Cherokee, North Carolina (April 14, 2014) – After three arduous days of tournament poker and an appearance at one of the most decorated final tables of the Circuit season, Jason Sandling rose above the competition to win the 2013/14 WSOP Circuit Main Event at Harrah’s Cherokee for $204,487. Sandling defeated a field of 665 entries in one of the larger Circuit Main Events of the season.
Sandling, a stay-at-home father who views poker as a hobby, had just one Circuit cash to his name before the Main Event. That cash came in Event 8: $365 No-Limit Hold’em just a few days earlier and was for $2,500. Now, Sandling is the newest Circuit champion, owns his first gold ring, and is guaranteed a seat to the National Championship next month in Atlantic City.Sandling came into the final table with the second largest chip stack, and did his best to remain toward the top of the chip counts. While players around him seemingly dropped left and right at this quick, six-hour final table, Sandling remained steadfast in his quest for tournament glory. Sandling found himself all-in for his tournament life just one time over the course of the final table, and when the money went in he had his opponent and future heads-up foe William O’Neal, drawing dead. From there, Sandling went on a tear and locked up a victory.“I was second in chips coming in,” said Sandling. “I just kind of picked my spots and chipped up pretty early. I never got into any super big confrontations. Just always chipped up.”Sandling was joined at the final table by couple of familiar faces on the Circuit. Headlining the final day was 2011/12 Harrah’s St. Louis Main Event champion Tripp Kirk. Kirk came into the final 11 holding the chip lead and looked poised to go on a run for his second Circuit Main Event title. Kirk eventually fell in sixth place when he moved all in before the flop holding king-queen. Sandling snapped him off with pocket kings and the cowboys held up.Also present at the final table was Circuit ring winner Ralph Massey. Massey grabbed hold of the chip lead early on in the final table but lost several key runs that ultimately led to a seventh-place finish. Eventually, Sandling found himself heads-up with O’Neal and holding a substantial chip lead. After winning the first large confrontation with O’Neal, Sandling simply leaned on his opponent until he fell. In the end, Sandling’s ace-four held up against O’Neal’s all in ship with queen-eight and Sandling was crowned the victor.“I’m going to pay some bills and save some for taxes,” said Sandling, as he celebrated his victory with his wife.
Sandling is guaranteed a seat in the National Championship, which will play out in Atlantic City on May 22-24. Joining Sandling is this stop’s Casino Champion, Juan Mendoza. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because Mendoza won the same title during last year’s stop in Cherokee. Mendoza racked up four cashes and two final tables this year, once again securing his place at the National Championship. Interestingly enough, Mendoza has final tabled 5 of the 24 Circuit events ever held at Harrah’s Cherokee.
Final table results are as follows:
1st - Jason Sandling - $204,487
2nd - William O'Neal - $126,533
3rd - Erik Gorman - $92,807
4th - Zack Caldwell - $69,017
5th - Harold Evans - $52,020
6th - Tripp Kirk - $39,730
7th - Ralph Massey - $30,743
8th - Robert Park - $24,100
9th - Travis Turner - $19,132