When the Foxwoods Circuit Series got underway, Ryan Methia had the Casino Championship on the top of his list of things to accomplish. Despite never cashing on the Circuit before, the 29-year-old was a familiar face at Foxwoods during their tournament events. When the Foxwoods series concluded on Monday, Methia was indeed Casino Champion.
Over the course of the series, Methia, who hails from New Bedford, CT, cashed a total of three times, all in $365 No-Limit Hold 'em events. He started his series with a 30th place finish out of 641 entrants in Event 1. Methia's next cash didn't come until Event 6, but it was a big one. Methia bested a field of 276 runners to win his first Circuit Ring and nearly $20,000.
With no other player over 50 points, Methia now led the Casino Champion points race halfway through the series. Knowing that his 55 points would likely not be enough to claim victory, Methia entered the very next event. He fought his way through a field of 325 players with the sole intention of racking up valuable points. While he didn't win back-to-back events, he did manage to make the final table. An 8th place finish, good $2,658, put him in a solid lead for the Casino Championship with 72.5 points.
Methia would not cash the rest of the series, but his 72.5 points ended up being enough to take the title. However, Methia did get a close call, as John Ting, winner of the first event of the series, made a deep run in the Circuit Main Event. Going into the final day of play, Ting needed a ninth place finish or better to take the lead. Things went sour for Ting on the final day of play though and he was eliminated in 11th place, giving him 70 points total.
After that, Methia's lead was never challenged and the Casino Championship points race was his. Methia, a full-time physical education teacher and freshman high school football coach, won't be able to play any more Circuit events this season though.
"I look at poker as a summer job." Methia said after winning the title. "I actually won't play another poker tournament until October."
Growing up, Methia was an athlete and a competition junkie. Now, poker has turned into his new form of competition. "Winning the WSOP National Championship would let me know that all the work and time I have put into my game has paid off." Methia said. "Also, a few hundred thousand dollars would be pretty cool too."
Methia can attribute the improvement to his poker game to his son Bryce. Bryce was born 14 weeks premature in 2011 and was hospitalized for four months. "This really gave me perspective on life and poker to a certain extent." Methia explained.
"After my son was born, that's when my poker game picked up. I was more focused while playing and I didn't let running bad or bad beats affect me and it has paid off. "
Paid off it has, as Methia will join some of the Circuit's elite next May in Atlantic City for his shot at a bracelet in the WSOP National Championship.