Cherokee, N.C. (August 15, 2016) - The first Main Event of the 2016/2017 World Series of Poker Circuit season is in the books, and the first winner of the new season is Steven Snyder. He earns $241,198 and a WSOP Circuit gold ring, and he becomes the first official entrant into the 2017 WSOP Global Casino Championship. That invitation-only tournament has a minimum prize pool of $1,000,000, and Snyder receives a free entry.

Snyder enjoyed success on the Circuit last season as well. He had earned an at-large bid to the 2016 Global Casino Championship (held here at Harrah’s Cherokee last week) based on his place on the season-long leaderboard. A couple days ago, he was trying to make friendly wagers about whether he’d earn enough points to qualify again. It would've been a good bet for him. He's now the season’s first automatic qualifier.

Snyder describes himself as a family man, and as part of his celebration plans to take his family on a vacation. He has a three month old daughter at home (his second child – he also has a 14 year old son), and said he wants nothing more than to spend time with his family after his victory.

This is the largest victory of Snyder’s live tournament career, and he was extraordinarily excited. “I’m not gonna stop smiling for three months,” he said just before the official winner photo. However, he also took a moment for more serious reflection amidst the celebration. He dedicated his victory to the memory of Jonathan Abla, a friend of his who passed away recently. Abla was also a regular fixture on the WSOP Circuit, and if not for his untimely passing he likely would have been here at Cherokee to cheer on Snyder at the final table.

Throughout the final table, the Casino Championship race hovered in the background. Snyder had a shot at the title, having made a final table earlier in the series. However, the Main Event winner receives no points (earning a free entry in the Global Casino Championship instead), so Snyder will not receive that title. Kevin Davis started the day atop the leaderboard, but several players in the money in the high roller event and the turbo event (both still in action as the Main Event wrapped up) have a shot at over taking him.

One of the other highlights of the Main Event is the continued success of Josh Turner. Turner was fresh off a third-place finish in the 2016 Global Casino Championship, and made a final table for the second time in less than a week. He’s been enjoying enormous success on the Circuit lately. He won his third career ring at the Horseshoe Tunica in January, and virtually hasn’t slowed down since. He won his fourth ring at Horseshoe Council Bluffs in April, and followed in up with a Main Event finish in the Council Bluffs Main Event. He ended up winning Casino Champion honors at Council Bluffs, earning a free seat into the GCC. He’s starting the new Circuit season right where he left off, with yet another final table performance in a Main Event.

Three other competitors in the Global Casino Championship made the Main Event final table: Scott Stewart (7th place, $36,578), Jim Juvancic (4th place, $81,707), David Aker (3rd place, $109,625), and Steven Snyder. Turner was the only one who made the money in the GCC.

The tournament attracted 804 entries (307 in Flight A and 497 in Flight B) and had a total prize pool of $1,206,000, easily surpassing the $1,000,000 guarantee. A total of 138 players advanced to Day 2 on Sunday, and 13 made it to the final day.

Other players making the money include Global Casino Championship competitors TJ Thondup (16th place, $12,265), Jason Gooch (17th place, $12,265), John Holley ($10,215), Peter Vitantonio (26th, $7,345), Salvatore DiCarlo (39th place, $4,342), Chris Carey (44th place, $4,342), Neil Scott (56th place, $3,558), Maurice Hawkins (58th place, $3,558), and Cody Pack (24th place, $8,611). Pack finished last season atop the Circuit points leaderboard, and is now off to a solid start to the new season as well.

Here are the final table payouts. Click here for full results.

1 – Steven Snyder - $241,198
2 – Russell Sullivan - $148,700
3 – David Aker - $109,625
4 – Jim Juvancic - $81,707
5 – Roger Jones - $61,711
6 – Joshua Turner - $47,215
7 – Scott Stewart - $36,578
8 – Matthew Higgins - $28,691
9 – Gregory Yeager - $22,781