Lakewood, Calif. pro bests friend and travel partner Paul Mattioda via the money-earned tie breaker.

Tunica, Miss. (February 5, 2014)Scott Stewart punched his ticket to the National Championship earlier this week at the World Series of Poker Circuit at Horseshoe Casino in Tunica, Miss. Stewart, a 27-year-old Lakewood, Calif. pro, followed first- and sixth-place finishes in preliminary events with an 18th-place finish in the Main Event to don Casino Champion honors of the 12-day series. Despite a two-way tie at the top that Stewart broke via the money-earned tiebreaker, the race was over before it started as Stewart went wire to wire to take the honors handily.

The series began January 22 and Stewart kicked it off with a bang. He made his way through the Event 1 final table in less than two hours and quickly late registered for Event 3. Roughly 24 hours later, he was at his second final table in as many days and went on to finish sixth. With 72.5 points, Stewart built himself a nice base and sat pat until the Main Event. He worked his way through a tough field in the championship event and found himself among the final three tables. When seven-time ring winner Ari Engel busted 19th, the tournament was preparing for a two-table re-draw, but not before a hand that involved Stewart finished. Stewart was all in and at risk holding pocket jacks against the pocket eights of his opponent. He faded the flop, but a turn eight spelled the end of his Main Event run. He squeaked into the top 18, finishing 18th, and earned 20 additional Casino Championship points bringing his total to 92.5.

The deep run in the Main Event proved to pay off for Stewart in more ways than one. While he needed to fade a runner-up finish by Claude Purches in the 12th and final event, it was his friend and travel buddy Paul Mattioda that came closest to topping him. Mattioda joined Purches at the Event 12 final table and watched as Purches finished fifth, well short of the second-place finish he needed. Mattioda, meanwhile, earned his first gold ring in the event and matched Stewart atop the leaderboard with 92.5 points. Unfortunately for Mattioda, his friend got the last laugh via the money-earned tiebreaker.

For his performance, Stewart earns a berth in the season-ending National Championship. There, he’ll compete alongside the Tunica Main Event champion, Johnny Landreth, for his share of an up-to $2,000,000 prize pool and a gold bracelet.

Here’s a look at Stewart’s Horseshoe Tunica in-the-money finishes:
  • Event #1 ($365 NLH): 1st place - $23,326 - 50 points
  • Event #3 ($365 NLH): 6th place - $5,019 - 22.5 points
  • Event #10 (The Main Event, $1,675 NLH): 18th place $7,472 - 20 points
Full National Championship points standings available on