This is the central page for information about the ongoing WSOP Circuit series at Harrah's Cherokee. Check back here daily for updated schedule and results. (wsop.com/n/8c9)

December 4, 2018 (Cherokee, N.C.) -- The World Series of Poker Circuit made its way to Cherokee, North Carolina on Thanksgiving Day, setting off another golden tournament series. There was a total of 13 WSOP gold rings handed out in a matter of 12 days at the North Carolina stop. The Harrah’s Cherokee is known for its large fields and the recent Circuit was no exception.

Play got underway with Event #1: $400 No-Limit Re-Entry. The multi-flight event highlighted the entire first weekend at Harrah’s Cherokee. Between four separate starting legs, Event #1 drew a total of 2,273 entries. It would be the first of three events to claim a four-figure field.

The Re-Entry prizepool stretched to $750,000 and paid out 230 competitors. When the tournament reached heads-up action, it was Elilton “Tom” Gouveia going toe to toe with Irene Carey. It was a hard-fought battle that left Carey as the runner-up for $67,445 and Gouveia claiming his first gold along with a top prize of $104,807.

There was a total of four one-day events throughout the series, most of which concluded in the wee hours of the morning. All were won by players with no previous Circuit title. Keldon Smith (Event #2), Jim Burns (Event #6), Marshall Douglas (Event #11), and Justin Sharpe (Event #12), each persevered through the late hours to seize a debut WSOP gold ring.

On the other hand, there were a handful of players adding to their ring collection. First off, was Blake Whittington. The 27-year-old from Chattanooga, Tennessee triumphed in Event #3: $600 No-Limit Hold’em to capture his third gold ring and a cool $46,000.

Next up to grab another gold ring was a Circuit phenom, Martin Ryan. Since Ryan began competing on the WSOPC stage two years ago, the Trinidad and Tobago native has scooped up seven gold rings and a Harrah’s Cherokee title was simply par for the course.

Ryan registered for Event #8: $400 No-Limit Hold’em Monster Stack along with 1,165 other entrants, the second four-figure field of the series. The Monster Stack took two days to complete and when all was said and done, Ryan was posing for a winner’s photo with his eighth piece of WSOP gold in front of him.

The third player to pick up an extra ring was none other than the Main Event Champion, Jake Bazeley. Not only did Bazeley bag his second gold ring he also succeeded in a repeat achievement by winning his second Harrah’s Cherokee Main Event title.

The signature WSOP event amassed a total of 1,127 entries from two starting flights, generating a massive prizepool of $1,707,405 that paid out the top-117 finishers.

Bazeley came away with the grand prize of $311,616, but not before going through a tough heads-up opponent. Kyle Cartwright, owner of seven gold rings and a WSOP gold bracelet, was Bazeley’s final obstacle.

Bazeley started with a huge chip advantage when heads-up began. However, Cartwright found a double right away, gaining some chips to play with. The two giants of poker duked it out on the felt, but, In the end, Bazeley scooped the final pot, leaving Cartwright just one spot short of an astounding fourth Circuit Main Event title.

Along with the six-figure payout, Bazeley acquired a seat in the Global Casino Championship. The automatic bid was also awarded to one other player, the Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Champion, Daniel Statman.

Statman succeeded in accumulating the most points during the Harrah’s Cherokee Circuit series, stemming from four cashes. The 53-year-old from Cincinnati began his quest with a min-cash in Event #3, granting him a modest 2.5 points.

Then, the very next day, Statman struck gold by wining Event #4: $400 No-Limit Hold’em Six Max for 50 points. Statman was seen again later, running deep in the Monster Stack. He bubbled the unofficial final table in 11th place, but still picked up an additional 10 points.

Seemingly on a heater, Statman continued to grind and cruised to another final table appearance in Event #11: $400 No-Limit Hold’em Turbo. Continual shoves, showdowns, and bust outs ultimately left Statman in the top two.

Although he would have to settle as the runner-up this time around, the finish provided him with 37.5 more points. All in all, Statman collected a total of 100 points. Considering the field sizes at Harrah’s Cherokee, the mark was hard earned and Statman was rewarded accordingly with the title Casino Champion honors.

Completed Events

Event #1: $400 No-Limit Hold'em Re-Entry - Tom Gouveia defeats 2,273 entries to win $104,807.
Official Report | Winner Photo | Results

Event #2: $400 No-Limit Hold'em Turbo - Keldon Smith defeats 513 entries to win $36,403.
Official Report | Winner Photo | Results

Event #3: $600 NLHE Big Blind Ante - Blake Whittington defeats 406 entries to win $46,000
Official Report | Winner Photo | Results

Event #4: $400 No-Limit Hold'em Six Max - Daniel Statman defeats 539 entries to win $39,128
Official Report | Winner Photo | Results

Event #5: $400 Pot-Limit Omaha - Chris Trotter defeats 281 entries to win $22,256
Official Report | Winner Photo | Results

Event #6: $400 NLHE 8-Handed (1 Day) - Jim Burns defeats 596 entries to win $43,260
Official Report | Winner Photo | Results

Event #7: $250 No-Limit Hold'em - Stanislav Angelov defeats 739 entries to win $30,898
Official Report | Winner Photo | Results

Event #8: $400 NLHE Monster Stack - Martin Ryan defeats 1,166 entries to win $70,226
Official Report | Winner Photo | Results

Event #9: $1,125 NLHE Big Blind Ante - Michael Foley defeats 324 entries to win $76,137
Official Report | Winner Photo | Results

Event #10: $1,700 NLHE Main Event - Jake Bazeley defeats 1,127 entries to win $311,616
Official Report | Winner Photo | Results

Event #11: $400 NLHE Turbo BB Ante - Marshall Douglas defeats 388 entries to win $28,164
Official Report | Winner Photo | Results

Event #12: $400 No-Limit Hold'em Turbo - Justin Sharpe defeats 437 entries to win $33,566
Official Report | Winner Photo | Results

Event #13: $400 NLHE Double Stack - Michael Chamness defeats 512 entries to win $36,320
Official Report | Winner Photo | Results


Casino Champion Update

Daniel Statman is the Harrah's Cherokee Casino Champ. The 53-year-old from Cincinnati, Ohio cashed four times during the series, including a first-place finish in the Six Max and runner-up finish in Event #11. All in all, Statman accumulated a total of 100 points.



About the Winners

Event #1 - Elilton "Tom Gouveia

Elilton "Tom" Gouveia won his first World Series of Poker gold ring and $104,807 by topping a field of 2,273 entrants in Event #1: $400 No-Limit Hold'em Re-entry at Harrah's Cherokee Circuit series. The tournament consisted of four separate starting flights and a very extensive Day 2.

“It feels amazing. I mean, I’ve been dreaming about that,” said Gouveia who entered in Event #1 as gift to himself.  “Last Friday was my birthday. I was telling my wife, ‘okay, I just want to go and play. It’s going to be kind of a present.’”

Throughout the final table, Gouveia had a dedicated rail cheering him on. “I’m just happy I had the support of my friends from back home. I appreciate each one of them to be here with me at this moment. It’s a special moment for me.”

Gouveia finally scooped the final pot midway through Level 38, claiming granting himself a tremendous birthday present. He will return to his home in Acworth, Georgia with a six-figure payday, WSOP gold ring, and an unforgettable achievement to share.

Event #2 - Keldon Smith

After a long day of poker on Saturday, Keldon Smith grabbed the first World Series of Poker gold ring handed out at the Harrah's Cherokee Circuit series. The 45-year-old outlasted a field of 513 entrants in Event #2: $400 No-Limit Hold'em Turbo to seize the Circuit title.

“Feels good. Been trying a few years and it finally paid off,” said Smith after his triumph. “I’ve been playing about every tournament up here for the past five years.”

Although Smith has been trying his hand at Harrah's Cherokee Circuit events for a while now, his recent victory marks his first cash with the WSOP. The North Carolina native made it a good one, claiming a debut gold ring and $36,403 to go along with it.

When asked if he had any plans for the money, Smith responded “Hide it from the wife,” with a laugh.

Event #3 - Blake Whittington

Blake Whittington took down Event #3: $600 No-Limit Hold'em Big Blind Ante at the World Series of Poker Circuit at Harrah's Cherokee, capturing his third career gold ring. The 27-year-old from Chattanooga, Tennessee defeated a field of 406 entries to reach the winner's circle. The tournament was a bit of a roller-coaster ride for Whittington who had a huge chip lead going into Day 2.

“Today was frustrating at first; I started just spewing chips. I had like two times anyone else at the beginning and then all of a sudden found myself like in the middle, to low, of the pack,” Whittington explained. “I was definitely a little tilted... I kind of had to just refresh and refocus.”

Nevertheless, Whittington had a big enough cushion to stay alive, providing him an opportunity to regroup. He did just that and ended up with a third piece of Circuit gold. Along with the hardware, Whittington banked a cool $46,000 and 50 Casino Championship points. He now has over $500,000 in WSOP earnings.

Event #4 - Daniel Statman

Daniel Statman caught some run good at the World Series of Poker Circuit series in Cherokee, North Carolina. The 53-year-old topped a field of 539 entrants in Event #4: $400 No-Limit Hold'em Six Max to win his first gold ring and $39,128.

“Making hands and running like God, basically,” Statman said when asked how he played in the tournament. “Nothing different than any time I ever play, except it all works. Kind of nice when it runs correctly.”

Statman is a semi-retiree from Cincinnati, Ohio who plays in a good amount of poker tournaments and frequents the Cherokee Circuits when they run. He now has 50 Casino Championship points and will be here for the rest of the series.

Event #5 - Chris Trotter

World Series of Poker gold was claimed by Chris Trotter who triumphed on the Omaha battleground at the Harrah’s Cherokee Circuit stop. The longtime poker player from Ringgold, Georgia defeated 281 players in Event #5: $400 Pot-Limit Omaha to win his first Circuit ring and $22,256.

It was fitting that Trotter bagged a victory in the in Event #5 as it was the game type he prefers and is experienced in. “I started playing back when Omaha started getting popular, five or six years ago… I like the action better,” Trotter expressed.

The 53-year-old used to travel and play poker a bit more before significant family events became more frequent. In fact, he recently enjoyed an exciting milestone.

“My daughter got married Saturday,” Trotter mentioned. Winning a gold ring may not be as momentous as walking a daughter down the aisle. However, Trotter will surly be thrilled to share his poker achievement with family and friends.

Event #6 - Jim Burns

Jim Burns persevered to win his first World Series of Poker gold ring at the Harrah’s Cherokee Circuit series. It was not till the wee hours of Wednesday morning that Burns finally scooped up every chip in play, deeming him Champion of Event #6: $400 No-Limit Hold'em 8-Handed. All in all, the 47-year-old Sales Executive beat out 596 entries in the one-day tournament.

“I think it’s just taking a lot of experience,” Burns responded when asked how he stays focused throughout such an extensive day of poker.

Burns has a good amount of cashes under his belt. He even has two cashes in the annual WSOP in Las Vegas, one in 2012 for $52,718 and another just this past summer for $19,900. Even with the cashes, Burns has always strived to close a tournament out, but the achievement has eluded him till now.

“You know I just have never been able to catch fire once I get to the cash. And really, I was not in great shape until we got to like the last five, or six,” said Burns.

The collective purse for Burns included his first WSOP gold ring, $43,260 payout, and 50 Casino Championship points. The Tennessee resident now has right around $150,000 in WSOP earnings.

Event #7 - Stanislav Angelov

Stanislav Angelov seized his first World Series of Poker gold ring on Friday. The Bulgarian native topped a field of 739 entries from three separate starting flights in Event #7: $250 No-Limit Hold'em at the Harrah's Cherokee Circuit stop.

Along with the golden hardware, Angelov pocketed $30,898 and 50 Casino Championship points for his achievement. The win is a great momentum boost for Angelov who has been living in the United States for about 11 years and is working toward a goal.

“I recently started playing the Circuits,” Angelov said. “I have a small limousine company in Chicago. I’m trying to make some kind of transition to mostly play poker, because, you know, it’s exciting,” he continued. “The freedom, you travel, you see different places, so I’d love to travel the Circuit.”

Event #8 - Martin Ryan

The phenom, Martin Ryan, did it again on the World Series of Poker stage. Ryan conquered a whopping 1,166 entrants in Event #8: $400 No-Limit Hold'em Monster Stack to win his eighth Circuit gold ring. The tournament, featuring an enlarged starting stack, took two days to complete at Harrah's Cherokee.

Astoundingly, it is Ryan's 3rd title thus far in the 2018/19 season, all coming in less than three months. The Trinidad and Tobago native snagged his first of the season in a $1,125 buy-in event at the Coconut Creek stop, then went on to win another, his seventh gold ring overall, just nine days ago at the Choctaw Durant series.

After his triumph in Choctaw, Ryan mentioned he was going to see a doctor in Miami and if all went well, he may make it to the North Carolina Circuit. Turns out, things went well and upon entering the Cherokee Circuit scene, things got even better.

Among all his accolades, the win is Ryan's biggest score to date as well as the largest field he has ever topped. The Monster Stack victory earned Ryan $70,226. Along with the eight gold rings, Ryan also boasts over $400,000 in WSOP earnings now.

“I’m promising everybody I have to stop because back home in Trinidad they need me,” stated Ryan. “I run a game.”

Following the Harrah’s Cherokee Circuit, Ryan is without a doubt returning to Trinidad to help facilitate a longstanding poker game in his home country.

Event #9 - Michael Foley

Michael Foley was beside himself after finally closing out a ring event on the World Series of Poker Circuit stage. The 63-year-old from Michigan defeated 324 competitors in the Harrah’s Cherokee Event #9: $1,125 No-Limit Hold'em Big Blind Ante, winning his first gold ring and first-place prize of $76,137.

“Feels absolutely great,” Foley said after his triumph. “It’s fantastic to finally get a win.”

In the past three Circuit seasons, Foley has two 7th-place finishes, a 3rd-place finish, and an ever-so-close 2nd-place finish. Earlier this season, Foley placed 5th in the Horseshoe Southern Indiana Main Event.

“I told my friends ‘I’m going to win a ring this year,’ I knew I was,” mentioned Foley “I was just so close, so many final tables in the last… two and a half years.”

All the close calls had Foley hungry for first and his gut told him the crowning achievement would come this season. Sometimes believing is half the battle.

Sure enough, "Ice Cream Mike," as the call him back home, kept his cool, persevered, and took down a debut Circuit title.

Event #10 - Jake Bazeley

Back in 2014, Jake Bazeley won his first World Series of Poker Circuit title by taking down the Harrah’s Cherokee Main Event. Four years later, and the Poker Pro has done it again.

Bazeley outmatched 1,127 entrants in Event #10: $1,700 No-Limit Hold’em Main Event at the recent Circuit stop in Cherokee, North Carolina to win $311,616 and his second career gold ring.

“This I was more prepared for. That last time was my first huge win.  Bazeley stated, comparing his two Main Event achievements. “I was comfortable today, coming in… been here before.”

During his first gold-ring triumph, Bazeley made it through Flight A with a marginal stack, but ended up topping 797 entrants, earning $239,096. This time around, Bazeley put himself in a much better position, clearing Flight B with the third-largest stack overall.

On Day 2, he made the money with ease, then continued to grind. By the end of Day 2, Bazeley bagged with 1,120,000 in chips among 14 other competitors.

Day 3 began with seven-time gold ring winner, and owner of one gold bracelet, Kyle Cartwright as chip leader. Cartwright would be Bazeley’s eventual heads-up opponent.

A final table was reached fairly quickly on Day 3. When play got down to five-handed, a slew of double ups began to surface. Almost every player had their turn. It seemed no one would go bust and the tension for laddering up was high.

“To just not lose your cool and just keep playing because everyone is getting stressed out in that moment, trying to get the pay jumps,” Bazeley said, speaking on the scenario.

Eventually, something, or someone, had to give. After being reduced to scraps, Mai Chaitib nearly clawed her way back from the dead, but went out in 5th place ($81,904). Ian Holt was the next to go, dropping in 4th place ($107,567). Shortly after, Bazeley knocked out Toby Boas in 3rd place ($143,012) with pocket kings coolering Boas’ pocket queens.

This left Bazeley and Cartwright heads up. Bazeley started with a huge chip advantage, but Cartwright doubled right away, gaining some chips to play with. The two giants of poker duked it out, Bazeley going for his second Circuit Main Event title and Cartwright going for an astounding fourth Circuit Main Event title.

In the end, Bazeley had the last say when his pocket tens struck the knockout blow against Cartwright’s ace-queen. Bazeley claimed gold once again and a massive payday to boot.

During the winner’s interview, Bazeley gave a shout out to his mom, Jean, and mentioned that he is always thankful for the loving support of his wife, Josie.

Event #11 - Marshall Douglas

Marshall Douglas stuck it out till the wee hours of Saturday morning at the World Series of Poker Circuit stop at Harrah’s Cherokee. Nearing 4:30 a.m., he successfully scooped the final pot of Event #11: $400 No-Limit Hold'em Turbo Big Blind Ante.

The 34-year-old outlasted 388 entrants in the one-day event to earn his first gold ring and $28,164. The final table was not reached until after 1:00 a.m. Douglas was up against the likes of 2004 Main Event World Champion, Greg “Fossilman” Raymer, and Daniel Statman, the Casino Champ leader.

“You just got to keep your head game strong, stay focused,” Douglas said about tackling the long/late hours of poker. “It’s amazing. My first one, of course… This is my first year really playing,” stated Douglas “I don’t really know how to feel right now, all kinds of emotions.”

Douglas is a Restaurant Manager from Junction City, Kentucky with aspirations to transition more into the world of Circuit poker.

Event #12 - Justin Sharpe

Justin Sharpe has just won his first World Series of Poker Circuit title. The 35-year-old from Memphis, Tennessee used his massive chip advantage to steamroll the final table in Event #12: $400 No-Limit Hold'em Turbo. All in all, Sharpe beat out 437 entrants to claim his first gold ring and $33,566.

“My first Circuit event was three years ago at the re-entry event at Tunica” mentioned Sharpe. Although he came into the final table as second in chips, Sharpe ended up going out in 9th place. “Ever since then, I’ve just really been wanting to try and get back… close it out,”

Sharpe actually made another run at a ring just the night before where he placed 4th in Event #7: $250 No-Limit Hold’em. Third runner-up was not good enough for the Tennessee native though. Sharpe was slightly at a lose for words after his first-place finish. The achievement clearly meant a lot to the poker enthusiast.

“Little bit more than a hobby,” said Sharpe on his relationship with the game. “Poker is my passion and I enjoy the game and the people you meet in the game… a lot of fun.”

Event #13 - Michael Chamness

Michael Chamness claimed his first World Series of Poker gold ring on Monday evening at the Harrah’s Cherokee Circuit series. The Alabama native defeated a field of 512 entrants in Event #13: $400 No-Limit Hold'em Double Stack to win a debut Circuit title and $36,320. The tournament took two days to reach a conclusion.

“I play, but I’m not a tournament guy, or nothing like that. This is all very new to me,” said Chamness after his victory.

The recreational poker player usually sticks to cash-game poker and home games but decided to throw his hat into the ring in Cherokee. The decision proved fruitful, to say the least, providing Chamness with golden hardware and a five-figure payday.

A pivotal hand for Chamness was a three-way all in at the final table. “I put two people out,” he mentioned. Chamness woke up with Big Slick and got two players shoving on him. He called the jams and his ace-king held against an ace-ten and a king-queen.

From there, Chamness skated into heads-up action with a chip advantage against Jared Palmer. On a final hand, Chamness’ hit a flush on the river to scoop every chip in play, leaving Palmer one spot short of winning his second gold ring.

“I’m going back to Guntersville, and just gonna be happy I got,” Chamness stated “No change in my life.”