When there were five players left in the $1,675 IP Biloxi World Series of Poker (WSOP) Circuit Main Event, Cory Wood wasn't sure how exactly he was getting to the WSOP National Championship, but he did know he had a seat all locked up.
 
The Main Event was Wood's third final table appearance of the series and, with five players left, Wood knew no one could catch him in the Casino Champions contest, not even John Dolan, the former November Niner who earned a ring at this Circuit stop and also final tabled the Biloxi Main Event. In fact, the only way Dolan could've earned the seat was if Wood won the Main Event, giving him the automatic bid that comes with the biggest ring of the series and giving Dolan the Casino Champions title. In the end, Wood had to settle for fourth place in the Main Event.
 
The $35,000 Main Event score, along with a runner-up finish in Event #6 and a third place showing in Event #1 gave the 27 year-old poker pro enough points to pass the points leader going into the Main Event, Ashly Butler, as well as the first bid into the National Championship. It also gives him a nice bankroll to take home to his fiancee and their one year old daughter, Jazmine.
 
According to Wood, he first learned the game of poker from his older brothers when he was just five years old. Fast forward a couple of decades and Wood lodged his first career Circuit cash at the other Mississippi stop on the calendar, Harrah's Tunica in early 2009. For the past three years, Wood has notched cashes all through the South and even made a WSOP final table in 2011, taking seventh in the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha Championship.
 
There are a range of scores on Wood's resume, but one thing missing is a Circuit ring. Wood admits it was a little disappointing to walk away from Biloxi without a title, but with three final tables and a trip to New Orleans all locked up, Wood is still more than happy with his result. He talked with WSOP Managing Editor Jessica Welman about the tight race for Casino Champion honors and how he plans to spend his time between now and the National Championship in May: