Sam Washburn takes on all-star final table and wins. Washburn collects $188,068 and Circuit ring in first WSOP cash ever.

TUNICA, Miss. (January 29, 2018) – Sam Washburn from small-town Arkansas  has just taken down one of the toughest WSOP Circuit Main Event final tables the Circuit has ever seen to win the 2018 World Series of Poker Horseshoe Tunica Main Event. Washburn earned $188,068, a WSOP Circuit ring and a free entry to the 2018 Global Casino Championship for his victory.

The final table included four players that have a combined 15 WSOP Circuit gold rings, a WSOP bracelet and $4 million plus in WSOP earnings. Those four players were Scott Stewart (2nd), Kyle Cartwright (5th), Jake Bazeley (6th) and Nick Pupillo (8th). Rounding out Washburn’s other final table opponents were Henry Nguyen (3rd), Jim Naifeh (4th), Gil Geroge (7th) and Paul Belken (9th). Those four were strong adversaries as well. All four of them have reached multiple WSOP Circuit final tables in the past. That left Washburn as the least experienced WSOP player of the group. Prior to this event, Washburn had zero WSOP cashes and said that he has only played in a few events in the past.

Washburn wasn’t without any poker experience however. Washburn has played many hands of cash game poker in Oklahoma.

“I wasn’t intimidated. I have played with a lot of pros in cash for years over in Oklahoma, so playing with the pros doesn’t intimidate me. I know they’re good, I know they push and that they are very aggressive,” said Washburn.

Washburn enjoyed being one of the bigger stacks through much of the tournament. He bagged a 2x average stack at the end of Day 1 and then doubled up on the first hand of Day 2. He rode his big stack all the way to the final table and ended up bagging third in chips at the end of Day 2. Stewart started Day 3 as chip leader and was winning chips from everyone at the table, except for Washburn. Washburn had Stewart’s number throughout the entire day. Midway through the final table Stewart even called Washburn his Kryptonite because he couldn’t beat Washburn. With five players remaining, Washburn took the chip lead from Stewart after rivering two pair in a big pot. Then a few hands later, Washburn eliminated Kyle Cartwright in 5th place to extend his chip lead.

Eliminations came to a halt after Cartwright’s exit. Four-handed play lasted 2.5 levels long. During that time Stewart’s chip count dipped and he lost more ground on Washburn. That changed when finally hours after Cartwright’s elimination, the 4th place finisher hit the rail. Stewart eliminated Naifeh in 4th place after calling Naifeh’s three-bet shove on the flop.  Then just a few hands later, Stewart won a massive pot against Nguyen to eliminate him in 3rd place. Those two KO’s for Stewart propelled him into a 3.5:1 chip lead against Washburn heading into heads up play.

Heads up play began and Washburn doubled up on the first hand with ace-king vs. Stewart’s king-queen all in preflop. Washburn kept up the pressure and won the first five hands of the heads up battle to bring the chip counts to dead even.  Stewart and Washburn traded pots for a few hands before the biggest hand of the tournament took place. Stewart and Washburn got all of the chips in the middle preflop, about 110 big blinds, with Stewart holding ace-king and Washburn jack-ten. The turn gave Washburn a straight and left Stewart drawing dead to the river. Stewart was left with less than one big blind after the hand. Three hands later, Washburn had all of the chips in play and had won the tournament.

“That’s the toughest tournament field I have ever played through, especially Scott,” said Washburn. “He’s tough, he is really tough. He is aggressive, raise, raise, raise and he puts a lot of pressure on.”

The loss stung for Stewart. He finished 3rd in this event last year for $86,907. Although, he improved on last year’s finish, a WSOP Circuit Main Event still eludes his WSOP resume. This cash pushed Stewart’s career WSOP earnings over the $1 million mark.

Washburn is from Yellville, Arkansas. Yellville is a town of 1,000 people in northern Arkansas. Washburn plans to head home to share his victory with family and friends. Washburn is 57 and retired. He used to work as a power plant instrument tech in Texas.

Washburn earned a free seat to the 2018 Global Casino Championship with this victory. He is excited to play in the event. He wants to play in a few more WSOP events before the GCC as a warm up. Joining Washburn at the Global Casino Championship will be Stewart because he won the Casino Championship at this stop. Including this event, Stewart cashed five times this series and reached three final tables.

Final Table Results:

1st: Sam Washburn - $188,068 + GCC Seat + Circuit Ring
2nd: Scott Stewart - $116,316
3rd: Henry Nguyen - $85,055
4th: James Naifeh - $63,115
5th: Kyle Cartwright - $47,488
6th: Jake Bazeley - $36,233
7th: Gil George - $28,011
8th: Nick Pupillo - $21,958
9th: Paul Belken - $17,444

Complete Finishing Results