The latest winner of WSOPC gold here at the Circuit Events at Harrah’s Tunica is James Kirk a 26-year-old IT consultant from Atlanta, GA.

‘Tripp’ as he is known, says that he is actually James the third, and that he shares a name with the lead character of the Star Trek series of television shows and movies, Captain James T. Kirk, makes it easy for his friends (and this tournament reporter) to take cheap shots at him.

Star Trek is one of the most popular television and movie franchises of all time and has been a favorite of generations since it first aired in 1968.

“Very few people know me by my real name, but my friends give me a hard time about it,” he said.

Kirk beat out 212 players in the $555 buy-in, 6-max no-limit hold’em event to take down the WSOP Circuit ring and first place prize money, worth $25,220.

The total prize pool generated in the Wednesday-start event amounted to $103,305. At the end of day one, 18 players remained. The final three tables returned at 2:00 pm Thursday to play down to a winner and after two and a half hours, it was down to the final table.





Chip Count

Rusty Boyker

Houston, TX



Radwan Khuri

Memphis, TN



Jay Thielemier

Cordova, TN



James ‘Tripp’ Kirk

Atlanta, GA



Steve Vuylsteke

St. Louis, MO



Jim Quick

Decatur, TN




Sixth Place

With the elimination of Justin Kruger in seventh place, the official final table got underway at about 4:30 pm with blinds and antes at 5,000/10,000/2,000. The short stack at the final table, Rusty Boyker, got his remaining chips in the middle from the big blind with    and got a call from Kirk who turned over   . The flop came    , putting Kirk even farther ahead where he stayed after a   turn and   on the river. Boyker, a 43-year-old mechanic from Houston, TX was the first final table elimination of the evening. He earned $4,807 for sixth. 

Fifth Place

Blinds were at the 6,000/12,000/2,000 level when Radwan Khuri took critical damage to his chip stack after calling off over three quarters of his stack to Kirk, who lead the betting all the way on a       board. A hand later, Khuri was all-in for his remaining 110k with    and was called by Kirk, who showed   . Kirk double paired his hole cards on the board, besting Khuri’s pair of aces and sending him to the rail in fifth. Khuri is a 56-year-old psychiatrist from Memphis, TN. His fifth final table here at Harrah’s Tunica earned him $6,303.


By now, blinds were up to 8,000/16,000.


Fourth Place

From the time play was at seven-handed, Jay Thielemier managed to double five times, his stack up as much as nearly 200,000 and as low as 20,000. On his sixth all-in however, his    was unable to improve against Jim Quick’s pocket queens, which held through a king-high board. Thielemier is a 52-year-old retail manager from Cordova, TN. He pocketed $8,391 for fourth place.


Third Place

With 1.5 million in chips, Quick had a dominating chip lead over his final two foes, Steve Vuylsteke with 260,000 and Kirk, who had 670,000. Quick lost some ground however, after doubling Vuylsteke, who in turn shipped those chips to Kirk in an all-in hand with    vs. Kirk’s pocket 8’s. Kirk spiked an eight on a flop with his set holiding through the river. Vuylsteke is a 39-year-old contractor from St. Louis, MO. For his third place finish, he earned $11,346.


Second Place

Heads up play began shortly before 7:30 pm with Kirk and Quick nearly even in chips. Kirk managed to gain the upper hand after doubling through Quick, putting himself at a 2.5 to 1 chip lead over his opponent. The final hand of the night saw Quick all-in with    vs. the pocket deuces of Kirk. The final board of the night was dealt out       to give Kirk the victory, worth $25,220 and the coveted gold WSOP Circuit Event ring.

For his runner-up finish, Quick pocketed $15,590. Despite the healthy sum of cash, it was a disappointing result for the 65 year-old, who in his seventh cash finish here at Harrah’s Tunica, had his sights set on his first piece of WSOP Circuit jewelry. “Sarge” as he is known, is a 24-year veteran of the armed forces, serving in both the US Army and the Air Force. 


Kirk stated before the final table that his poker ambition was to win a $555 buy-in, 6-max no limit hold’em event and as solid as a player that he is, it is guaranteed that this tournament will not be his final frontier.  

Still to come are 37 events and 6 ring events. See the complete Harrah’s Tunica Circuit schedule and previous results here.  The WSOP Circuit at Tunica runs through February 15th. You can find the complete 2010/2011 WSOP CIRCUIT SCHEDULE here.