Durant, OK (January 16, 2012) If you have followed poker over the last decade, chances are you recognize the name Tex Barch.

You may recognize it from his dominating World Series of Poker victory in 2010, or you may know it better from his third place finish in the Main Event in 2005. It’s possible you know it because he has more than $2.8 million in career WSOP earnings and countless hours of face time on ESPN. However you know the name, you know the name.

Now forget it.

Tonight was less about what could have been for the seasoned veteran and more about the convincing performance of a part time Dallas-area player, Raja Kattamuri.

Kattamuri picked apart a star-studded field in the $555 No-Limit Hold’em Ring Event at Choctaw Casino Resort and won his first WSOPC ring.

The final table included the likes of gold bracelet winner, Barch, seven-time WSOPC casher, Christopher Gamboa, 2011 Choctaw Ladies Event Champion, Brandy Adrian, and four-time WSOP casher, Michael “MJ the Great” Cooper.

Kattamuri was clearly not intimidated as he masterfully maneuvered his final table chip lead into a wire-to-wire victory.

For outlasting 330 players, he won almost $40,000 and his first piece of WSOPC hardware.

Kattamuri and Barch are good friends off the felt. Both are Texas boys and have been playing poker together in the Dallas area for years. The atmosphere was very relaxed heads up. When asked if he would rather beat a close friend or a random opponent, Kattamuri was succinct.

“I’d rather beat a really good player like Tex,” he said.


Event 3 was officially a two-day tournament, but it began on January 14 and stretched into the early morning hours of January 16, finishing shortly before 6 a.m. local time. After Day 1, 62 players were left with a chance at a Circuit gold. Bryce Miller led the way with 285,000 in chips, almost 80,000 clear of second place, and more than double the stack of third place. Bryce made it as far as the final table, but his run at victory fell just short.

Final table stacks began as follows:

Seat 1 Tex Barch (McKinney, TX) 498,000 in chips

Seat 2 Christopher Gamboa (Houston, TX) 560,000 in chips

Seat 3 Raja Kattamuri (Dallas, TX) 700,000 in chips

Seat 4 Tyler Melton (Whitesboro, TX) 539,000 in chips

Seat 5 Bryce Miller (Frisco, TX) 379,000 in chips

Seat 6 Bull Stanley (Bonham, TX) 395,000 in chips

Seat 7 Brandy Adrian (Kaufman, TX) 172,000 in chips

Seat 8 Will Duke (San Antonio, TX) 488,000 in chips

Seat 9 Michael Cooper Jr. (Fort Worth, TX) 201,000

Runner Up: John “Tex” Barch burst onto the poker scene in 2005 with a third place finish in the WSOP Main Event. Joe Hachem went on to win that tournament, but Barch earned $2.5 million for his efforts. Barch remained fairly quiet over the next few years but reemerged in the poker spotlight with a bracelet win in Event 22, $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha, at the WSOP in 2010. 

He now has more than $2.8 million in career earnings, eight in-the-money finishes (including four final tables) and one WSOP bracelet. A win today would have awarded him his first Circuit ring.

Barch is a 41-year-old professional poker player from McKinney, Texas.

Winner: Raja Kattamuri was the winner of Event 3 at Choctaw Casino Resort. He beat 330 entrants and won $37,293 and his first gold ring.

He attended the University of California-Santa Barbara and currently works as an engineer for Nokia. He plans to continue to play poker strictly recreationally.

He is 35 years old and resides in Dallas, Texas.

WSOP Circuit events continue at Choctaw Casino Resort through January 23. The Main Event will take place January 21.

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For more information, contact Lukas Willems, WSOP media coordinator

Email: lukasmwillems@gmail.com