Cherokee, NC (24 April 2018) -- Action is complete at Harrah's Cherokee for the 24th of 26th stops in the 2017-18 Circuit Series. California pro Dylan Wilkerson's win in the $1,675 No-Limit Hold'em Main Event was the stop's headline story, but it was only one of several interesting winner's tales to emerge from Cherokee.
Wilkerson wasn't even planning on traveling until to Cherokee until he learned that close friend Joseph "subiime" Cheong would be playing a partial Circuit Cherokee slate in hopes of earning enough Casino Championship points to qualify for August's Global Casino Championship event, right here in Cherokee. Wilkerson was planning to be in the region anyway, and he thought it over and said to Cheong, "Let's go to Cherokee. Why not?"
Rarely do both halves of an impromptu plan work so well, as Cheong himself took down Event #11, thereby assuring himself enough points to qualify for the August championship. And he'll be spending more time with Wilkerson, whose Main Event win also secured a Global Casino Championship seat. Both players left Cherokee with rings. It's the second for Wilkerson (both in Circuit main events, and the third for Cheong, who's maintained star status ever since he finished third in the 2010 WSOP Main Event.
This series' Casino Champion was someone who already had an August invitation locked up, but had a great series here as well. Huntersville, NC's Steven Snyder (pictured) easily took top honors in this race by winning Event #5: $365 No-Limit Hold'em 6-Handed, adding a second-place finish in Event #9, $365 No-Limit Hold'em (1-Day), plus one other cash.
Other repeat ring winners in Cherokee included Michael Sewell, who outdueled Snyder in Event #9, and Event #3 $365 No-Limit Hold'em (1-Day) winner Gregory Kolo.
There were other feel-good stories emerging from Cherokee, from veterans and newcomers alike. Local star Matthew Higgins had put on impressive Day 1 shows in two previous Cherokee main events, only to fall short of a win. Here, in Event #2, $365 No-Limit Hold'em, Higgins finally snared that elusive first Circuit ring.
First-timer stories are great, too. Perhaps the best came from Atlanta's Rick Joyner, a radio-broadcast professional who made the trip to Cherokee at his friends' urging. Joyner entered the unofficial ring event $250 Seniors II No-Limit Hold'em on Sunday, busted his first bullet, then thought hard about re-entering. Joyner did, just before registration closed, and he ended up winning the whole thing.
Another breakthrough effort came from Hillsborough, NC's John Stephenson, who made his first Circuit cash a Cherokee ring-winning effort.Stephenson took down a tough final foe in ring-winner Ryan Jones to capture Event #12, $365 No-Limit Hold'em, the last event on the schedule here in Cherokee.
All told, the 12 official ring events in Cherokee drew 9,195 entries, and paid out a total of $4,261,200. The next stop on the Circuit tour is at Horseshoe Baltimore, April 26 through May 7, 2018.