It was definitely Friday night at the Choctaw Resort and Casino. After 388 players put up $555 to play in the final World Series of Poker Circuit Ring event before the Main kicked off, the final table was set late on Friday. Contrary to previous final tables that had taken place, a huge crowd had gathered up on the stage to watch the final ten players battle it out for the WSOPC Ring and a first place prize of over $40,000.

Most of the fans on hand were there to see two local players, Justin Gardenhire and Nic Johnson, battle it out. Raises were cheered, folds were booed, every announced all in cause a rush up to the table and the cocktail waitresses were bringing a steady stream of beverages to the fans. It was like watching the fans at a football game cheer their team on as the game progressed.

Much like a football game, one set of fans would end up celebrating a victory while the others would see their team fall just short.

The chip counts by seat assignments going into the final table were as follows:

1. Michael Vardeman 1,189,000

2. Quan Nguyen 286,000

3. Jeremy Barber 270,000

4. Marybeth Searcy 405,000

5. Justin Gardenhire 745,000

6. Ali Jafari 215,000

7. Allen Roberts 708,000

8. Omar Zazay 102,000

9. Greg “Yoda” Jacobs 131,000

10. Nic Johnson 606,000

10th Place - $3,109

Early at the final table, Jeremy Barber ran his    straight into the    of Ali Jarari. The board of       brought no help to Barber and the poker dealer from Hooks, Texas was eliminated in tenth place.

9th Place - $3,841, 8th Place - $4,808

Quan Nguyen, who finished fifth in the HORSE Ring Event just days earlier, lost a big pot and was down to his last 17,000 in chips when he moved all in. Marybeth Searcy called from the small blind and Justin Gardenhire raised an additional 75,000 from the big blind. Searcy made the call and the three players saw a flop of    . Searcy bet out 75,000 and Gardenhire made the call. The turn was the   and Searcy fired 100,000. Again, Gardenhire called and the river was the  . Searcy put out another 100,000 only to be raised by Gardenhire to 225,000. After a few moment, Searcy shoved all in and was instantly called by Gardenhire.

Justin Gardenhire turned up    for the nut straight. Marybeth Searcy tossed    into the much and Quan Nguyen threw away his   . Gardenhire took the huge pot and eliminated Nguyen in ninth place and Searcy in eighth place on the same hand.

7th Place - $6,104

Omar Zazay was Justin Gardenhire’s next victim.   Zazay moved all in before the flop with    and was called by Gardenhire with   . The board ran out       and the Dallas, Texas native was sent home in seventh place.

6th Place - $7,860

Greg “Yoda” Jacobs moved all in pre flop and was called by Nic Johnson. Johnson showed    but was behind Jacob’s   . The flop of     gave Johnson a pair but he was still behind. His huge group of railbirds slowly creeped closer to the table and started calling out for a queen. The turn brought the   and the chants for queen grew even louder from his crew. Words cannot describe the eruption of cheers that took place when the   spiked on the river, giving Johnson trips and sending the man they call “Yoda” to the rail in sixth place.

5th Place - $10,270

After a series of pre flop, post flop and post turn bets, Nic Johnson fired out on a board of     . Mike Vardeman moved all in and Johnson went into the tank. After several minutes, he quietly announced call and turned over    for a pair of jacks and a flush draw. Vardeman said good call to Johnson as he turned over the    for a pair of deuces and a lower flush draw. The   on the river was no help to Laneville, Texas native and he was sent home in fifth place.

4th Place - $13,619

Ali Jafari from Houston, Texas moved all in from under the gun with    and almost made it around the table until Justin Gardenhire made the call from the big blind with   . The board came       and Jafari was eliminated from the tournament in fourth place.

3rd Place - $18,342

With play three handed and over 600,000 in the pot preflop, Justin Gardenhire and Allen Roberts saw a flop of    . Johnson checked and Roberts moved all in. Johnson snap called him and turned up    for top set. Roberts showed    for a pair of aces. The turn was the   and the river came the  . Johnson had the shorter stack and doubled up to over 2.9 million in chips. Roberts was left with just under 300,000.

A few hands later, Justin Gardenhire had taken a slight chip advantage over Nic Johnson when Johnson raised to 105,000 before the flop. Gardenhire moved all in and Johnson announced call. Gardenhire turned up    but was behind Johnson’s   . Each players fans rushed up to the table to watch how the hand would unfold.  The winner of the pot would hold over four million of the 4.6 million chips in play.

It was Justin Gardenhire’s rail that would erupt this time as the flop came down    , giving Gardenhire trip jacks and a monster lead in the hand. The turn was the   and the river came the  . Gardenhire raked in the biggest pot of the tournament and sent Johnson, a professional poker player from Schertz, Texas, home in third place for $18,342.

2nd Place - $25,102

Holding a massive chip lead, it didn’t take long for Justin Gardenhire to finish the job. After Gardenhire raised to 80,000 before the flop, Allen Roberts moved all in with   . Gardenhire made the call with    and the flop came out    . Roberts maintained his lead even as the   hit the turn. However, Gardenhire’s already excited railbirds rushed the table and mobbed their man when the   fell on the river. Gardenhire made a pair of aces on the river to eliminate Allen Roberts in second place for $25,102.

1st Place - $40,616

Justin Gardenhire, his wife Lindsey and his huge rail celebrated his first World Series of Poker Circuit victory. Gardenhire, a Ponca City, Oklahoma native, takes home the Circuit Ring and the first place prize of $40,616.

He will try and parlay his momentum into today’s Main Event, which already has over 800 players registered and a prize pool of well over one million dollars!

See the complete Choctaw Circuit schedule and previous results here.  The WSOP Circuit at Choctaw runs through January 24th. You can find the complete 2010/2011 WSOP CIRCUIT SCHEDULE here.