TUNICA, MS. – Near-record flooding in Tunica, MS last spring proved devastating when rising waters forced the temporary shut down of all nine of the gaming resort town’s area casinos.

Hit particularly hard was Harrah’s Tunica Casino and Resort, which was one of the last to reopen after being surrounded by nearly eight feet of water.

This past week, Harrah’s Tunica was hit by another huge flood; however this one was much more welcomed as 1,128 players crested the casino resort’s entrances for Event #1 of the World Series of Poker Circuit Events. The opening event’s turnout was the second highest in Harrah’s Tunica history. 

While the near-record field, the highest since 2006, by no means indicates a turnaround for Tunica’s struggling gaming industry, which has seen consecutive years of revenue declines, it is a positive sign that things may be looking up for the South’s gaming Mecca.

The $345 buy-in, No-Limit Hold’em Re-start Event generated a $328,248 prize pool. Start days 1A and 1B yielded 170 survivors, 117 of whom would finish in the money. 

After over three days of play, the flood receded with Chip Ervin, a 33-year-old poker pro from Tuscaloosa, AL emerging as the sole survivor.

2003 World Series of Poker Main Event champion, Chris Moneymaker, made the trip from his nearby hometown of Memphis, TN to play in Harrah’s Tunica’s opening WSOP Circuit ring event and started Day two third in chips, but was unable to carry with him any of the momentum from Day 1A, resulting in a 93rd place finish.

After over nine hours of play on day two, the field of 170 remaining players was down to the final table:




Chip Count

Ed Carroll

Dayton, OH



Chip Ervin

Tuscaloosa, AL



Rodney Shows

Hattiesburg, MS



Willie Lawrence

Tallahassee, FL



Terry Kim

Ocean Springs, MS



Jesse Menley

Hillsboro, MO



A.P. Phahurat

Tulsa, OK



Tommy Mosier

Bloomington, IN



Travis Eller

Cookeville, TN



9th Place

Crippled after doubling up Travis Eller in an earlier hand with 8’s vs. Eller’s Q’s, Jesse Menley was relieved of his remaining chips a few hands later and saw an early exit from the final table stage. Menley is the president of a family-owned roofing company in his hometown of Hillsboro, MO. His second-ever WSOPC final table earned him $5,917 for 9th.  

8th Place

Rodney Shows was eliminated after making a tough all-in river call holding pocket aces. His opponent, Tommy Mosier, tabled pocket jacks, ending the show for Rodney. Shows is a 55-year old retired college football and basketball coach from Hattiesburg, MS. He took home $7,424 for eighth.

7th Place

All-in with   , Terry Kim found himself well behind the   of Travis Eller and was unable to catch up after the board helped improved neither player’s hand. Kim is a systems engineer from Ocean Springs, MS. Sixth place paid him $9,418.

6th Place

Holding pocket sixes, Willie Lawrence was able to fade Thomas Mosier’s    through fifth street, sending Mosier to the rail. The 25-year-old poker player from Bloomington, IN earned $12,082 for his sixth place finish.

5th and 4th Places

A.P Phahurat and Eller were eliminated in 5th ($15,681) and 4th ($20,595) places, respectively. Phahraut is a Thailand-born poker pro from Tulsa, OK. Eller is a 30-year-old player from Cookeville, TN

3rd Place

The final table chip leader, Ed Carroll took a huge hit to his stack when Ervin was able to hit a river flush against him all-in. Carroll was eliminated shortly afterwards. Carroll, a 54-year-old financial analyst from Dayton, OH, took home $27,381.

2nd Place

Heads up was between Lawrence and Ervin. Ervin never relinquished his chip lead heads up and was able to eliminate his final opponent with a wheel straight on the final hand. Lawrence is 33 years old from Tallahassee, FL. 2nd place paid $36,848

Throughout the tournament, Ervin was able to keep himself on high ground, ensuring his first-ever WSOPC Ring victory. He enjoyed the support of an animated rail throughout much of the evening and into the morning. With his win, Ervin takes an early lead in the Casino Champion point race for Harrah’s Tunica. The Casino Champion is the player who earns the most points through the 12 events at Harrah’s Tunica. This player will earn an automatic seat to the $1 million WSOP Circuit National Championship to be held in late May. More information about the WSOPC National Championship can be found here. An explanation of the points system can be found here.

Still to come are 11 events. See the complete Harrah’s Tunica Circuit schedule and previous results here. The WSOP Circuit Events at Harrah’s Tunica runs through February 13th. You can find the complete 2010/2011 WSOP CIRCUIT SCHEDULE here.

Media Contacts:

Patrick Collins

Harrah’s Tunica


Alan Fowler

WSOP/Caesars Interactive Entertainment



About the WSOP

The World Series of Poker (WSOP) is the largest, richest and most prestigious gaming event in the world awarding millions of dollars in prize money and the prestigious gold bracelet, globally recognized as the sport's top prize. Featuring a comprehensive slate of tournaments in every major poker variation, the WSOP is poker's longest running tournament in the world, dating back to 1970. In 2010, the event attracted 72,966 entrants from 117 different countries to the Rio in Las Vegas and awarded over $187 million in prize money. In addition, the WSOP has formed groundbreaking alliances in broadcasting, digital media and corporate sponsorships, while successfully expanding the brand internationally with the advent in 2007 of the World Series of Poker Europe.  The WSOP Circuit Tour is entering its seventh season in 2010-11, and will feature 12 stops throughout the U.S., plus for the first ever, a stop in South Africa. For more information on the World Series of Poker, please visit

About Harrah’s Tunica

Harrah’s Tunica is located 20 minutes south of Memphis, Tennessee and was originally opened in 1996 as Grand Casino. On May, 23, 2008 Paula Deen cut the official grand opening ribbon at Harrah’s Tunica featuring the first of its kind Paula Deen Buffet and an interactive gaming floor that is the largest in the region. Spanning over 2,000 acres Harrah’s Tunica features the Links at Cottonwoods championship golf course designed by Hale Irwin, Willows Sporting Clays and Hunting Center, the Mid-South Convention Center offering over 65,000 square feet of indoor meeting space, three elegant hotels totaling 1356 hotel rooms, the 200-space Mid-South RV Resort, Bellissimo Spa and Salon, and a 2,400 seat event center that features headline entertainment

About Caesars Entertainment:

Caesars Entertainment Corporation is the world's largest casino entertainment company. Since its beginning in Reno, Nevada, more than 70 years ago, Caesars has grown through development of new resorts, expansions and acquisitions, and now operates casinos on four continents. The company's resorts operate primarily under the Harrah's®, Caesars® and Horseshoe® brand names. Caesars also owns the World Series of Poker® and the London Clubs International family of casinos. Caesars Entertainment is focused on building loyalty and value with its guests through a unique combination of great service, excellent products, unsurpassed distribution, operational excellence and technology leadership. Caesars is committed to environmental sustainability and energy conservation and recognizes the importance of being a responsible steward of the environment. For more information, please visit