Tyler, Tex. pro tames season's largest stop, punches his ticket to the National Championship.

Durant, Okla. (January 22, 2015) — Ben Reason lapped the field en route to earning Casino Champion honors at the Choctaw Casino Resort Circuit last week in Durant, Okla. Reason, a professional poker player and coach from Tyler, Tex., capped off first, fourth and 128th-place finishes in preliminary events with a sixth-place finish in the property’s Main Event. In those four tournaments alone he outlasted a combined field of nearly 6,000 players, earned a shade under $100,000 and accumulated 117.5 points toward the 12-day race to the National Championship.

Reason started out the Choctaw series with a deep run in the record-breaking 4,053-player re-entry event outlasting nearly 97 percent of the field. However, his 128th-place finish him earned a mere five points toward the National Championship and he sat 45 behind the two-tie at the top. He’d be back, motivated and better than ever a few days later in Event 5, a $365 no-limit hold’em tournament.

The 281-player field in Event 5 was much more modest than the re-entry’s, but proved to be a tough test for Reason. He played his way through perennial Circuit final tablist Austin Buchanan (20th), tournament pro Matt Kirby (18th) and was joined at the final table by fellow Casino Champion contender Justin Kruger (fifth). In the end, Reason conquered the field to earn 50 points, his second career gold ring and $20,233 in prizes.

“I just take it one hand at a time and play my best,” Reason told the WSOP regarding his playing philosophy.

He took that mindset into Event 8 just two days later and again found himself at the final table within reach of a gold trophy. This time, the cards didn’t fall as hoped and he finished fourth earning a consolation prize of $6,693 and 27.5 points. The run gave him a comfortable lead in the Casino Championship and he’d never look back.

Coming into the 12th and final day of play of the Choctaw series, Reason had impressively earned himself a position among the final 16 in the property’s $1,675 Main Event. He was uncatchable at the top of the points leaderboard and assured himself a berth in the National Championship by either winning the Main Event or taking the points title outright. He began the restart in the middle of the pack and grinded his way to the final table before jamming his shorstack all in preflop. He ran into the pocket kings of Nancy Nguyen spelling the end of Reason’s run at a title but assuring him another title — Casino Champion — and a $10,000 seat in the National Championship.

Reason’s Choctaw results:
  • Event 3: $365 re-entry (4,053 entries), 128th place, $1,070 - 5 points*
  • Event 5: $365 no-limit hold’em (281 players), 1st place, $20,233 - 50 points
  • Event 8: $365 no-limit hold’em (281 players), 4th place, $6,693 - 27.5 points
  • The Main Event: $1,675 no-limit hold’em (1,363 entries), 6th place, $71,455 - 35 points
*Indicates largest field in Circuit history

See Reason’s complete player profile on WSOP.com.

Reason is set to join the Choctaw Main Event champion, Jose Montes, at the National Championship this spring. There, they’ll compete against 98 of the Circuit’s best along with up to 100 of the top points earners from WSOP bracelet events for their share of an up-to $2 million prize pool and a bracelet of their own.

More information on the season-ending event and full standings from the Choctaw series are available on WSOP.com.