Several pros add another ring to an already plentiful collection and Daniel Jones wins Casino Championship

January 17, 2018 (Durant, OK) - The first World Series of Poker Circuit stop of new calendar year kicked off two weeks ago at Choctaw Casino. Just as in past years, this was one of the biggest stops of the season with over $4.5 million won and 9,302 entries over the 12 ring events.

The first third of the stop saw plenty of local players put on strong performances and take home their first ring, but for the rest of the stop, it was mostly pros or former pros taking home the hardware.

One of the most impressive performances, however, came from a player who didn’t leave Oklahoma with a ring. Texas native Daniel Jones cashed four times with his worst finish being 14th in the opening event – the $365 no-limit hold’em monster stack that drew 1,595 entries.

He finished 14th for $5,307 and followed that up with a runner-up finish in the next event he played. It was another massive field and Jones finished second in the $365 no-limit hold’em re-entry event for $97,731. He finished runner-up in the $580 no-limit hold’em for $15,981 and put a bow on his series with a 10th place finish in the $1,675 no-limit hold’em main event for $26,454.

With his four cashes and two final tables, Jones edged out Jeffrey Trudeau for the Casino Championship crown and got a seat into the 2018 Global Casino Championship. Trudeau won that title in Choctaw last November and already has his spot in the bracelet event.

Trudeau put on a second consecutive strong performance at Choctaw. After winning the Casino Championship in November, he came back in January and won his fourth ring. He was the first of what became several pros adding another ring their collection. Trudeau won a $365 no-limit hold’em event for $23,183. He also finished ninth in the main event, ninth in the $365 no-limit hold’em six-max event and 16th in the monster stack.

Just a couple days after Trudeau’s fourth ring win, Robert Hankins continued his rapid ascent up the all-time ring leaderboard with his ninth win in the $580 no-limit hold’em. Hankins defeated Jones heads-up and is now just one behind Maurice Hawkins and Valentin Vornicu for the lead with 10.

After Trudeau and Hankins, there was a surge of pros winning milestone rings. Max Young and Michael Sanders each won their third ring on the same day. Young took down the $365 no-limit hold’em six-max event for $27,059 and Sanders secured his third ring in the $1,125 no-limit hold’em for $45,361.

Young, a poker pro based in Oregon, had a breakout year on the Circuit in 2017 with two rings and a main event win in Lake Tahoe. The early returns on 2018 are signaling that 2017 was no fluke and he’s in the process of becoming one of the best players around.

Sanders, on the other hand, is an established pro from Arkansas. Sanders and November’s main event Champion, Dan Lowery, battle back and forth over the top spot on the all-time money list for the state. He bested a final table in the $1,125 no-limit hold’em that was filled with top players including Bryan Devonshire, Josh Turner and Jonathan Hilton. Sanders defeated Hilton heads-up for the title.

On the final day of the series, Jason Strasser and Wayne Lovell each earned their second ring. Strasser won the main event for a whopping $332,539 and Lovell won the $365 no-limit hold’em six-max for $55,892. This was Strasser’s second main event win. The former pro turned hedge fund manager won his first ring in the Foxwoods main event in 2013 for $186,600.

In the beginning of the series, it was local grinders that were making their mark on the circuit and winning their first ring. Adam Mirliss won the $365 no-limit hold’em monster stack, the first event of the series for $80,136 and Lou Garza won the re-entry event for $158,104.

Garza is a 22-year-old pro from San Antonio that hopes the six-figure score will jump start his career and allow him to travel to more stops, play more tournaments and make more money for his family. Mirliss used to play professionally, but put his poker career on pause to go back to school and earn a degree at the University of Texas at Dallas. He plans on playing poker when he’s done with his degree, but wants to finish school to allow him flexibility to do something else in the future.

Cody Pettit is a semi-professional poker player from Oklahoma and won the third ring of the series, a single day $365 no-limit hold’em. He picked up $32,761 and defeated 508 entries.

Josh Clanton is a familiar face on the Circuit, but it’s not necessarily for playing. Clanton, a dealer at most Circuit stops on the schedule, came to Choctaw as a player and won the $365 Big O event for $21,238. He has no plans on leaving his job as a dealer to pursue a full-time career as a player, but he put doubt in the old adage that all dealers are bad players. Clanton is a mixed games enthusiast who also won a Big O side event on the final day of the series.

The Choctaw Circuit series wrapped up in the early hours of Tuesday morning with Lovell’s second ring win, but the season doesn’t have a break. There is still a week left in the Thunder Valley series and the series at Horseshoe Tunica kicks off on Thursday.

Completed Events

Event 1: $365 No-Limit Hold'em Monster Stack - Adam Mirliss defeats 1,595 entries to win $80,136
Official Report | Winner Photo | Results

Event 2: $365 No-Limit Hold'em Re-Entry - Lou Garza defeats 3,052 to win $158,104
Official Report | Winner Photo | Results

Event 3: $365 No-LImit Hold'em Turbo (1-Day Event) - Cody Pettit defeats 508 entries to win $32,761
Official Report | Winner Photo | Results

Event 4: $365 Big O - Joshua Clanton defeats 295 entries to win $21,238
Official Report | Winner Photo | Results

Event 5: $365 No-Limit Hold'em - Jeffrey Trudeau defeats 336 entries to win $23,183
Official Report | Winner Photo | Results

Event 6: $365 No-Limit Hold'em - Jianmin Xu defeats 310 entries to win $21,854
Official Report | Winner Photo | Results

Event 7: $580 No-Limit Hold'em - Robert Hankins defeats 199 entries to win $25,873
Official Report | Winner Photo | Results

Event 8: $365 No-Limit Hold'em Six-Max - Max Young defeats 410 entries to win $27,059
Official Report | Winner Photo | Results

Event 9: $1,125 No-Limit Hold'em - Michael Sanders defeats 168 entries to win $45,361
Official Report | Winner Photo | Results

Event 10: $1,125 Pot-Limit Omaha - Sochetra Chansan defeats 174 entries to win $46,982
Official Report | Winner Photo | Results

Event 11: $1,675 No-Limit Hold'em Main Event - Jason Strasser defeats 1,249 entries to win $332,539
Official Report | Winner Photo | Results

Event 12: $365 No-Limit Hold'em - Wayne Lovell defeats 1,006 entries to win $55,829
Official Report | Winner Photo | Results