The 2016 edition of the WSOP Circuit Horseshoe Hammond was another huge and successful series, and it ended with suitably large drama on Monday.
The $1,675 Main Event was the marquee event on the final day. It had drawn an impressive field of 1,308 entries, making it the seventh-largest Main in the Circuit's 13-year history. Monday's action began with the final 28 players returning to the stage to play for the top prize of nearly $350,000 and the diamond ring.
Among the remaining field were seven ring winners, two bracelet winners (Jonathan Hilton and Ben Keeline), and a World Poker Tour Champion, Ravi Raghavan. Raghavan was near the top of the leaderboard all weekend long, but he dropped out of the Main in 16th place for close to $20,000. His series wasn't quite finished yet, though; more on that in a moment.
Dylan Linde had built himself a long list of tournament results, both live and online, but he was still seeking his breakthrough live victory. He got it in the Main Event, defeating local cash game hero Arif Rahim in the heads-up duel to win his first Circuit ring. The victory was Linde's largest on record, and it moved him well over the million-dollar mark in career tournament earnings.
The aforementioned Raghavan had busted the Main just in time to late-register for the $5,300 High Roller, and he quickly got to work on the other side of the room. In the wee hours of the next morning, Raghavan and Keven Stammen were playing heads-up for the High Roller ring, the last two players remaining at the only active table left inside the cavernous tournament venue. Raghavan defeated Stammen around 2:00 AM, adding a gold ring and more than $130,000 to his elite stat sheet.
Although they were the only two left playing at that hour, there was one more player whose fate hung in the balance of that match. Art Harb, a Chicago police sergeant, had cashed three times and made two final tables during the series, and he was clinging to his spot atop the Casino Champion leaderboard with one event left to fade. One player left to fade, really. Raghavan had begun the day with just 2.5 points, trailing Harb by 67.5 -- not even on the radar as a threat to challenge for the crown. Raghavan's Main Event performance was worth 20 points, though, bringing him to 22.5 and suddenly putting him in contention with his entry into the High Roller. He need nothing short of a win to earn the title, and he got it, stealing the Casino Champion honors away from Harb on the series' final river card.
Both Raghavan and Linde earned seats to the 2017 WSOP Global Casino Championship for their performances at Horseshoe Hammond.
Event #1: Jason Ramos wins $97,016 Story | Results
Event #2: Alin Cotolan wins $27,627 Story | Results
Event #3: Navin Kamal wins $17,639 Story | Results
Event #4: Erik Anderson wins $39,004 Story | Results
Event #5: Kenny Jackson wins $17,399 Story | Results
Event #6: John Holley wins $31,318 Story | Results
Event #7: John McCoy wins $41,720 Story | Results
Event #8: Joe Brandenburg wins $13,203 Story | Results
Event #9: Dylan Linde wins $248,369 Story | Results
Event #11: Nate Crawford wins $13,178 Story | Results
Event #12: Ravi Raghavan wins $132,798 Story | Results
Event #13: Matt Lambrecht wins $14,275 Story | Results