Durant, OK (January 19, 2012) Chan Pelton rode a colossal Day-1 chip lead all the way to the winner’s circle in WSOP Circuit Event #7 at Choctaw Casino Resort. He earned $28,175 and a Circuit gold ring for the championship performance.

The mid-week, $345 No-Limit Hold’em tournament drew a healthy 455 players and generated a prizepool of $132,405. In all, 54 spots were paid.

When Day 2 began, 32 players remained and Pelton had 895,000 of the 4,550,000 chips in play.

“If you have 20 percent of the chips with 30 people left in every tournament, you’ve got a lot better chance (of winning) than most people,” he said shortly after the last river card was dealt. “I caught a lot of cards and ran pretty well.”

Pelton is 29 years old and married. He resides in College Station, Texas and has lived there most of his life. He attended Texas A&M University and studied journalism. These days, he enjoys playing as much poker as possible.

Day 1 saw more than 90 percent of the field hit the rail and the money bubble burst. Notable Day 1 in-the-money finishers include five-time Circuit casher, Duy Tran (45th) and 12-time Circuit casher, Bill Varga (33rd). Tran and Varga are familiar faces on the Circuit and both continue to move up the points leaderboard with their solid play. 

Day 2 began at 2 p.m. local time with 32 players remaining and Pelton head and shoulders above the rest of the field with 895,000 in chips. Ben Logan, a poker force in his own right, started the day a distant second with 250,000.

With 16 players remaining three-time Circuit champ Kyle Cartwright ran pocket queens into the pocket kings of Y.S. (Yerradhhoddi) Reddy. Cartwright’s stack was crippled, but he chipped up and crawled his way to the final table. He even got the last laugh as Reddy went on to be our final table bubble boy, leaving the tournament in tenth place.

The final table began at 4:55 p.m. and ended at 7:38 p.m., for a total of two hours and 43 minutes of play.

Seat 1 BEN LOGAN (Austin, TX) 1,300,000 in chips
Seat 2 KYLE CARTWRIGHT (Bartlett, TN) 121,000 in chips
Seat 3 JEFF SAUER (St. Louis, MO) 210,000 in chips
Seat 4 TOM INGRAM (Bryan, TX) 301,000 in chips
Seat 5 CHAN PELTON (College Station, TX) 1,175,000 in chips
Seat 6 DENNIS MOTLEY (Oklahoma City, OK) 518,000 in chips
Seat 7 JACOB PHILLIPS (Ozark, MO) 415,000 in chips
Seat 8 ANDREW “WINNERS” NGUYEN (Dallas, TX) 288,000 in chips
Seat 9 YIZHOU “E CHOU” FANG (Baltimore, MD) 196,000 in chips

Fifth Place: Earlier this week, Dennis Motley outlasted 1,217 players in the massive field of Event #1. He couldn’t get by number 1,218 and he finished as the runner-up, earning a $38,872 consolation prize. Motley’s superb play in Event #7 once again propelled him to a final table, but he came up short of a ring, finishing fifth. On his final hand he shoved with    and was called by the    of Logan. An ace flopped and Motley’s dreams of gold were over. He added $7,095 to his Circuit earnings. His great play has put him in position to possibly challenge Raja Kattamuri for the casino championship with a few more deep runs. 

This was Motley’s second career WSOPC cash and final table. He is a 65-year-old retiree and formerly worked as an air traffic controller. He lives in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Fourth Place: Ben Logan and Kyle Cartwright were hands down the two most experienced players at the table. Prior to Event 7, they accounted for more than $400,000 in career earnings, nine WSOPC and WSOP final table appearances and four Circuit rings. It was only appropriate that they play a big pot together.

At the 3,000/10,000/20,000 level, Cartwright got his remaining 283,000 chips in the pot with pocket kings versus the    of Logan. The flop brought     adding two kings to Logan’s diminishing outs. Cartwright faded the turn and the river and doubled up to almost 600,000. Logan left the tournament in fourth place a few hands later, earning $9,435.

In 2011, Logan cracked the top 100 in the WSOP Main Event in Las Vegas and earned $64,531. His WSOP resume also boasts six other cashes and a Circuit ring in H.O.R.S.E. last year. He is 27 years old and lives in Austin, Texas.

Third Place: Cartwright didn’t hold on to Logan’s chips for long. Holding    on a     board, Pelton bet enough to put Cartwright all in. Cartwright called off his remaining chips holding    for middle pair, well behind the top pair of Logan. The turn and river came    and Cartwright left the tournament in third place. He pocketed $12,727.

As if Cartwright’s continued success and deep runs aren’t impressive enough, today’s third place finish came after being down to less than a big blind – literally – with only two tables remaining. The old poker adage, “all you need is a chip and a chair,” proved true, and he chipped up to 121,000 in chips by the time we reached the final table. Unfortunately, he came up short of ring number four.

Cartwright had a 2011 that would make Phil Hellmuth blush. He began the year with a Circuit win in Tunica and since then has recorded ten more cashes, two more Circuit victories, seven more Circuit final tables and a WSOP final table. In all, he earned $280,000 in 2011 at WSOP and WSOP Circuit events alone. “Great” does not begin to describe what the future has in store for this 24-year-old from Bartlett, Tennessee. He has recorded two Circuit cashes including one final table in 2012.

Second Place: By the time play reached heads up, Pelton had about 90 percent of the chips in play, leaving our second place finisher, Jacob Phillips, with only 10 percent. On his final hand, Phillips held    and Pelton tabled pocket jacks. The flop was heartless, pairing Phillips’ queen but also revealing the   giving Pelton a set. Phillips never caught up and earned $17,421 for his runner-up finish.

Jacob Phillips is 26 years old. He lives in Ozark, Missouri and has a 15-month-old girl. 

First Place: After Day 1, Event 7 was Chan Pelton’s tournament to lose. He encountered a few speed bumps on the second day of play, but never faltered on his way to a Circuit gold ring. 

Chan now has five WSOP cashes and two final tables. He is 29 years old and lives in College Station, Texas.

This is the seventh of 12 scheduled ring events taking place at Choctaw Casino Resort. WSOP Circuit events continue through January 23rd. The Main Event will take place January 21st. 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.

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