Choctaw re-entry tournament sets new record with 4,053 entries, eclipses previous mark by 35 percent.

Durant, Okla. (January 13, 2015)Ray Henson etched his name into the World Series of Poker Circuit record books late Monday night, besting 4,053 entries in what marked the Circuit’s largest-ever event. The victory, which came in Choctaw Casino Resort’s $365 re-entry tournament, earned Henson $197,588 – more than 540 times his original investment – along with his fourth gold ring.

“It’s the first tournament I’ve won all year,” Henson joked with the rail following his victory.

Impressively, the 4,053-entry field didn’t just edge out the nearest competitor – it obliterated it. The next closest tournament in terms of field size belongs to a 2011 re-entry event at Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Ind. That tournament drew 3,001 entries – a full 1,000 less. From there, the third spot goes to a 2014 re-entry event at this very property that saw 2,867 competitors jockey for Circuit stardom. With that, Choctaw owns two of the top three spots in the Circuit record books and is making a case for itself as the premiere venue on the tour.

A perennial attendance monster, Choctaw has been trending upward as of late and peaked at just the right time during opening weekend of its most recent series. The unique re-entry event boasted four starting flights beginning Friday and Saturday at noon and 5 p.m. respectively. Things started off hot from the get-go with a combined 1,615 entries in Flights A and B and the tournament was already on pace to claim the top spot in the record books.

As expected, the Dallas area players blew the doors off Choctaw during Saturday’s closing flights. In all, a total of 2,438 entries ponied up the $365 buy-in during the tournament’s final two starting flights to help surge the field well past the previous attendance record.

Despite the minefield of players, the final duel came down to two WSOP heavyweights. In one corner sat Henson who, in addition to three rings, claimed a 12th-place finish in the 2007 WSOP Main Event. In the other corner, six-time bracelet winner TJ Cloutier eyed his first ring. Play had stretched so deep that tournament staff raced off the 25,000 denomination chips in preparation for the 300,000/600,000 with a 100,000 ante level. With the ante sitting at 10 times their original starting stacks, Henson, Cloutier and the rail geared up for what was sure to be a memorable battle.

In a surprising twist, the tournament came to an abrupt end when Cloutier’s    ran into Henson’s    on a     flop. After outlasting more than 4,000 players, Cloutier got the last of his stack in and was at risk with an overpair against Henson’s trips. The board completed with the   and   giving Henson a winner and marking the end of his journey to the top spot. Cloutier, meanwhile, went home with a $122,040 consolation prize.

Afterward, Henson admitted he never let the idea of the super-sized field get the best of him. His mindset wasn’t to beat 4,000 players. Rather, he concentrated on the eight other players at his table. He said before he knew it, the field was down to 500, then 100, then finally play restarted on Day 3 with 16 and the title started to feel real.

For Henson, this marks his 23rd WSOP-related cash and moves him just shy of $1,000,000 in lifetime earnings. Joining him in the money were Matt Kirby (339th), Phil Mader (334th), Jeff Fielder (256th), Chris Bibb (197th), Doug Carli (180th), Andrew Robinson (178th), Jarod Ludemann (171st), Zal Irani (130th), La Sengphet (118th), David “ODB” Baker (107th), Tim West (88th), Daniel Lowery (73rd), Russell Ivy (48th), Drazen Ilich (40th) and Justin Gardenhire (20th).

Complete results from the tournament are available on WSOP.com.

Event 3 was the third of 12 gold ring events on the WSOP Circuit schedule at Choctaw Casino Resort. The $365 no-limit hold’em re-entry event attracted 4,053 entries. The total prize pool came to $1,215,900 and the top 423 finishers were paid.

Final table results:

1st: Ray Henson - $197,588
2nd: TJ Cloutier - $122,040
3rd: Ben Perez - $88,603
4th: Zhengyue Cao - $65,136
5th: Matt Lawrence - $48,308
6th: Zachary Hammons - $36,137
7th: Robert Martin- $27,273
8th: Myles Hamm - $20,775
9th: Taylor Black - $15,928
10th: Krissi McFarland - $12,329

Complete results available on WSOP.com.