Josh Evans Wins Six-Handed Battle in San Diego

Rincon Reservation, CA (March 21, 2012) – Things looked pretty bleak for Josh Evans, when play was at 13-handed.  The Dallas-based poker pro was sitting in the latest World Series of Poker Circuit tournament, played at Harrah’s Rincon, near San Diego.  Just when Evans thought he might coast to a final table close to the chip lead, he took a brutal beat late in the tournament and appeared to be just moments away from elimination.

When play was down to three tables, Evans shoved with A-K.  He got a call from an opponent, who also tabled A-K.  Most such hands result in a chopped pot.  But on this occasion, Evans ended up losing to a flush (four suited cards came, matching the suit in the villain’s hand).

Evans looked down and had two chips in front.  He had just enough chips to post a big blind.  Then, a strange thing happened.

Lightening struck.

Every game, every contest, and every poker tournament has a turning point and this the comeback of the series began with a whimper at about 11:45 on a Tuesday night while the rest of the world was sleeping.  Evans not only managed to survive through the blinds that round, he doubled up multiple times over the final hour.  By night’s end he had about 100,000 in chips.  Not a huge stack mind you, but enough chips to be dangerous on the pending final day.

Perhaps more importantly, Evans was mentally freerolling.  With nothing to lose, Evans played some of the best poker of his life, absolutely destroying everyone in his path during Day Two, ultimately ending up with his first WSOP Circuit victory.

Evans was awarded $12,519 in prize money.  But what seemed to matter most was the elusive mountaintop of first-place, which came after a dozen WSOP Circuit cashes – including a second, three thirds, and six final table appearances.  Evans also finished third in last year’s WSOP Circuit National Championship.  He took second in a WSOP gold bracelet event last year, as well.  His career winnings at the WSOP alone now totals just shy of $1 million. 

Evans is a 27-year-old poker pro.  He lives in Plano, a suburb to the north of Dallas.  Evans has been playing on the WSOP Circuit since 2007.


Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em began as an online poker game.  It first debuted (as a live tournament) at the 2005 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.  The variant came about due to growing popularity amongst online players.  In fact, Six-Handed Hold’em games became so popular that by 2008, the variant rivaled full-ring games in overall number at the most biggest online sites. 

Nevertheless, Six-Handed live tournaments remain rare in live casinos.  This is due to more dealers and tables being required to run them, which in turn accommodate less tournament players.  The WSOP and WSOP Circuit remains as a few of the places where Six-Handed poker tournaments remain as part of the regular schedule.

Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em is also markedly different from the conventional full table game.  Since blinds race around the table much faster (players are posting blinds 2/6 rather than 2/9 of the time), the action tends to be more aggressive.  In fact, good short-handed players enjoy clear advantages over players who are more accustomed to full-table games with nine players.


The seventh of a dozen gold ring tournaments began on Tuesday with Event #7 – a $345 buy-in Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em competition.  The tournament attracted 164 entries.  The total prize pool came to $47,724.  The top 18 players were paid.  All players who cashed received WSOP Circuit National Championship ranking points.

A full list of all players who cashed in Event #7 can be seen here.

The tournament was played over two consecutive days.  The final table was played on Day Two.  Tournament veteran Bryan Devonshire arrived among the final seven as the chip leader (Note:  Six-Handed final tables initially begin 7-handed, due to the disparity of playing two tables with an odd number of players).  But several talented players were close on his heels.

Seat 1 – Tom Broband with 244,000 in chips
Seat 2 – Josh Saewitz with 316,000 in chips
Seat 3 – Bryan Devonshire with 320,000 in chips
Seat 4 – Matthew Lewey with 150,000 in chips
Seat 5 – Shamus Crean with 214,000 in chips
Seat 6 – Josh Evans with 252,000 in chips
Seat 7 – Robert Wilkinson with 153,000 in chips

The final table included only one former WSOP Gold ring winner – multiple winner Bryan Devonshire.

The final playing session began at 4 pm local time.  Play finished at 7 pm making the total duration about three hours.  The official order of finish was as follows: 

7th Place – Robert Wilkinson was the first elimination, coming in seventh place.  He is a 53-year-old retired airline mechanic.  Wilkinson also proudly served in the U.S. Air Force.  This was Wilkinson’s second time to cash in a WSOP Circuit event.

6th Place – Shamus Crean finished in sixth place.  He is a 24-year-old real estate broker from La Jolla, CA.  This marked his first time to make a WSOP final table, after four tries.  He hopes to win the WSOP Main Event someday.
5th Place – Tom Braband was the fifth-place finisher.  He is a 26-year-old professional poker player from Cedarburg, WI.  Braband’s poker resume is mostly online-related, and includes many wins and cashes.  He also enjoys golf and has quickly become quite skilled at the game.  Braband says he started out as a 40 handicap 18 months ago and is now a 12 handicap – quite an accomplishment.
4th Place – Joshua Saewitz ended in fourth place.  He is a 37-year-old cell phone salesman and semi-pro poker player from San Diego.  He won a Second Chance tournament a few years ago and has played in about ten WSOP-related events.  Saewitz’s talents extend far beyond the poker table.  He is also a player and coach of water polo.

3rd Place – Bryan Devonshire finished in third place, a less-than-satisfying outcome for the accomplished Las Vegas-based poker pro.  Devonshire, age 30,owns two WSOP gold rings, including the 2010 Harrah’s Rincon championship.  He also ran deep in the WSOP Main Event last year, finishing 12th – good for $600,000.  Devonshire likely picked up enough points with this finish to qualify for a seat in this year’s National Championship.

2nd Place – Matthew Lewey was the runner up.  He is a 25-year-old poker pro from Alton, IL.  Lewey half-jokingly refers to himself as the “best no name pro you have never heard of.”  We’ll eventually see about that, but in the meantime, Lewey could certainly take some pride in a strong showing and a runner up finish to a very strong player.

The final hand was dealt as follows:


Lewey was left drawing to an inside straight when all his chips went into the pot after the turn.  Evans ended up scooping the final hand of the night with trip fives.

1st Place – Josh Evans became the seventh WSOP Circuit champion crowned this year at Harrah’s Rincon.  He won $12,519 for the victory.  He was also presented with his first gold ring.  This marked his 12 WSOP Circuit in-the-money finish.

With his victory, Evans rockets to the top of the standings alongside previous event winners as the leaders in this WSOP Circuit’s “Best All-Around Player” standings.  However, will most certainly qualify (as an at-large bid) no matter what happens due to his high point total.  The player who accumulates the most overall points in Harrah’s Rincon’s twelve combined gold ring tournaments receives a pre-paid entry into the $1 million 2011-2012 WSOP Circuit National Championship.  At least two players from this tournament series will qualify for the WSOP Circuit National Championship, which is classified as a WSOP gold bracelet event.  The other automatic qualifier will be the winner of Main Event championship (to be held March 24-26).

Here is the list of winners from Harrah’s Rincon, so far:

EVENT #1:  Randy Paguio (San Diego, CA) defeated 331 players in $345 NLHE
EVENT #2:  Dean Buchanan (Kirkland, WA) defeated 155 players in $555 NLHE
EVENT #3:  Patrick Schulze (Glendora, CA) defeated 100 players in $345 NLHE
EVENT #4:  Dan Natarelli (Simi Valley, CA) defeated 487 players in $345 NLHE
EVENT #5:  Delbert Ramos (Montebello, CA) defeated 159 players in TURBO
EVENT #6:  Jonas Mackoff (Vancouver, BC) defeated 197 players in $345 NLHE
EVENT #7:  Josh Evans (Dallas, TX) defeated 164 players in $345 6-HANDED

With the seventh tournament wrapped up, there are still five more gold ring events remaining in what is being billed as a “12 rings in 12 days” poker series.  The WSOP Circuit at Harrah’s Rincon continues through March 26th.  This year’s schedule includes not only all the gold ring events, but multiple second-chance tournaments, single table and mega satellites, plus cash games going around the clock inside the action-packed poker room



The Harrah’s Rincon Casino and Resort, nestled in the cool mountains 45-miles away from sunny San Diego, is jointly owned and operated by the Rincon San Luiseno Band of Indians and Caesars Entertainment.

Harrah’s Rincon has been one of only three flagship Caesars Entertainment properties which have hosted a tour stop during each and every season, since the WSOP Circuit was launched back in 2005.

This year’s “12 Rings in 12 Days” series is taking place March 15-26.  As has been the case for all previous major poker events, all action is held inside an expansive grand ballroom located on the first floor, adjacent to the main casino.

Harrah’s Rincon is widely considered to be one of most upscale properties on the WSOP Circuit.  The casino and poker room draws mostly from the Los Angeles and San Diego areas.  The hotel has 662 rooms and a 21-story tower.  The casino has 1,600 slot machines and 51 gaming tables – including a poker room located on the second floor.  The hotel and resort includes a health spa and the Woods Valley Golf Club.

This will be the 14th out of 17 stops of the 2011-2012 World Series of Poker Circuit season.  Just two months ago, The Bicycle Casino (Los Angeles) became the second California casino to partner with the WSOP Circuit, following Harrah’s Rincon’s lead, years earlier.

Harrah’s Rincon is an easy drive from just about anywhere in Southern California.  The luxury resort is located north of San Diego off of Interstate 15 and is about a two-hour drive from Downtown Los Angeles.  Las Vegas is about a four-hour drive.  The casino is located close to the cities of Temecula and Escondido (CA).  Harrah’s Rincon is about an hour away from the San Diego International Airport.  Multiple direct flights are available from just about anywhere in the country.  As a major hub of Southwest Airlines, San Diego offers many bargain airfares.

Poker players with spouses and friends are encouraged to consider Harrah’s Rincon as the ideal destination to mix poker with many leisurely resort activities.  San Diego, with 70-degree weather, is one of America’s most popular tourist destinations.

With the current season now winding down, there's a lot at stake for poker players who make their way to Harrah’s Rincon.  Not only are a dozen gold rings up for grabs, lots of prize money will also be awarded to those who cash.  All players who finish in the money will also earn ranking points, which are used to determine finalists for the season-ending WSOP Circuit National Championship.
Since the season began in September, all tournament players have been in the running for 100 guaranteed pre-paid seats in the $1 million WSOP Circuit National Championship finale – which will be a WSOP gold bracelet event to be played in Las Vegas – July 6-7 (final table to be played July 11th)..

Stay tuned to for the latest reports and updates from Harrah’s Rincon. will carry a LIVE VIDEO STREAM of every final table, starting most afternoons.