It was nearly 6 A.M. in Bloomington, IN when Tony Utnage and his friend Justin Brown had just wrapped up a long session of online cash games. Needing to unwind and not yet ready for sleep, they decided to make the two hour drive down to the Horseshoe Southern Indiana in order to blow off some steam in the World Series of Poker Circuit $350 No-Limit Hold ‘em event that was kicking off at noon.
What was supposed to be a nice, relaxing poker event turned into a two-day grind for Utnage. After Day One, he found himself near the top of the leader board despite not sleeping for nearly 40 hours. Still wound up from the day of play, he didn’t even fall asleep until nearly 6 A.M. on Saturday morning.
The field of 366 players had been whittled down to 21 by the time play started at 2 P.M. and in just over two hours, the final table was set. Utnage, fueled by energy drinks and adrenaline, had surged to the top of the chip counts.
The chip counts going in to the final table were as follows:
1. Tony Utnage 790,000
2. Austin McCormick 730,000
3. Jason Li 591,000
4. Michael Foster 503,000
5. Woo Shin 365,000
6. Jordan Rowden 312,000
7. Peter Sullivan 129,000
8. Ferris McManus 119,000
9. Samuel Murphy 75,000
After the quick departures of Woo Shin, Ferris McManus, Samuel Murphy and Michael Foster, Jordan Rowden started taking control of the table. He was already the chip leader when Pete Sullivan moved all in for his last 148,000 with . Rowden woke up with in the big blind and the aces held to send Sullivan to the rail in fifth place.
Shortly after, Austin McCormick limped from the small blind and Utnage raised to 64K from the big blind. McCormick made the call and the flop came down . McCormick checked and Utnage fired 68,000. McCormick quickly raised to 136,000 and Utnage moved all in. After a few minutes of deliberation, McCormick made the call and turned over . However, he had been out flopped by Utnage’s . The on the turn and on the river did not improve McCormick and he was eliminated in fourth place.
With that pot, Utnage had retaken the chip lead and would soon add to it.
Jordan Rowden raised to 120K before the flop and was called by Utnage in the big blind. The flop came and Rowden immediately moved all in. Utnage tanked for nearly ten minutes, talking himself through the hand while a short stacked Jason Li looked on. Finally, Utnage announced a call and turned up for middle pair. His read was correct as Rowden showed for king high. The turn was the , giving Rowden a flush draw but the on the river gave the massive pot to Utnage. Rowden was eliminated in third place for $10,322.
Just moments later, the short stack Li got his last few chips in the middle with but was unable to draw out on the of Utnage. Li took second place for $14,126.
What was supposed to be a sleep deprived few hours of live poker fun for Tony Utnage turned into a $22,859 payday. The online pro, who has over one million dollars in online career winnings, takes home his first Circuit Ring and 50 points towards the National Championship event.
While most would go home and grab some sleep after such a huge win, Utnage had to get home to start grinding online once again…
Payouts at the final table were as follows:
1. Tony Utnage $22,859
2. Jason Li $14,126
3. Jordan Rowden $10,322
4. Austin McCormick $7,664
5. Peter Sullivan $5,779
6. Michael Foster $4,423
7. Samuel Murphy $3,435
8. Ferris McManus $2,705
9. Woo Shin $2,161
Play continues today at the Horseshoe with the start of the $1,600 WSOPC Main Event.
For the full schedule of events at the Horseshoe Southern Indiana Circuit, click here.
For more information about the WSOP Circuit National Championship, click here.