Slew of familiar faces on the tour win rings. Several pros added another ring to an already plentiful trophy case, a couple broke through for their first, while one pro watched his father earn a title
November 13, 2017 (Durant, OK) - Choctaw Casino and Resort has historically been one of the largest stops on the World Series of Poker Circuit. This season, they staff in Oklahoma decided that they were going to add a second stop at the venue. It was the first time that the casino decided to run a series in the fall and it produced many memorable moments for some of the Circuit’s most consistent grinders.
Not one, but two players earned their sixth Circuit ring. Less than a week into the series, Josh Turner won the $365 no-limit hold’em turbo event. Along with the ring, he earned $25,282 for his win. The St. Louis native moved to Houston last year after getting engaged and has been making a concerted effort to spend less time on the road and more time with his new family, but he’s still putting up results.
While Turner earned his sixth ring early in the series, Dan Lowery made his sixth Circuit title one to remember on the last day of the series. Lowery won the $1,675 no-limit hold’em main event for $258,784. It was Lowery’s first main event title at his seventh final table. The entrepreneur from Arkansas felt pressure for the first time in his poker career, having come in third three times in main events before.
Like Turner, Lowery wants to spend less time on the road and more time with his family. He and his wife, Krista, had a baby boy recently and after spending six months at home without ever touching a poker chip, he’s been on a tear. His win comes on the heels of a casino championship title in Tahoe and according to Lowery, 2017 is his most successful year of his poker career.
While Turner and Lowery were busy filling up their second hand with Circuit rings, Marshall White put a dent on his first. White won the $365 no-limit hold’em event for his fourth career ring and $16,350. White is one of the humblest players on tour and downplayed his skill advantage over what was a tough final table that featured Turner, who was at his second consecutive final table, and bracelet winner Kevin Eyster, who also final tabled the main event with Lowery.
Several familiar faces added a second ring to their collection to prove their first win was no fluke. John Richards, Jeffrey Trudeau and Brett Richards all won their second rings in Choctaw. Richards won the $580 no-limit hold’em, Trudeau won the $1,125 no-limit hold’em and Murray won the $365 no-limit hold’em six-max event.
Murray continued a recent stretch of dominance in Choctaw after burying the competition in Thunder Valley a couple months ago. He won his first ring at the Sacramento area casino en route to running away with the casino champion crown before coming to Oklahoma less than two months later and adding a second to his trophy case. Murray, a north California native has been a poker pro since 2008, but started online and only really started grinding the Circuit a couple years ago.
Richards considers himself a cash game player, but has a decent amount of tournament success for a guy who doesn’t play a lot of tournaments. Richards calls St. Louis home and is a fixture at many of the Midwest Circuit stops. He doesn’t play an entire slate of events, though. He opts to pick and choose a select few events to play in between grinding live pot-limit Omaha cash games. He won the $580 no-limit hold’em for $22,008.
Trudeau had the most impressive series of the three now two-time ring winners. Trudeau won the $1,125 no-limit hold’em for $43,199 for his second ring, but more importantly than that, he won the casino champion title thanks three other cases, including a final table in the $365 no-limit hold’em re-entry, which resulted in fourth place for $38,344 and a 22nd place finish in the main event. He technically tied Josh Turner for the lead with 102.5 points, but wins the title because he won the tiebreaker because he won more money over the course of the two weeks.
Not all the notable pros were adding another ring to their collection. Some broke through for their first after being around for quite some time. The only two non-hold’em events that were on the schedule were both won by pros that scored their first Circuit ring.
Robert Cote, known to many as ‘Bob,’ won his first Circuit ring in a game that he’s never played before, Big O. Cote won the $365 Big O tournament for $14,976. While he’s never technically played the game, Cote does have a baseline idea of the concepts involved. He plays pot-limit Omaha and pot-limit Omaha hi-lo cash games for a living in the Houston area. His time spent in those games gave him enough knowledge to add a fifth card to his hand and ride that extra card to a Circuit ring.
Maxx Coleman won the other non-hold’em event. The pro from Kansas used to make his living playing tournaments, but recently transitioned to live pot-limit Omaha cash games. It only makes sense that he would win the $1,125 pot-limit Omaha for $43,471. Coleman can now join his better half as a ring winner. His girlfriend, Michelle Chin, won the Horseshoe Council Bluffs main event to become the first woman to win a Circuit main event.
One poker pro didn’t actually earn a ring, but still was a central part of the storyline in the last event of the series. Jesse McVicker, a poker pro from Oklahoma, watched his father, Virgil, win a ring in the $365 no-limit hold’em event.
The older McVicker wanted to use the win to become closer to his son, who he taught the game of poker. In an emotional interview following his win, the elder McVicker expressed regret that he wasn’t able to spend time with his son growing up. He was serving multiple tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan as a Chief Warrant Officer 4 in the U.S. Army. Even though his son is a successful poker pro, Virgil was the first McVicker to take home a ring.
Steven Williams, Trung Pham and Michel Dumas also won their first rings at Choctaw. Williams won the $365 no-limit hold’em monster stack, Pham won the $365 no-limit hold’em re-entry event and Dumas took home another $365 no-limit hold’em event.
While Choctaw added a stop to the schedule in the fall, they are still having their usual series in January. That series will run from January 3-15.