St. Louis (March 2, 2015) – For the past three days, Josh Turner has seemed destined to wind up in the winner’s circle. He won the Main Event at the World Series of Poker Circuit at Lumiere Place in St. Louis, going wire-to-wire and sitting atop the leaderboard at the end of every day of competition.

A St. Louis local, it only seems appropriate for Turner’s season to reach its apex here in his hometown. Turner has been on fire this entire season, and his victory today marks his 11th cash, his seventh final table, and his second ring. Despite his mountain of accomplishments over the past few months, this is his biggest achievement to date. It’s his first deep run in a Circuit Main Event, and the $136,945 he earned for his victory represents the biggest live cash of his burgeoning poker career (his previous highest cash was less than half that amount).

Turner was in the driver seat for virtually the entire tournament. He finished Day 1A (Friday) with 400,500 in chips, and the second-place player had only 261,000. After Day 2, there were only 9 players left. Turner again ended the day with the lead, carrying 2,129,000 in chips into the final table. Second place was John Longowa, who had 1,676,000. While a few other players built up their stacks on the final day, Turner never relinquished his lead.

After the event, Turner had a hard time containing his excitement, and echoed the idea the he seemed fated to win in his home city. “This is awesome. It’s hard to even talk,” he said after securing his win. “I would need to win a [WSOP] bracelet to feel I accomplished something bigger than this. I would never want to win a ring anywhere else but here. For it to be the Main Event, it's even more important. It was cool because I didn’t even sleep the night before [Day 1A]. I actually played all Day 1 on no sleep so I was a little out of it, then just went wire-to-wire. I felt great. I felt like it was my tournament, I really did. I felt destined I was going to win it. My family thought I was going to win it. I even told my two nieces this morning that we’re going to Disney World.”

Turner plans to use his victory and the prize money to help propel him to the next stage of his poker career. “[The money] helps. It’s just going to make me get in bigger tournaments,” he said. “In the past, I was selling little pieces. I didn’t always keep everything. Now I’m just on my own so this is 100% me.”

The pace of play at the final table started slow, but once the action picked up, the eliminations came quickly, and Turner steamrolled the table. During the first two hours on Monday, there were five all-in confrontations, and the short-stack doubled up each time. There were no eliminations until after the first break of the day, when Mike Rieck was eliminated on the final table’s 66th hand. In the next hour and 15 minutes, four more players were eliminated, and by the end of the fourth full level of the day, Turner was heads up against Javier Zarco.

For everyone watching the final table, it came as no surprise that Zarco made it to heads-up play against Turner. He started the day fifth in chips with less than a third of Turner’s stack, but he dominated the final day of play nearly as much as Turner. At one point, he nearly surpassed Turner in the counts after picking off the eventual-winner’s big river bluff, but by the time heads-up play began, Turner had re-established his lead and held a chip advantage of more than 2-1.

In addition to the ring and the prize money, Turner wins a free entry into the 2015 WSOP National Championship. Every Main Event winner and Casino Champion on the Circuit during the 2014-2015 season receives a free entry worth $10,000, and event will have a minimum prize pool of $1,000,000. The National Championship will be held in late July, and full details are expected to be released soon.

The tournament began Friday with Day 1A, which attracted 194 entries. Day 1B saw an additional 221 entries, and the 415-entry field generated a prize pool of $622,500. In-the-money finishers include Tom Franklin (43rd Place, $2,814), Yuval Bronshtein (41st place, $2,814), Yossi Azulay (29th place, $3,897), Michael Sanders (28th place, $3,897), three-time Circuit ring winner Josh Reichard (25th place, $4,451), and Chris Conrad (19th, $6,032). Among those who entered but didn’t make the money are Kevin Saul, Jarod Ludemann, BJ McBrayer, Zal Irani, WSOP bracelet winners Kyle Cartwright and Chris Tryba, and former November Niner Dennis Phillips.

Here are the final table payouts. Full results are available here.
1 – Josh Turner - $136,945
2 – Javier Zarco - $84,629
3 – David Lee - $61,839
4 – Jesse Watson - $45,916
5 – Zac Campbell - $34,623
6 – John Longowa - $26,500
7 – Scott Vetter - $20,580
8 – Ben Beighle - $16,210
9 – Mike Rieck - $12,948