Elik Vodovoz is the latest WSOP Circuit Main Event winner, after winning the $1,700 No-Limit Hold’em Main Event at Horseshoe Hammond. Vodovoz bested a field of 1,050 players to win his first WSOP gold circuit ring and $294,290. While he knows the money will definitely help, it didn’t seem to be the biggest concern.

“Frankly, I really like playing poker,” he said. “I just have fun playing. My son is also playing and he told me ‘you’re playing well. Take your time and in the future, you will win something.’ Well, the future came early.”

Vodovoz is a 72-year old retired dentist, originally from Ukraine. He’s married with two kids and says the money will really help his family out. This is by far his biggest score since he mostly plays local, smaller buyin events. This tournament was not different as Vodovoz earned his seat into the main in a $220 satellite.

Vodovoz says his goal for the tournament was just to make it to the end of each day. He said he was confident in his play and when he got to the final table he felt even more confident he could beat the players remaining. He did and he happened to do it extremely fast. The players returned Monday at noon with 17 remaining. In about four and a half hours the field of 17 was gone and only Vodovoz remained.

Vodovoz also wins a free entry into the 2019 WSOP Global Casino Championship, to be held at Harrah’s Cherokee in August.

His friends on the rail had some questions.

“But isn’t that an invitational?” someone asked.

Yes, it is and Vodovoz has now been invited.

Defending Global Casino Championship bracelet winner Warren Sheaves took another step toward defending his title by accruing points in the heads up tournament and finishing 90th in the main event.

Other players finishing in the money include Josh Reichard (15th) was eliminated early in Day 3 by Vodovoz. Maurice Hawkins finished in 21st place and Valentin Vornicu’s record 12 circuit rings are still the top despite the best efforts of Hawkins and Reichard.