HARRAH'S NEW ORLEANS CIRCUIT - HUB

May 10, 2018 - 12:54:01 PM EST  | 

HARRAH

This page is the hub for information on the WSOP Circuit at Harrah's New Orleans. Check back here for updated information and links on this ongoing tournament series.

Players battle for points in the final event of the season while Darren Martin leads final 13 in the main event  

New Orleans, LA (20 May 2018) - With the conclusion of Sunday's action, the final Circuit series is down to its final day. The last main event of the season is down to 13 players with Darren Martin pacing the field and in the final event of the series, there are some serious sweats at the final at-large bids for the 2018 Global Casino Championship. 

Day 2 of the main event kicked off at noon with 120 players remaining and 72 cashing. The money bubble burst just after the first break of the day before the field was whittled down to the final 13 players. Darren Martin and John Skinner sit atop the chip counts and everybody remaining is guaranteed a cash of at least $12,745. The winner will walk away with $208,184 and a seat into the GCC.

Even though the biggest money of the series was being played in the main event, as the night got later, there was a ton of commotion near the final event of the series, a $365 double stack no-limit hold'em. They played slightly past the scheduled 18 levels and played into level 19 just to break the money bubble.

Nearly 18 minutes into level 19, the money bubble burst and the final 45 players were in the money and bagged up chips. The crowd was building because there are several people remaining in that event who are jockeying for points to earn a spot in the last few at-large bids for the GCC.

Marshall White (pictured) finished with a top 10 stack and after a 44th place finish earlier in the day in the main event, he is nearly a lock to get one of the final spots. Other players who will be sweating points on the final day include Bryan Devonshire, Ari Engel, Gregory Armand, Abraham Araya and Allen Kessler. There are point jumps when there are 27 and 17 players remaining, and of course every finish at the final table.


Here is a look at what's on tap for Monday:

Ring Events:

Restarts

12:00 PM - Event #9: $1,675 No-Limit Hold'em Main Event

1:00 PM - Event #12: $365 Double Stack No-Limit Hold'em

  • 45 Players Remain, Jorge Nieto Leads
  • Everybody guaranteed at least a min-cash of $522
  • Chip Counts
  • Payouts

    Other Tournaments:

    11 AM - $250 Super Deepstack No-Limit Hold'em




    Completed Events

    Event #1: $365 No-Limit Hold'em Re-Entry - Valentin Vornicu defeats 1,340 entries to win $64,205
    Official Report | Winner Photo | Results

    Event #2: $580 No-Limit Hold'em - Abraham Araya defeats 208 Entries to win $27,043
    Official Report | Winner Photo | Results

    Event #3: $365 No-Limit Hold'em 1-Day - Valentin Vornicu defeats 349 entries to win $24,084
    Official Report | Winner Photo | Results

    Event #4: $365 Pot-Limit Omaha - Sandeep Vasudevan defeats 152 entries to win $12,314
    Official Report | Winner Photo | Results 

    Event #5: $365 No-Limit Hold'em Six-Max - Brennan Benglis defeats 336 entries to win $25,206
    Official Report | Winner Photo | Results

    Event #6: $365 No-Limit Hold'em Monster Stack - Raymond Curran defeats 707 entries to win $43,479
    Official Report | Winner Photo | Results

    Event #7: $365 No-Limit Hold'em 1-Day - Terry Melancon defeats 311 entries to win $21,927
    Official Report | Winner Photo | Results

    Event #8: $2,200 No-Limit Hold'em High Roller - Maurice Hawkins defeats 128 entries to win $71,680
    Official Report | Winner Photo | Results

    Event #10: $365 No-Limit Hold'em Single-Day - Don Dove defeats 234 entries to win $17,551
    Official Report | Winner Photo | Results

    Event #11: $365 No-Limit Hold'em Single-Day - A.J. Allee defeats 258 entries to win $18,965
    Official Report | Winner Photo | Results


     Casino Championship Race

    There was no major movement in the Casino Champion race on Sunday. Valentin Vornicu holds the lead, but Maurice Hawkins or Abraham Araya could take the title from him with a first or second place finish in the final event of the series. 

    If Araya wins the title, that will affect the top 50 at-large spots for the GCC since it is expected that Vornicu or Hawkins would be removed from that list with an automatic bid, whereas Araya is currently on the outside of the top 50.

    Casino Champion Leaderboard


    About the Winners

     

    Event #1 - Valentin Vornicu

    Before the first event of the Harrah's New Orleans Circuit stop, the 34-year-old poker pro from San Diego was already one of the most accomplished players in the history of the tour. After defeating 1,340 entries in the $365 no-limit hold'em re-entry event, he added another $64,205 to his career earnings and moved into sole possession of the top spot on the all-time ring leaderboard.

    The win in New Orleans was his 11th career Circuit ring, which broke a deadlock between Vornicu and Maurice Hawkins atop the list, giving Vornicu the top spot all to himself for the first time in his career. 

    Vornicu's sole reason for traveling across the country to New Orleans was to earn points and make sure he qualified for the Global Casino Championship. With 50 points for his win, he nearly guaranteed a spot in August's event.

    Event #2 - Abraham Araya

    The 41-year-old from Texas won his third career ring in the $580 no-limit hold'em six years after taking down his first two rings in the span of two months.

    Araya's first ring came in 2012 after winning the Choctaw main event for over $270,000. To this day, it's still his largest career score and it came at the most opportune time for him. Araya immigrated to America from East Africa nearly two decades ago and worked for 18 years as an airplane mechanic. He was laid off just before he won the Choctaw main event and he used the money he won at the table to start his own business.

    Now, he and his wife run a family business. Working for himself has given him more freedom to work on his game and travel a little bit more for tournaments further away from home. According to Araya, when he first started winning tournaments, he wasn't that good, but his win in the $580 no-limit hold'em was the first time that he truly outplayed his opponents.

    Event #3 - Valentin Vornicu

    Vornicu made himself the most decorated player in Circuit history by winning the first event of the series, but if there was anybody questioning his skill, he put those questions to rest by winning his 12th Circuit ring in the very next event he played, the $365 no-limit hold'em single day event.

    Event #4 - Sandeep Vasudevan

    Vasudevan works in a VP role for Bank of America while playing poker as a serious hobby. He plays mostly pot-limit Omaha cash games around his hometown of San Antonio. He and his family make a yearly trip to New Orleans for Mother's Day and on this trip, he left with his second ring in the $365 pot-limit Omaha event.

    The 39-year-old grew up in India and immigrated to San Antonio about 15 years ago. He played chess at the collegiate level in India and found poker thanks to his co-worker. Between his love of competition and mental battles, poker was a perfect fit for him.

    "I moved to Texas, didn't know anything about poker, found out about it from a friend, read every book I could and here I am," joked Vasudevan.

    Event #5 - Brennan Benglis

    Benglis is a Louisiana native that now lives in Austin, TX. He won the $365 no-limit hold'em six-max event for $25,206 and his first ring, but the win meant much more to him than that. Benglis' first ring after 13 years of grinding fulfilled a promise that he made to his late grandmother. That he was going to win a big poker tournament for her.

    Benglis cited his grandmother as inspiration for him throughout his life and after he was diagnosed with ADHD, and the consummate family man credits his son for changing his outlook on life. After his two-year-old son, Theo, was born, Benglis knew that every hand of poker he played wasn't just for him. That he was trying to do right by his son and give him the best possible life he could.

    The 33-year-old has lived and breathed poker from the moment he went to Vegas at 18 years old and watched his best friend's father finish 11th in the 2004 WSOP Main Event. From that moment on, he began playing and dealing, and dedicated most of his time to the game.

    Event #6 - Raymond Curran

    Curran has been playing poker for a living for quite some time, but stuck exclusively to cash games in his current residence of Biloxi. He took some advice from some fellow Mississippi-based pros and started taking shots in tournaments.

    After just five months of taking his shot at the tournament scene, he took down his first ring in the $365 no-limit hold'em monster stack event. It was only fitting that his first title came in the monster stack since the deeper stacks allowed him to maneuver his chips closer to how he would in a cash game setting.

    Curran defeated Michael Monaghan, a poker friend of his from Biloxi, heads-up. It was no easy final table for Curran to run over. Outside of a lengthy heads-up battle with Monaghan, he also battled four-time ring winner Jeffrey Trudeau, who was eliminated in third and Charlie Dawson missed out on his second ring with a fourth place finish.

    Event #7 - Terry Melancon

    Melancon is from a small town just outside of Lafayette called Breaux Bridge, which is the crawfish capital of the country. Melancon plays poker as a hobby and works for New York Life, working in investments and insurance full-time.

    He dominated the final table on very little sleep. After busting out of yesterday's tournament and playing cash until the early hours of the morning, Melancon had problems getting a good night's rest. After just a couple hours of sleep, Melancon got up, got some breakfast and then decided to enter this morning's $365 no-limit hold'em single-day event.

    Nearly 17 hours later, Melancon won his first ring and $21,927. From three-handed down, it was a battle of Lafayette area poker players. Michael Benton busted in third and Melancon disposed of Michael Fontenot in second to give him bragging rights around his hometown.

    Event #8 - Maurice Hawkins

    Hawkins was already one of the most successful players in Circuit history before the series started and with his win in the $2,200 no-limit hold'em high roller event, he added another notch on his Circuit belt. Hawkins' win was his 11th ring and moves him back within one of another tie with Valentin Vornicu for the all-time lead. 

    Vornicu won his 11th and 12th rings in the first two events he played this series and Hawkins immediately answered back with a win of his own. He defeated 128 entries and earned another $71,680. The first place money puts Hawkins over the $2 million mark in career WSOP earnings alone. 

    After his win, Hawkins reflected back to this event last year, where he finished fourth and immediately went home in frustration. He didn't stay for the main event and he went on to have a successful summer at the Rio, where he made two final tables. According to Hawkins, he thinks that there will be similar, if not better success, this summer with the way he is playing.

    Event #10 - Don Dove

    Dove is the first local player to earn a ring this series. Dove took down the $365 no-limit hold'em single day event, earning $17,551 for his win in the 234-entry field. Dove lives in New Orleans and plays at Harrah's regularly, but doesn't play anything outside of the region.

    He felt that with his experience playing in smaller tournaments with faster structures, that he was very well prepared for this structure with 20-minute levels the whole way through.

    Dove was born and raised in Baltimore, but moved down to Alabama for graduate school, where he got his MFA in creating writing at the University of Alabama. He currently works as a freelance writer in New Orleans when he isn't playing poker.

    Event #11 - A.J. Allee 

    Allee is a banker from San Antonio that won the $365 no-limit hold'em single-day event. He defeated 258 entries and won $18,965 for his first Circuit title. Both Allee and his wife play and travel together to play poker tournaments. Allee is leaving with a Circuit ring, but his wife found success in New Orleans as well, taking down a nightly tournament earlier in the series. 

    Aside from poker, which is one of his biggest passions, Allee has his pilot's license and enjoys flying himself to different spots on the map to play poker. Allee flew himself from San Antonio to New Orleans and plans on flying out with his wife to Las Vegas for their next poker trip.

    The 50-year-old Texan made short work of the final table, finishing it off in about an hour, and ending the entire event in about 14 hours, giving Allee an hourly wage of $1,354/hour on Saturday.


     
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