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Jerry Monroe and Michael Horchoff win final two rings of the series  

New Orleans, LA (21 May 2018) - The 2017-2018 World Series of Poker Circuit season came to a close on Monday night with the completion of the final two ring events of the season.

Jerry Monroe made quick work of the final 13 players in the $1,675 no-limit hold'em main event to earn his third ring and $208,184 after making an epic comeback against Darren Martin heads-up. He finished off the final table in just over five hours.

Mike Horchoff (pictured) officially put a wrap on the season when he defeated Jorge Nieto heads-up in the $365 double stack no-limit hold'em. He defeated 385 entries and earned $25,414 along with the Louisiana native's first ring. He ended the series on a positive note to cap off a five-cash, two-final table series.

Horchoff's victory signified the end of the season, and more importantly the end of the points chase for the Global Championship. With all of the results entered, the finalized season standings will be updated when the system updates on Tuesday morning.

Completed Events

Event #1: $365 No-Limit Hold'em Re-Entry - Valentin Vornicu defeats 1,340 entries to win $64,205
Official Report | Winner Photo | Results

Event #2: $580 No-Limit Hold'em - Abraham Araya defeats 208 Entries to win $27,043
Official Report | Winner Photo | Results

Event #3: $365 No-Limit Hold'em 1-Day - Valentin Vornicu defeats 349 entries to win $24,084
Official Report | Winner Photo | Results

Event #4: $365 Pot-Limit Omaha - Sandeep Vasudevan defeats 152 entries to win $12,314
Official Report | Winner Photo | Results 

Event #5: $365 No-Limit Hold'em Six-Max - Brennan Benglis defeats 336 entries to win $25,206
Official Report | Winner Photo | Results

Event #6: $365 No-Limit Hold'em Monster Stack - Raymond Curran defeats 707 entries to win $43,479
Official Report | Winner Photo | Results

Event #7: $365 No-Limit Hold'em 1-Day - Terry Melancon defeats 311 entries to win $21,927
Official Report | Winner Photo | Results

Event #8: $2,200 No-Limit Hold'em High Roller - Maurice Hawkins defeats 128 entries to win $71,680
Official Report | Winner Photo | Results   

Event #9: $1,675 No-Limit Hold'em Main Event - Jerry Monroe defeats 677 entries to win $208,184
Official Report | Winner Photo | Results

Event #10: $365 No-Limit Hold'em Single-Day - Don Dove defeats 234 entries to win $17,551
Official Report | Winner Photo | Results

Event #11: $365 No-Limit Hold'em Single-Day - A.J. Allee defeats 258 entries to win $18,965
Official Report | Winner Photo | Results 

Event #12: $365 Double Stack No-Limit Hold'em - Mike Horchoff defeats 385 entries to win $25,414
Official Report | Winner Photo | Results

 Casino Championship Race

After leaving New Orleans with his 11th and 12th rings, Valentin Vornicu wins the Casino Championship with 100 points.

Casino Champion Leaderboard

About the Winners


Event #1 - Valentin Vornicu

Before the first event of the Harrah's New Orleans Circuit stop, the 34-year-old poker pro from San Diego was already one of the most accomplished players in the history of the tour. After defeating 1,340 entries in the $365 no-limit hold'em re-entry event, he added another $64,205 to his career earnings and moved into sole possession of the top spot on the all-time ring leaderboard.

The win in New Orleans was his 11th career Circuit ring, which broke a deadlock between Vornicu and Maurice Hawkins atop the list, giving Vornicu the top spot all to himself for the first time in his career. 

Vornicu's sole reason for traveling across the country to New Orleans was to earn points and make sure he qualified for the Global Casino Championship. With 50 points for his win, he nearly guaranteed a spot in August's event.

Event #2 - Abraham Araya

The 41-year-old from Texas won his third career ring in the $580 no-limit hold'em six years after taking down his first two rings in the span of two months.

Araya's first ring came in 2012 after winning the Choctaw main event for over $270,000. To this day, it's still his largest career score and it came at the most opportune time for him. Araya immigrated to America from East Africa nearly two decades ago and worked for 18 years as an airplane mechanic. He was laid off just before he won the Choctaw main event and he used the money he won at the table to start his own business.

Now, he and his wife run a family business. Working for himself has given him more freedom to work on his game and travel a little bit more for tournaments further away from home. According to Araya, when he first started winning tournaments, he wasn't that good, but his win in the $580 no-limit hold'em was the first time that he truly outplayed his opponents.

Event #3 - Valentin Vornicu

Vornicu made himself the most decorated player in Circuit history by winning the first event of the series, but if there was anybody questioning his skill, he put those questions to rest by winning his 12th Circuit ring in the very next event he played, the $365 no-limit hold'em single day event.

Event #4 - Sandeep Vasudevan

Vasudevan works in a VP role for Bank of America while playing poker as a serious hobby. He plays mostly pot-limit Omaha cash games around his hometown of San Antonio. He and his family make a yearly trip to New Orleans for Mother's Day and on this trip, he left with his second ring in the $365 pot-limit Omaha event.

The 39-year-old grew up in India and immigrated to San Antonio about 15 years ago. He played chess at the collegiate level in India and found poker thanks to his co-worker. Between his love of competition and mental battles, poker was a perfect fit for him.

"I moved to Texas, didn't know anything about poker, found out about it from a friend, read every book I could and here I am," joked Vasudevan.

Event #5 - Brennan Benglis

Benglis is a Louisiana native that now lives in Austin, TX. He won the $365 no-limit hold'em six-max event for $25,206 and his first ring, but the win meant much more to him than that. Benglis' first ring after 13 years of grinding fulfilled a promise that he made to his late grandmother. That he was going to win a big poker tournament for her.

Benglis cited his grandmother as inspiration for him throughout his life and after he was diagnosed with ADHD, and the consummate family man credits his son for changing his outlook on life. After his two-year-old son, Theo, was born, Benglis knew that every hand of poker he played wasn't just for him. That he was trying to do right by his son and give him the best possible life he could.

The 33-year-old has lived and breathed poker from the moment he went to Vegas at 18 years old and watched his best friend's father finish 11th in the 2004 WSOP Main Event. From that moment on, he began playing and dealing, and dedicated most of his time to the game.

Event #6 - Raymond Curran

Curran has been playing poker for a living for quite some time, but stuck exclusively to cash games in his current residence of Biloxi. He took some advice from some fellow Mississippi-based pros and started taking shots in tournaments.

After just five months of taking his shot at the tournament scene, he took down his first ring in the $365 no-limit hold'em monster stack event. It was only fitting that his first title came in the monster stack since the deeper stacks allowed him to maneuver his chips closer to how he would in a cash game setting.

Curran defeated Michael Monaghan, a poker friend of his from Biloxi, heads-up. It was no easy final table for Curran to run over. Outside of a lengthy heads-up battle with Monaghan, he also battled four-time ring winner Jeffrey Trudeau, who was eliminated in third and Charlie Dawson missed out on his second ring with a fourth place finish.

Event #7 - Terry Melancon

Melancon is from a small town just outside of Lafayette called Breaux Bridge, which is the crawfish capital of the country. Melancon plays poker as a hobby and works for New York Life, working in investments and insurance full-time.

He dominated the final table on very little sleep. After busting out of yesterday's tournament and playing cash until the early hours of the morning, Melancon had problems getting a good night's rest. After just a couple hours of sleep, Melancon got up, got some breakfast and then decided to enter this morning's $365 no-limit hold'em single-day event.

Nearly 17 hours later, Melancon won his first ring and $21,927. From three-handed down, it was a battle of Lafayette area poker players. Michael Benton busted in third and Melancon disposed of Michael Fontenot in second to give him bragging rights around his hometown.

Event #8 - Maurice Hawkins

Hawkins was already one of the most successful players in Circuit history before the series started and with his win in the $2,200 no-limit hold'em high roller event, he added another notch on his Circuit belt. Hawkins' win was his 11th ring and moves him back within one of another tie with Valentin Vornicu for the all-time lead. 

Vornicu won his 11th and 12th rings in the first two events he played this series and Hawkins immediately answered back with a win of his own. He defeated 128 entries and earned another $71,680. The first place money puts Hawkins over the $2 million mark in career WSOP earnings alone. 

After his win, Hawkins reflected back to this event last year, where he finished fourth and immediately went home in frustration. He didn't stay for the main event and he went on to have a successful summer at the Rio, where he made two final tables. According to Hawkins, he thinks that there will be similar, if not better success, this summer with the way he is playing.

Event #9 - Jerry Monroe

Jerry Monroe earned one of the last two automatic seats into the Global Casino Championship in August. He won the final main event of the season and mounted an epic comeback against Darren Martin heads-up to defeat 677 entries and take home $208,184 and his third ring.

Monroe takes the game seriously, but is a recreational player at heart. He spends a lot of time running a bunch of rental properties that he owns and it doesn't allow him much time to play poker. When he gets some free time to get on the felt, he's produced solid results.

Two of his three rings came in main events and the second ring came in a $1,125 buy-in events. He's shown that he can compete in higher stakes on the Circuit. Monroe resides in Georgia and predominantly plays the Circuit stops in the southeast region of the country.

Event #10 - Don Dove

Dove is the first local player to earn a ring this series. Dove took down the $365 no-limit hold'em single day event, earning $17,551 for his win in the 234-entry field. Dove lives in New Orleans and plays at Harrah's regularly, but doesn't play anything outside of the region.

He felt that with his experience playing in smaller tournaments with faster structures, that he was very well prepared for this structure with 20-minute levels the whole way through.

Dove was born and raised in Baltimore, but moved down to Alabama for graduate school, where he got his MFA in creating writing at the University of Alabama. He currently works as a freelance writer in New Orleans when he isn't playing poker.

Event #11 - A.J. Allee 

Allee is a banker from San Antonio that won the $365 no-limit hold'em single-day event. He defeated 258 entries and won $18,965 for his first Circuit title. Both Allee and his wife play and travel together to play poker tournaments. Allee is leaving with a Circuit ring, but his wife found success in New Orleans as well, taking down a nightly tournament earlier in the series. 

Aside from poker, which is one of his biggest passions, Allee has his pilot's license and enjoys flying himself to different spots on the map to play poker. Allee flew himself from San Antonio to New Orleans and plans on flying out with his wife to Las Vegas for their next poker trip.

The 50-year-old Texan made short work of the final table, finishing it off in about an hour, and ending the entire event in about 14 hours, giving Allee an hourly wage of $1,354/hour on Saturday.

Event #12 - Mike Horchoff

Mike Horchoff put a wrap on the Circuit season by winning the $365 double stack no-limit hold'em to earn his first ring. It was a long-time coming for the local Louisiana pro, with three runner-up finishes over his career as a professional poker player.

It was only fitting that he breaks through for his first at his home casino with his friends and family on the rail to see it happen. Horchoff credited a lot of recent hard work into his tournament game and surrounding himself with friends that a better influence on him as the main reasons he won his first ring in New Orleans.

Horchoff's entire series was a success. With his ring, his series was made up of five cashes, two final tables and his first title. Since his confidence is near an all-time high, Horchoff is excited for the World Series of Poker right around the corner at the Rio.