Black Hawk, CO (May 6, 2014) – Craig Varnell won the Casino Champion title at the second annual WSOP Circuit Lodge Casino stop following an impressive three cashes totaling 100 points. Varnell reached two final tables, including a victory inin Event 7 - $365 No-Limit Hold’em, as well as a third place finish in the Main Event.

The Casino Champion race was a tight one. On the final day of play, five different players had a mathematical shot at taking down the title. Varnell entered the Main Event with 55 points, 15 points behind the leader, Tim Campbell. After Day 2 of the Main Event there were five players remaining and Varnell had guaranteed himself 37.5 more points, for a total of 92.5 points.

Event 12 was running at the same time as the Main Event and Tim Campbell and TJ Thondup made it to that final table. Campbell had 70 points heading into the final table and Thondup had 67.5 points and could still pass Varnell. Thondup was eliminated early in the final day of play in eighth place in Event 12 making it a two man race between Varnell and Campbell . Varnell ended up finishing third in the Main Event, adding 45 points to his total and finishing the series with 100. Varnell had to sweat Campbell. A second place finish for Campbell or better and he would retake the lead from Varnell. Campbell was eventually eliminated from Event 12 in fourth place and Varnell could celebrate his Casino Championship title.

Craig Varnell started the series off with a 36th place finish in Event 3 – $365 No-Limit Hold’em re-entry for 5 points. Next, Varnell ran deep in Event 7 - $365 and ended up winning it. It was Varnell’s first WSOP Circuit gold ring. Varnell made quick work of a final table that included Mark Dube(third), Chris Conrad (fifth), Pavlin Karakikov (sixth) and Tim Campbell (eighth).

Varnell continued to play well and finished third in the Main Event. On Day 1 Varnell was down to his final 7,000 chips with the blinds at 800/1,600 and was able to double up a few times and finish the day with a top ten chip count. Day 2 was smooth sailing for Varnell and he finished the day with as the chip leader with five remaining. He knew Campbell and Thondup were still alive in Event 12 and picking up points fast. Varnell finished third which would be good enough to earn him the title of Casino Champion after Thondup and Campbell fell just short of the second place or better finish they needed in Event 12.

Together, Varnell and the Lodge Casino Main Event winner, Eric Blair, head to Bally’s Atlantic City May 22-24 where they’ll freeroll for their share of an up-to $2 million prize pool against some of the WSOP’s top performers. Beside the six-figure score, the eventual winner of the National Championship will win the first bracelet of 2014.

More information and full points standings for the year-long race are available on

Varnell’s Lodge Casino cashes:

Event 3 - $365 No-Limit Hold’em Re-Entry, 770 entries – 36th place
Event 7 - $365 No-Limit Hold’em – 189 entries - 1st place
Event 11 - $1,675 Main Event – 330 entries – 3rd place