, in fourth place ($50,437). Schulte’s A-4 suited triumphed over Jackson’s A-10 suited, with all the chips going in preflop. Schulte flopped a four and held his advantage to narrow the field to three players.
Shortly after, Schulte doubled his stack through Walton, winning a flip with pocket nines against A-Q and seizing the lead. In the final hand, Walton went all-in with an open-ended straight draw against Schulte’s middle pair. The turn improved Schulte’s hand to trip sevens, and a blank on the river concluded Walton’s journey in third place ($66,443).
Schulte’s heads-up battle with Nick Pupillo was brief. The board showed 9♦ 6♣ 5♣ 9♥, with Schulte holding 9♣ 4♠ and Pupillo having 8♣ 7♣ for a flopped nine-high straight. Schulte check-raised, prompting Pupillo to shove all-in. Schulte made the call and found himself trailing, but the 5♥ on the river completed the board, giving him a full house and securing the victory. Pupillo received $88,426 as the runner-up finisher.