Durant, OK (January 18, 2012) —  Harold “Buddy” Lockwood overcame a more than 2-to-1 heads-up chip deficit to edge out Raja Kattamuri for the Event 6, $345 No-Limit Hold'em Six Handed, title at Choctaw Casino Resort.

Lockwood was awarded $23,526 and the highest token of achievement on the World Series of Poker Circuit, a gold ring.

“This is a goal achieved,” Lockwood said shortly after his win. “(The ring) is like an Olympic gold medal, you can’t measure it in dollars. 

His focus never faltered in the two-day, 372-person tournament and he never flinched as he faced recent champion and six-time WSOP casher Kattamuri heads up. In fact, Lockwood shocked the rail by winning a streak of pots to start the match and even the stacks. It wasn’t long before he had the chip lead and never looked back — or up.

“I knew I could win when I couldn’t get through stacking my chips before the next hand started,” Lockwood said. “I never looked up. I was always just stacking chips, taking a quick peak at my hand and then playing. After a while it dawned on me that’s all I was doing. I couldn’t even take time to count them.”

Kattamuri’s runner-up finish gave him a commanding points lead in the race to Las Vegas and the Casino Championship at Choctaw resort. With first and second place finishes, he has set the pace for all other players to catch up to.

The conclusion of the $345 No-Limit Hold’em Six-Handed tournament marks the halfway point for the World Series of Poker Circuit events at Choctaw. Six ring events remain, including a $555 No-Limit Hold’em Heads-Up event (January 19) and the $1,600 No-Limit Hold’em Re-Entry event (January 21).

Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em is regarded as one of the truest tests in poker. Short-handed tables means more hands are dealt and players are forced to make moves rather than sit back and let the cards come to them. The flip side is players tend to play hands they typically wouldn’t and drastic, volatile swings in stack sizes tend to characterize short-handed tournaments. Exhibit A is the Event 6 final table.

Seat 1 YUNG “ANDY” HWANG (Houston, TX) 198,000 in chips
Seat 2 RAJA KATTAMURI (Dallas, TX) 1,081,000 in chips
Seat 3 HAROLD “BUDDY” LOCKWOOD (Weatherford, TX) 901,000 in chips
Seat 4 JERIMIAH NIX (Fort Worth, TX) 371,000 in chips
Seat 5 ANDREW ROBINSON (Auburn, WA) 667,000 in chips
Seat 6 ANGELO EVANS (Fort Worth, TX) 499,000 in chips

Sixth Place: The tournament’s sixth place finisher was Andrew Robinson. Robinson moved all in on a      board holding    for top pair. He was snap called by the straight of Kattamuri, and left the tournament a few spots short of victory. He earned $4,551 and Kattamuri inched closer to a follow-up ring.

Robinson is a 50-year-old engineer from Auburn, Washington.

Fifth Place: In a re-raised pot, Andy Hwang held pocket aces on a     board and moved all in against Angelo Evans. Holding    for a full house. Neither the turn nor the river brought Hwang’s much-needed ace, and he left the tournament in fifth place, earning $5,946.

Hwang hails from Houston, Texas.

Fourth Place: Jerimiah Nix had recently doubled up, but still found himself as the short stack with only four players remaining. When he picked up pocket tens, he moved all in and was called by Kattamuri who tabled pocket nines. Nix stood up in celebration as he faded a ten on the flop. The turn brought another blank and Nix was poised to be back in contention for his first ring, but it just wasn’t meant to be. One of only two remaining nines in the deck fell on fourth street, giving Kattamuri a winning set. Nix earned $7,885.

After winning that pot, Kattamuri had better than 2.4 million of the 4.19 million chips in play with only three players left. Playing out the tournament seemed like merely a formality.

Nix is a 32-year-old professional poker player from Fort Worth, Texas. He served five years in the Marine Corps and enjoys working out and spending time with friends. This was his first WSOPC final table.

Third Place: Angelo Evans was eliminated by our eventual champion when he got all his chips in holding the   on a board of       for a straight. Unfortunately, Lockwood held    for a full house and sent Evans home with $10,620 in prize money.

Evans is 26 years old and lives in Fort Worth, Texas. This was his first WSOPC cash.

Second Place: Coming off an Event 3 victory in which he beat WSOP gold bracelet winner, Tex Barch, Kattamuri’s play was propelled by all the momentum and confidence he could handle. He began Day 2 of Event 6 as the chip leader, and parlayed his stack into the final table and heads-up chip lead as well. His runner-up finish was the NFL equivalent of leading for 59 minutes and then giving up the game-winning score in the final seconds.

After a series of second bests, Kattamuri found himself at worse than a 10-to-1 chip underdog. When he picked up   , he moved all in and was called by the    of Lockwood. With the board reading     , Kattamuri only needed to avoid a king or a jack on the river to double up and regain new hope for winning ring two. But the stars that had been aligning all day suddenly unraveled and the   fell on the river. What started out as a victory lap for Kattamuri turned into a fiery wreck, and he left the tournament one spot short of gold. He earned $14,533.

Kattamuri is a 35-year-old engineer for Nokia. Despite his monster success on the tournament felt, he is committed to keeping poker separate from his professional life.

More information on his Event 3 victory can be found HERE. 

First Place: While Kattamuri was clearly the hometown favorite, “Buddy” Lockwood was certainly hard to root against. He never waivered at the sight of Kattamuri raking in pot after pot short handed and he stayed focused on the goal — gold.

“A few years ago I won a World Poker Open bracelet, and I wanted to prove to myself it wasn’t just a flash-in-the-pan happening,” Lockwood said. “Now at least it’s a two-time flash in the pan.”

Lockwood is a 66-year-old retiree from Weatherford, Texas. He formerly worked as an importer bringing in wood from Mexico.

This is the sixth of 12 scheduled ring events taking place at Choctaw Casino Resort. WSOP Circuit events continue through January 23. The Main Event will take place January 21. Winners of all ring events will receive a Circuit gold ring, first-place prize money and ranking points toward the $1,000,000 Circuit National Championship taking place in Las Vegas this spring. In addition, the winner of the Main Event will receive an automatic bid into the National Championship.

Choctaw Casino Resort is located in Durant, Oklahoma and received extensive renovations over the last few years, not the least of which is the addition of the 330-room Grand Tower. The resort now boasts more than 400 rooms and 110,000 square feet of gaming space.

Like all Choctaw Casinos, a portion of the proceeds from Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant go to fund healthcare, education and housing for Choctaw Tribal Members.

The WSOP can be followed on Twitter @WSOP or “liked” on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/worldseriesofpoker.

For more information, contact Lukas Willems, WSOP Media Coordinator, at lukasmwillems@gmail.com.