Gold-ring majority stays with Chicago area, but Virginia duo highlights Casino Champ race.

October 24, 2017 (Hammond, Indiana) -- The World Series of Poker Circuit series at Horseshoe Hammond has run its course. The Chicago-area stop concluded Monday night in The Venue. A total of twelve WSOP gold rings were handed out during the twelve days of poker.

Seven out of the twelve gold-ring triumphs were taken down by hometown players, including the Main Event title. However, when it came to the race for Casino Champion, a traveling duo from Virginia stole the show.

The first four days of play at Horseshoe Hammond were solely dedicated to Event #1: $365 No-Limit Hold’em Re-Entry, which entailed four separate starting flights. An enormous field of 2,349 entrants and $704,700 ultimately led to Jonathan Tamayo winning his third career gold ring and banking $101,400.

Following Tamayo’s triumph, the first local victor emerged. It was Jim Calvo, from Naperville, Illinoiw, who topped Event #3: $580 No-Limit Hold’em, which granted the 52-year-old poker pro a debut gold ring.

In fact, every Chicago-area winner established the same feat, winning their first gold ring. After Calvo, came a debut Circuit title for John Ma in Event #6, Richard Bai in Event #8, Adam Dembowski in Event #9, Matt Johnson in Event #12, Michael Schlegel in Event #14, and last, but not least, the Main Event Champion, Blake Battaglia.

Battaglia recorded, by far, the largest score for Chi-town. The 31-year-old poker pro conquered 1,247 entrants in Event #10: $1,675 No-Limit Hold’em Main Event to win his first career gold ring and $332,020.

The Horseshoe Hammond Main Event encompassed an overall prizepool of $1,870,500 and reached a conclusion in three-days’ time. Battaglia survived Flight B with a middle-of-the-pack stack. Then, on Day 2 he really got rolling, ending the day with a hefty chip lead.

Day 3 resumed with 19 players and there was no lack of experience among the group. Some of the big hitters remaining were three-time gold ring winner, Mukul Pahuja, Lytle Allen, who has five, final-table finishes in Circuit Main Events, and the defending Horseshoe Hammond Main Event Champion, Dylan Linde.

Heads-up action boiled down to Battaglia and one-time gold ring winner, Jeff Banghart. Even before the two faced off, they built up a big-stack rivalry, trading blows back and forth all final table. In the end, Battaglia got the best of Banghart and is now the Circuit’s most recent Main Event Champ.

A different kind of championship was earned by Edward Han, the Horseshoe Hammond Casino Championship. Han, who is from McLean, Virginia and usually sticks to the Horseshoe Baltimore Circuit, decided to voyage to the Chicago-are stop with a friend.

Han marked a great start to the series by winning Event #4: $580 Pot-Limit Omaha Re-Entry. The win granted Han his first gold ring and 50 Casino Championship points. After the achievement, Han immediately jumped into the H.O.R.S.E. tournament and placed tenth, which was good for 10 more points and top spot on the Venue Leaderboard.

Andrew Moser recorded a min-cash in the re-entry for 2.5 points and a ninth-place finish, in the same PLO event as Han, for 15 points. Then, he went on to claim his own piece of WSOP gold in Even #7: $580 No-Limit Hold’em Six Max, as well as 50 more points.

During the moments following Moser’s victory, a familiar face walked up onto The Venue stage. It was Han, who revealed that Moser was his traveling buddy, also from Virginia. Interestingly enough, the two pals found themselves battling each other for the Casino Championship.

Moser led after his win with a total of 67.5 points, compared to Han’s 60. Han was not done though. The 29-year-old made one last deep run, which came in Event #8: $1,125 No-Limit Hold’em. Han finished in fourth place, banking 27.5 more points.

With 87.5 points in the bag, Han took his leave, returning home to his fiancé before the final days of the Circuit series. Moser tried his luck in the Main Event, but did not achieve any additional points. This left Han to retain the Horseshoe Hammond Casino Champion honors.

Han, as well as Battaglia, earned themselves an automatic bid to the 2018 Global Casino Championship. Their freeroll allows them to duke it out with other WSOPC Main Event Champions, Casino Champions, and any player who ponies up a $10,000 buy-in.