Steve Grant Takes Gold Ring and $23,697 Cash Prize
New Orleans, LA – The most recent World Series of Poker Circuit tournament concluded at Harrah’s New Orleans today.  The winner was Steve Grant, a 24-year-old part-time local poker player from New Orleans.  Grant won $23,697 for first place, plus the coveted gold ring, presented to all WSOP Circuit winners.  

Grant is currently working as a truck driver for a local wine and spirits company.  However, he enjoys playing poker in his spare time and concentrates mostly on cash games. Grant had previously entered only a limited number of poker tournaments, but managed to cash a few times here in New Orleans back in 2007.  He had two 12th-place finishes in tournaments held on the WSOP Circuit that year.  Grant had not done much in tournaments since then, but sure came back in grand style with this showing, his first major tournament victory ever.

This was the seventh gold ring event (of 19) on this year’s WSOP Circuit schedule at Harrah’ New Orleans. Attendance at this year’s tournament continues to be impressive.  Attendance remains well ahead of last year’s numbers.  Through the conclusion of Event #8, overall tournament attendance is up 11 percent over the same point last year here at the WSOP Circuit.

The $500 (+50) buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament was played over two consecutive days during May 11th and 12th.  The tournament attracted 195 entries.  The top 18 finishers divided a prize pool totaling $89,425.
After 186 players were eliminated on the first day, final table play began on a Wednesday afternoon.  

The final table included Dwyte Pilgrim, who was shooting for his fourth WSOP Circuit gold ring.  Pilgrim hoped to join Mark “Pegasus” Smith and Men “the Master” Nguyen as the all-time WSOP Circuit gold ring winners (with four each).  Pilgrim, who was the unofficial WSOP Circuit player of the year last season, ended up with a disappointing ninth-place finish, but still remains one of the Circuit’s players to watch in future events.

Joseph Hebert arrived at the Final Table with a substantial chip lead.  In fact, he was nearly 2 to 1 over his closest rival, Jeff Winget.  The eventual winner, Steve Grant began play with about an average-sized stack.  He took the chip lead when play reached five handed and was never in serious danger of losing his stack as play became shorter handed.

When Final Table play began at 3:00 pm, the nine finalists and their starting chip counts were as follows:




Chip Count


 J.R. Bailey

New Orleans, LA



Jeff Winget

Wattonville, IL



Dwyte Pilgrim

Brooklyn, NY



Steve Grant

New Orleans, LA



Stephen “Snackie” Danos

Marrero, LA



Stephen Cook

Springfield, IL



Edward Freking III

Clute, TX



Red Miller

Notasulga, AL



Joseph Hebert

Metairie, LA


Note:  Chip counts (above) were taken when play was ten-handed.  The 10th-place finisher was Robert “Cat Chaser” Schorr, who sat down with 105,000 in chips.  Official final tables are comprised of only nine players.

Final Table play lasted about six hours and ended at 8:00 pm.  Players were eliminated in the following order:

Ninth Place:  No Fourth Gold Ring for Dwyte Pilgrim
Brooklyn-native Dwyte Pilgrim had chips when play started, but nothing went right for the three time gold ring winner who achieved his last WSOP Circuit victory just two months ago at Harrah’s Rincon (San Diego).  Pilgrim lost a few early pots and went out quickly, ended up with $2,459 in prize money.  It should be noted that Pilgrim holds the record for the player with the most cashes, final tales, and wins of any player on the WSOP Circuit over the past two seasons.

Eighth Place:  “Snackie’s” Chips Become a Nice Snack  
Stephen “Snackie” Danos was one of three low stacks and went out about a half hour into play when his QT lost a race against 77.  Snackie’s chips were gobbled up and he had to settle for $2,906.  This marked his third time to cash in a WSOP Circuit event.

Seventh Place:  Cook Fried
Another short-stacked player was Stephen Cook.  The small business owner from Springfield, IL has played in several poker events throughout the Midwest.  He cashed in an event at the 2007 WSOP in Las Vegas.  This was his first cash in a WSOP Circuit event – worth $3,577.

Sixth Place:  Somebody Shot J.R.
J.R. Bailey, a local player from New Orleans, picked up AQ on what turned out to be his final hand.  He ran into AK, which had him dominated.  Both players caught an ace, but Bailey was in kicker trouble all the way.  He ended up busting out in sixth place, which paid $4,471.   

Fifth Place:  Winget Flies Away
Jeff Winget, a poker dealer from Wattonville, IL made a nice run.  But he ended up losing most of his chips late and went out holding A6 against AK.  A six failed to materialize on his last hand, leaving Winget with a nice finish in this tournament, worth $5,589 in prize money.  Winget’s previous cashes include a tournament last month at Harrah’s St. Louis as well as a major tournament held in Tulsa, OK.

Fourth Place:  Red Miller Sees Red
James “Red” Miller picked up pocket 6s on his final hand.  He moved all in hoping to double up, but ran into pocket aces.  Miller failed to improve and went out after about three hours of poker playing in the finale.  Miller, who is self employed and lives in Notasulga, AL earned a nice payout totaling $7,154.  This marked his first time to cash in a WSOP-related tournament.

Third Place:  Freking Dethrowned
Edward Freking III, a 26-year-old part-time poker player from Clute, TX took a bad beat late in the tournament when he moved all in with AQ, and got a call from A4.  Unfortunately, a four flopped, leaving Freking drawing slim.  He missed on the turn and river and ultimately had to settle for a third place payout a few hands later, worth $9,166.  Freking, who cashed in a previous WSOP Circuit event held at Harrah’s Tunica (2009) enjoyed what was his highest WSOP-related cash ever.

Second Place:  Hebert Finishes as Runner Up
Joseph Hebert, from nearby Metairie, LA ended up in second place.  He was short-stacked to Steve Grant throughout the final heads up match.  He managed to double up once, but finally went out on a bad beat.

On the final hand, Hebert was dealt   .  Grant was dealt   .  Hebert raised pre-flop, and Grant moved all in.  Hebert snap called then watched in horror as a five fell on the flop.  Hebert caught no help from the deck and was left shaking his head looking at a final board that showed:       .  Grant's pair of fives won the final hand of the tournament.  For his fine effort, Hebert collected a nice consolation prize amounting to $14,308.  This was his best showing ever in a poker tournament.

First Place:  Steve Grant Wins First Major!   
Steve Grant, who drives a truck for a wine and spirits company in New Orleans, motored away with the top prize in Event #7.  He received $23,697 for first place, plus his first WSOP Circuit gold ring.