The third time is the proverbial charm, at least for Rossville, Georgia's Matthew Higgins. Higgins closed out a near wire-to-wire victory to win $101,326 and his first Circuit gold ring in Event #2, No-Limit Hold'em $500K Guarantee, after entering the day with a commanding lead and continuing to gain ground through most of Day 2 before closing out a fast-paced final table.
Higgins' early dominance of this event brought back thoughts of two similar Circuit main events here at Harrah's Cherokee, where he surged to an opening-day lead but faltered short of a Circuit win. That wasn't the case this time out, though he did have a momentary setback, dropping four million in chips just before the dinner break, dropping briefly into third. Once the players returned, though, Higgins regained those chips and more, never relinquishing the lead again.
Higgins closed out his final opponent, Narimaan "Nick" Ahmadi, to a loud eruption from his considerable rail, earning his largest-ever WSOP cash. All six of Higgins' career WSOP cshes have come in Circuit events in Cherokee.
Ahmadi's solid second-place showing, worth, $63,530, was likewise his best WSOP cash. The same was true for third-place finisher Raveesh Asnani, who collected $48,923 this night.
"It feels amazing," said Higgins. "I've been close a bunch of times." He noted his breakthrough win here reversed his bad luck at his last Cherokee final table, when he crashed out after getting his chips in with ace-king against ace-queen pre-flop. This time around, though, the luck found Higgins right through to the winner's celebration.