Minot man crowned poker champion

Submitted Photo Matt Lizotte, Minot, claimed first place in the annual poker tournament that concluded New Year’s Day at Minot’s Vegas Motel. Over 1,400 players took part in the event.

If at first you don’t succeed try, try again. Maybe 14 times.

That was the story behind a remarkable run over three days of playing poker against a large and crafty field. In the end it was Matt Lizotte of Minot who walked away a winner at the final table.

It was the 14th Annual event held at Minot’s Vegas Motel. Lizotte was dealt cards in every one of them without a winning championship. This time he won it all. First place payout was a hefty $30,000.

The Vegas tourney has the largest first place payout for a non-World Series of Poker charity tournament in the United States. A total of 1,454 players participated in the hopes of sharing part of the $112,000 prize payout. Players from 16 states were in the field along with a large contingent of players from Canada.

The runner-up was Jimmy Van Huss Jr., a Dallas, Texas native who is a Minot Air Force Base veteran currently seeking a master’s degree at Minot State University. Several of Huss’ friends made the trip from Dallas to Minot by automobile to be at the tournament. Huss won $15,000.

The event is sponsored by the MSU Alumni Association. A portion of the proceeds is used to provide funding for scholarships at MSU.

Top 10 ND State Poker Texas Hold’em:

1 – Matt Lizotte, Minot, $30,000.

2 – Jimmy Van Huss Jr., Minot, $15,000.

3 – Kelly Lang, Burnsville, Minn., $10,000.

4 – Mike Schall, Minot, $5,000.

5 – Martin Croft, Minot AFB, $4,000.

6- D.J. Haman, Towner, $3,000.

7 – Al Finneseth, Velva, $2,500.

8 – Scott Solwey, St. Michael, $2,000.

9 – Vinnie Racine, Dunseith, $1,500.

10 – Dan Hendrickson, Crosby, $1,250.