2006 World Series of Poker Circuit
Grand Casino Tunica – Tunica, MS
Official Report
Event #14
No-Limit Hold’em
Championship Event
Sept. 11-13 2000
Buy-In: $5,000 +$150
Number of Entries: 138
Total Prize Money: $658,300 (+ Seat into 2008 WSOP Main Event)

Rising Young Superstar Jordan Morgan Wins Grand Tunica 5K Championship

Click here to view the official results.

Tunica, MS—The focus at the final table of the WSOP Circuit championship at Grand Casino Tunica was on young Jordan Morgan. Just 23, playing five years and a pro for two, he already had eight cashes and two final tables at the WSOP, a second at the U.S. Poker Classic at the Taj Mahal, and total earnings to date of $836,000! He did not disappoint as he won the event, pushing his earnings past $1 million by cashing for $216,852, along with a gold and diamond trophy ring and a $10,000 buy-in to next year’s World Series main event along with $1,000 expense money.

Morgan, from Norman, Oklahoma, was a student before turning pro. His biggest strength, he said, is never being satisfied with his play, constantly learning and trying to get better through study, observation and discussion with his friends. He calls his style “very adaptable” and said he could open up his play once a very tough player on his left named Glyn Banks finished fifth. He said his other hobbies are golf and sleep. He was sorry his wife couldn’t be here, but his proud parents were on hand watching.

The final table began with 1,500-3,000 blinds, 500 antes, four minutes left at level 11, playing 90-minute rounds. In front with 245,800 chips was Terry Hawkins, who took the lead on Day 2 when his full house knocked out Samuel Chun.

Here were the seats and chip counts for Day 3.

  • Seat 1 Steve Hyvonen Cleveland, OH 93,600
  • Seat 2 Jerry Saucier Helena, AL 199,800
  • Seat 3 Jeff Cohen Parkland, FL 120,000
  • Seat 4 Mark Garner Little Rock, AR 124,000
  • Seat 5 Terry Hawkins Cordova, TN 245,800
  • Seat 6 Gil George Dallas, TX 36,700
  • Seat 7 Jordan Morgan Norman, OK 207,900
  • Seat 8 Glyn Banks Smithville, TN 119,100
  • Seat 9 Brian Rutland Saltillo, MS 234,000
  • On hand three, Brian Rutland, starting second in chips, rivered a set of 5s to rake in a 180,000 pot and move in front. Blinds went to 2,000-4,000. Hawkins soon regained the lead when his nut flush beat Morgan’s straight.

    Meanwhile, Gil George, lowest-chipped starter with 36,700, built up to 90,000 after going all in three times, the third when his Ah-3h made a straight.

    Up to hand 31, only George had gone all in. Then, Mark Garner pushed in his last 47,000 with A-10. Shrugging, Rutland called with A-K. The board came K-J-2-2-5, and Garner was first out, collecting $13,386 for ninth.

    Garner is a fixed-income investment broker from Little Rock, Arkansas who’s been playing three years. This is his third Circuit. His poker highlight was finishing 25th in last year’s WSOP main event. He is married with two children and enjoys golf, hunting and coaching youth soccer.

    Two hands later, the flop came K-Q-7. Steve Hyvonen, holding J-10, gambled with an open-end straight draw and pushed in all his 35,000. Jerry Saucier, in the big blind with Q-7, called. His paired queen held up, and Hyvonen took home $20,079 for eighth.

    Hyvonen, a news director for a TV station in Cleveland, was playing his secondCircuit event, getting his seat via mega-satellite. His best finish was a $10,000 win in a $500 event at Casino Windsor in Michigan. Hyvonen, married with two children, learned poker from TV.

    Ten hands later the level ended. The players returned to blinds of 3,000-6,000. Hawkins still led. There was soon a classic match-up when Banks, all in for 121,000 with A-K, hit a king on the river to beat Rutland’s pocket queens.

    Playing aggressively, Morgan had been picking up pots as players folded against him, and soon was challenging Hawkins for the lead. George, meanwhile, went all in a sixth time, getting a chop. He should have been on that “Survivor” TV show.

    As the level ended, Morgan had moved into the lead with 315,000, followed by Hawkins, 293,000; Banks, 260,000; Rutland, 176,000; Jeff Cohen, 120,000; Saucier, 130,000; and “The Survivor,” 74,000. The players returned to 4,000-8,000 blinds and 1,000 antes.

    George, all in for 35,000 with pocket aces survived (what else?) a seventh time. Hand 39: Cohen moves in for 71,000 with pocket 6s, loses to Banks’ pocket 8s, cashes out for $26,772, and declines to disclose any info about himself, other than to say “I made a bad play.” Anyway, he’s 49 and from Parkland, Florida.

    A few hands later, Rutland doubled through with pocket 9s against Banks’ 6-6 to briefly take the chip lead, until Hawkins reclaimed it soon after. Hand 144 was the key one so far. On a flop of A-Q-10, Morgan bet holding A-10, and Rutland, holding K-J for a straight, moved in. A 10 turned, filling Morgan and giving him a lead with about 600,000.

    Very low-chipped now, Rutland doubled through once, then finally went out on a bad beat. He re-raised all in with A-K against Saucier’s A-8, only to see an 8 flop and another turn, leaving him in sixth place, which paid $33,465.

    Rutland, 32, is from Jackson, Mississippi and works in marketing. He’s entered some 25 Circuits in four years of poker, making two final tables. His poker highlight was a second at Aruba. Rutland has two children and plays golf.

    Five hands later, Morgan opened for 35,000 with pocket 9s and Banks moved in for 135,000 with A-K. A board of J-9-8-6-Q gave Morgan a winning set as he climbed to 700,000, more than half the chips in play, while Banks cashed $40,158 in fifth place.

    Banks, nicknamed “Rachet,” divides his time between poker and real estate. Before that he was a meat company plant manager. He’s 47, has played about 30 years and finished third in this event last year. He has two children and likes to fish and golf.

    A few hands later, George moved in for the 11th time with As-9s. His luck finally ran out when Hawkins, calling with pocket queens, filled on a board of K-Q-9-J-K.

    George, 61, is from Dallas, and in commercial real estate. He’s played for “years,” made a final table at the WSOP, and won his seat here via satellite. He is married and enjoys water skiing and hunting. Fourth place paid him $51,938.

    After a break for a hosted gourmet dinner, the three finalists resumed play. Saucier soon began picking up blinds and antes with frequent all-ins. “Pretty easy,” said Hawkins. But he tried it once too often, pushing in with Jc-3c and running into Hawkins’ pocket aces. Saucier flopped a flush draw but missed and ended up third, worth $66,930. Saucier, from Helena, Alabama, is retired, married, and has two children and two grandchildren.

    By knocking Saucier out, Hawkins jumped into the lead with about 800.000 of the 1,380,000 chips in play. And now began the heads-up match, which would last 21 hands.

    A few deals later, blinds became 6,000-12,000 with 2,000 antes. Play was cautious, with no all-ins and no enormous pots, but Morgan, the more aggressive player, gradually moved up and finally pulled into a small lead.

    On the final hand, Morgan raised 45,000 pre-flop. The flop came 9c-8h-5c. Hawkins, with J-10 for an open-ended straight draw, bet 40,000 and then Morgan moved in. After long deliberation, Hawkins called. Morgan turned up 9d-2c. His paired nine was all he needed after a 4 and king didn’t help Hawkins. The tournament was over, and Morgan, our new Grand Casino Tunica WSOP Circuit champion, continued his dizzying ascent up the poker ladder.

    Hawkins, 50, is from Cordova, Tennessee, where he is a parts manager at a car dealership. He’s played poker 35 years, and this is his third Circuit event. Married with one child, he also likes fishing.