Professional poker player Jason Wheeler has outlasted 1,214, players to claim the title of World Series of Poker Circuit Main Event Champion at Bally’s Casino in sunny Las Vegas. Wheeler is a very seasoned player with 32 lifetime WSOP cashes totaling $1,119,380 (including today’s win). Prior to this win, Wheeler’s largest WSOP score occurred this past summer in Event #2: $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em where he took 5th for a $112,339 payday. Today marks Wheeler’s first ever WSOP Circuit Ring victory.

Wheeler started Day 3 of the Main Event 6th in chips out of the final 23 players. Throughout the day, he steadily climbed through the field and entered the very pro-heavy final table also 6th in chips. He faced incredible competition, as the final table was filled with many well-known professional poker players whose total combined live tournament earnings exceed $17,726,855, with four WSOP bracelets among them (Lisa Hamilton, Mike Leah, Brandon Wittmeyer, and Anthony Spinella.

In regards to the final table, Wheeler said, “The final table was tough. Guys with chips put up a fight.” He went on to say, “I knew a lot of the people at the final table. Some of them were people I’ve played with a lot before. Anthony Spinella and Jamie Rosen I’ve played with for years. I was able to focus in on some of the things they were doing from playing with them previously as well as over the past few days, and that allowed me to get some reads and take advantage of some situations.”

There were 23 players to start the day, with the first elimination taking place just 14 minutes in. The field was reduced to the final two tables within the first two hours of play. Players reached the final table when Richard Mullen, who won his first ever Circuit ring at this stop earlier in the week, was eliminated in 11th place running pocket tens into Anthony Spinella’s pocket kings.

After the redraw, Steve Merrifield was eliminated in 10th place ($25,713). Within 30 minutes there were two quick eliminations when Nipun Java being was eliminated in 9th place ($25,713), and Brandon WIttmeyer in 8th place ($31,904). Michael Rocco was eliminated in 7th place ($50,806) after getting his aces cracked by Jeffrey Kim’s pocket kings.

There was not a scheduled dinner break today, but the players voted for a one hour break with six remaining. Mike Leah was eliminated in 6th place ($65,246) just two hands after returning from break. It then took nearly two full hours before Jeffrey Kim was sent home in 5th place ($84,768).  Anthony Spinella and Jason Wheeler shared nearly 2/3 of all the chips in play when they entered 4-handed play. Even so, after battling mainly against each other in major pots, and after Spinella doubled a few players up, he was left short stacked and eliminated in 4th place ($111,081). Jamie Rosen followed almost immediately in 3rd place ($147,009).

When Heads up play began, Wheeler had Hamilton 5:1 in chips. Play lasted a matter of only a few hands before Lisa Hamilton was eliminated in 2nd place ($200,310), and Jason Wheeler was crowned the winner of Main Event.

After play concluded Wheeler said, “I feel really great right now. I’ve been playing really well lately, and I’ve been waiting for a run to culminate in a victory, which is really satisfying.” He also went on to say that while he has not been playing many events in the US lately, mostly traveling to Europe, but said that playing in the states more may be in his future.

In addition to $323,236 prize money and the coveted ring, Wheeler has earned a free entry into the 2016 WSOP Global Casino Championship. Every Main Event winner and Casino Champion at each of the 2015-2016 WSOP Circuit stops receives a free entry (valued at $10,000) that features a minimum prizepool of $1,000,000.

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