CHESTER, PA - The WSOP Circuit Main Event at Harrah’s Chester came to a conclusion Tuesday evening.

The winner was poker pro Kenny Nguyen. Nguyen hails from Lynwood, IL. “Super Tuan” as he is known on the tournament Circuit, made his breakout performance back in September 2009 at the WPT Borgata Championship Event and is known for bringing a high level of energy to the poker table. 

Despite having earned over $330,000 in lifetime tournament earnings, Nguyen did not yet have major tournament title under his belt. He remedied that blemish on his resume with his three-day performance here at Harrah’s Chester.

269 players competed in the three-day, $1580 buy-in No Limit Hold’em Championship Event, generating a total prize pool of $391,395. The tournament drew a host of known pros, including “Miami” John Cernuto, Ari Engel, Sirous Jamshidi, Allen Kessler and Chris Reslock.

However, many of these and other notable pros would not see the light of day two play after being eliminated by the end of level 16 late Sunday. The end of day one chip leader was two-time WSOPC title holder, Huy Nguyen.

Huy had an up and down day two, ultimately ending up smack in the middle of the pack fifth in chips. Ramana Epparala, who had not cashed previously in a major tournament, went on a huge surge late in day two, leaving him with more than a third of the chips heading into the final stage.

Name

Hometown

Seat

Chip Count

Huy Nguyen

Norman, OK

1

429,000

Robert Hwang

Barnegat, NJ

2

274,000

Ed Cotter

Westwood, NJ

3

686,000

Ryan Waddell

Downingtown, PA

4

321,000

Sean Knitter

Philadelphia, PA

5

226,000

Ari Engel

Las Vegas, NV

6

411,000

Ramana Epparla

Reading, PA

7

1,950,000

Kenny Nguyen

Lynwood, IL

8

622,000

Robert Scott

New York, NY

9

467,000

 

 

 

 

Ninth Place

Final table play in the Main Event got underway just after noon EST with blinds and antes at 8,000/16,000/2,000. In early action, Epparla saw his monstrous stack reduced to half its size after doubling up Robert Hwang and Robert Scott.

Huy Nguyen also saw his starting day stack move far into the wrong direction. Halfway through the 10,000/20,000 level of blinds, Nguyen moved all-in for his remaining 290,000 in early position with pocket fours and was called by Ed Cotter, who tabled pocket kings. The kings held through the jack-high board, giving Cotter the pot and Nguyen an early exit from the final table stage.

Nguyen is a 25-year-old accountant from Norman, OK. After making his first cash in the 2010 WSOP, Nguyen went on in 2011 to win two WSOPC titles, one at the Circuit Events at Harrah’s St. Louis and one at the Choctaw Main Event near his hometown of Norman. He added $8,685 to his lifetime tournament earnings with his ninth place finish in the Harrah’s Chester Main Event. 

Eighth Place

A short while later, a critical hand developed when Robert Scott moved all-in for nearly a million in chips with pocket aces and was called by Epparla with A-K. Scott took the chip lead after the hand, leaving Epparla with 80,000.

Amazingly, Epparla fell to less than a single big blind, but was able to chip back up to 300,000, then to a million before the next player was eliminated. That player was Ryan Waddell, who was all-in for his few remaining big blinds with pocket fives vs. Epparla’s   . The flop came down    , giving Waddell the set, but Epparla was able to fill up as two sevens hit the turn and river, sending Waddell to the rail in stunning fashion. The Downingtown, PA resident took home $10,858 for eighth.

Seventh Place

Blinds crept up to the 20,000/40,000 level before the next elimination. Robert Hwang eventually found himself all-in vs. three live players. Among them was Scott, who after a     flop moved his two opponents off the pot and turned over pocket aces. Hwang was behind with    where he remained through the turn and river.

Hwang is a 40-year-old poker pro from Barnegat, NJ. He has numerous major tournament cashes since 2003, totaling over $1 million in lifetime earnings. For seventh place, Hwang was paid $13,790.

Sixth Place

The sixth place finisher was Ed Cotter. All-in with middle pair on a     flop, he was called by Epparla, who tabled pocket aces. Aces held through the river, sending Cotter to the payout table to collect $17,799 sixth place prize money

Fifth Place

Sean Knitter was able to get things going earlier in the day, but in the middle stages of play, took a beat after re-raising Scott all-in with middle pair on a     flop. Scott made the call with    and paired his ace on the turn before making trips on the river, ending Knitter’s tournament run.

Knitter is a poker player from Philadelphia, PA. Before poker, he was a D-1 standout on the Lafayette University basketball team and played professionally for seven years in Europe. He picked up $23,358 for his fifth place finish.

Fourth Place

With blinds at 25,000/50,000, Engel moved all-in from the big blind with A-5 for about 1.4 million. Hoping to take the pot from Epparala and Nguyen who were in for about 150,000 each, it was bad timing for Engel as Nguyen made the call with A-Q. Nguyen stayed ahead through the river, leaving Engel on the ropes. A few hands later, Engel was all-in with A-K vs. Nguyen’s 6-8 suited. Engel was eliminated after Nguyen made a straight on the river.

Engel is a 27-year-old poker pro and coach from Las Vegas, NV, originally from Brooklyn, NY. He has numerous major tournament cashes since 2006, worth over $359,000.  He added $31,179 to that total with his fourth place finish.

Third Place

Having started the day with 2/3’s of the chips in play, being reduced to less than a single big blind and then retaking the chip lead with over 2 million, Epparla had officially staged the largest swing in WSOPC Main Event final table history.

Unfortunately for him however, his roller coaster of a final table ended on a low note when he moved all-in after getting chipped back down to 750,000 with pocket 8’s.

Robert Scott called Epparla’s all-in with    and the two saw a flop of  [92s] . Scott still trailed after a   fell on the turn, but just before the river was dealt, someone from Scott’s rail yelled “ace of diamonds!!” and like magic, the   fell on the river. Scott and his rail erupted as he scooped the 1.5 million chip pot and ended Epparla’s tournament run.

Epparla hails from Reading, PA by way of India. The 46-year-old business owner and married father of three is a recreational player who had never before cashed in a major tournament. His first score was an impressive one, worth $42,366.

Second Place

Heads up play began at 7:45 pm with blinds and antes at 30,000/60,000 and Nguyen with a 3-2 lead over his final opponent. Nguyen quickly gained the upper hand in the matchup, increasing his lead to 4-1 before Nguyen raised Scott all-in with   . Scott made the quick call, tabling   . The final board of the night came down       to seal the win for Nguyen and eliminate Scott in second place.

 

Scott is a 38-year-old entrepreneur, who owns and operates a hair supply business in his hometown of New York City.  “E-Dolo” as he is called made his first WSOP cash at the 2010 World Series of Poker, finishing  3rd in the $1,000 buy-in No Limit Hold’em Event #3.  For his runner up finish in the Main Event at Chester, he earned $58,639.


For the victory, Nguyen was awarded first place prize money, worth $94,901 and the coveted diamond-encrusted WSOP Circuit Gold Ring. In addition, Nguyen earns an automatic seat into the million-dollar WSOP Circuit National Championship to be held May 27 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

 

With the 15 points he earned in event #8 at the Harrah’s Chester Circuit Series, Scott earned the title of Harrah’s Chester Casino champion and will also earn a seat to the WSOPC National Championship.

 

See the complete Harrah’s Chester schedule and previous results here. The next World Series of Poker Circuit Event is currently underway at Harrah’s New Orleans and continues through May 22.