The first Main Event of the 2012-2013 World Series of Poker Circuit presented by Southern Comfort 100 Proof could very well be one for the record books. There are just six players standing between Kyle Cartwright and a record-tying fifth Circuit ring at a tough final table that also features Casino Champion frontrunner Cory Wood and former November Niner John Dolan.
Cartwright was one of 300 players to take part in this year's $1,675 buy-in Circuit Main Event at IP Biloxi. Day 2 of action down South began with right around 90 players and James Starger leading the pack with 228,100 chips from the 20,000-chip starting stack. The second day of Main Event action was not kind to Starger, who failed to make the money.
The top 31 finishers in the event earned a piece of the $450,000 prize pool with the winner pocketing a nice six-figure payday worth $107,992 not to mention one of the first guaranteed seats in the WSOP National Championship in New Orleans in May.
While the payouts said 30 players would make the money, a duel elimination on the money bubble meant bubble boys Thanh Long and Tyler Smith split 30th place prize money. Other notables who made the money included Ryan Tepen (27th), Dwyte Pilgrim (22nd), David Nicholson (20th), Claudia Crawford (18th), Ryan Lenaghan (13th), and Charles "Woody" Moore (12th). A full list of payouts is available on WSOP.com.
The pace of play on Day 2 was speedy and the players hit the final table around midnight and continued playing to the scheduled end of the day at the conclusion of Level 25. When the final table began, Cartwright was out front, but Dolan and Wood were hot on his heels. Here is a look at what the chip counts were at the start of final table action:
Seat 1: Patrick Eskandar - 455,000
Seat 2: Jesus Cabrera - 344,000
Seat 3: Tony Hatley - 285,000
Seat 4: Brad Johnson - 510,000
Seat 5: Kyle Cartwright - 1,553,000
Seat 6: Cory Wood - 1,050,000
Seat 7: Dennis Pasentine - 545,000
Seat 8: Peter Shashy - 172,000Seat 9: John Dolan - 1,063,000
By virtue of making the final table, Wood overtook the Casino Champion lead from Ashly Butler, who was on the rail to see his lead slip away. The contest isn't over yet though. Dolan can still nab the Casino Champion title if Wood finishes in sixth place and Dolan manages to post a second place finish. Should Wood win the Main Event, both Dolan and Butler still have a chance at Casino Champion honors.
For now though, the guy to beat in the Main Event is Cartwright. The four-time ring winner went on a tear at the final table, busting two players and amassing a gigantic stack in the process. With experience on his side and the chips in his favor, Cartwright is in a good position to kick off this Circuit season with an impressive victory at a final table stacked with some of the top talent currently playing on the Circuit.
The final six will be back in action at 12pm CT on Monday to play down to the first Main Event winner of the season. Be sure to follow the action as it unfolds with live updates on WSOP.com.
Here is a look at the chip counts headed into the final day of play. When play resumes blinds will be at 10,000/20,000 ante 3,000:
1. Kyle Cartwright - 2,232,000
2. John Dolan - 1,207,000
3. Dennis Pasentine - 947,000
4. Brad Johnson - 721,000
5. Cory Wood - 590,000
6. Jesus Cabrera - 333,000