Chris Smith, a lifetime San Diego resident who works full-time in IT and likes poker as a pastime, doesn’t play a full schedule of poker events.  When Smith enters a poker tournament, he appears to have a penchant for winning. On Sunday night, Smith earned another victory to his poker record, winning the $360 Regional NLHE in the 2021 MSPT United States Poker Championship at Sycuan Casino.

Smith won $33,149 after defeating a field of 519 competitors. In heads-up play, he defeated Dana Katzenmeier (second – $20,370) to win the tournament. Smith’s first-place finish is his second in 2021 and his third in 2019. In 2019, Smith also placed second in the Ante Up Poker Tour Jamul Casino Main Event.

With 17 large blinds, Smith entered final table action with a small stack. Smith’s stack was eighth out of nine final table competitors, but at the conclusion of the night, he was first in chips.

“I was short coming into the last table,” Smith explained. “Right away, I got that amazing triple-up, but there was still a long way to go.”

 Smith was talking to a hand that took place during eight-handed play and netted him a 35 big-blind stack. When Smith was playing three-handed, he had another critical moment. Preflop, Ricardo Mendoza put all of his chips in against Smith, who had a favorable runout with king-jack versus Mendoza’s ace-king.

With that hand, Smith and Katzenmeier were able to play heads-up. Smith won the game with a rivered flush after a two-pair vs two-pair scenario. Smith admitted, “I was not looking forward to playing Dana heads-up.” “He had my phone number for the entire day. At the end, he still had my number; I had just binked a flush.”Luis Pedro (fourth – $11,102) and Matt Bradford were among the top finishers.