Blake Whittington tops 466 player field, secures ring number five and a GCC seat
May 6, 2019 (Tunica) - The latest ring winner in the World Series of Poker Circuit is Blake Whittington, who has taken down the Horseshoe Tunica Main Event for $151,789. This is Whittington's first circuit Main Event win as well as his first WSOP six-figure cash. He adds ring number five to his resume and brings his WSOP career earnings over $750,000. The Chattanooga-based pro also locks in a seat to the 2019 Global Casino Championship to go along with all the big cash ant two new rings, including the one he collected in Event #9, the night before playing in Day 1A of the main.
There were 466 entries into the Tunica main event, and by Day 3 only eight remained. Whittington began the day second in chips and quickly started to catch fire, sending Schuyler Thornton out first with a pair of kings. He would go on to eliminate four of his final-table opponents and build a massive lead with four players remaining. He chose his spots well, finding max value with almost every monster hand he found.
When asked about his feeling toward starting the day in a distant second place to Jesse Jones, he said, "It was good in a way and bad in a way. It was bad for my chances of winning the tournament, but as far as my chances of placing in, like, the top three, I thought it increased them. I figured he would putting a lot of pressure on the short stacks. I was one of the bigger stacks out of the rest of the field. I got up near the lead last night, at the end of Day 2, and I kind of played bad in a couple of spots that I really regretted. I almost gave it away, really. I think that the break before Day 3 really helped me. I was able to reset and come in with a game plan."
He found a way to lose the minimum when he had the worst of it and the maximum with the best. He played smart, thought-out poker, playing every opponent in a different way and executing his game plan perfectly during the final day of this tournament.
Whittington has been running well and feeling great, "I'm elated. The week has just been unbelievable. I just caught heat in the middle of the week. I had some deep runs, and I gained some confidence. It was crazy after I won the ring in the turbo [Event #9]."
Leading up to the main event there were many variables that swung confidence levels through the ceiling for Whittington, "I remember talking to a couple of people who said, 'Hey, you're going to do great in the main.' And I said, 'It'd be great if I final-tabled one; I've been playing them for years. It'd be sick if I could.' And then they said, 'You got this, you got this!' And I was really motivated by it and felt like I did. This was going to be a good run and here we are. I can't believe it."
When asked about the prize money and future plans. "Hopefully I'm going to put some of it away. I'll have some it for the summer at the Series, and I think I'm also going to buy myself a really nice watch. That's about the only splurge I'm going to do."
Michael Rossitto started the day around the middle of the pack and jumped out to an early lead after winning a few hands through the start-of-day chipleader Jesse Jones, who never found his groove and busted here in fourth. When four-handed play began it seemed like Rossitto and Whittington would be heads-up by the end of the night, but then Rossitto lost a couple of pots to the hot-running Whittington and was left short. The Brooklyn, NY, native soon pushed his short stack in with ace-jack against the king-queen of Whittington and could not fade the paint cards, being sent home in third.
After the departure of Rossitto, it was a lopsided battle of two between Asaf Ben Shushan and Whittington, who had a monster chip lead. In the very first hand of heads-up play, Whittington continued his heater with a full house and took over half of Shushan's stack on a hearty-sized river raise. Shushan was left with just ten big blinds. A few hands later he pushed those chips in from the button with king-high against Whittington's pocket fours. Shushan would fail to connect and Whittington was the Circuit's newest Circuit Main Event champion.
The tournament began on Friday, collecting 169 entries on Day 1A. Whittington bagged the biggest stack of the 22 that bagged by the end of the night. The second starting flight pulled in 299 entries and Jones emerged as the Day 1B leader among 40 that advanced, with Whittington still having the overall lead headed into Day 2.
The second day played ten 60-minute levels before tagging and bagging for the final day. Just eight returned for the final day, and it was Jones leading the way with a stack more than twice that of Whittington, his closest foe. Yet on Day 3, after less than three levels of play, Jones was out after running into Ben Shushan's Big Slick. The tournament would conclude just under two hours later with Whittington running over the final table, becoming the champion and earning his career-bet payday.
Official Final Table Results:
1st - Blake Whittington - $151,789
2nd - Asaf Ben Shushan - $93,847
3rd - Michael Rossitto - $68,559
4th - Roger Foley - $50,824
5th - Jesse Jones - $38,222
6th - Timothy Burt - $29,157
7th - Taylor Deane - $22,556
8th - Schuyler Thornton - $17,699
9th - Nelson Bernal - $14,085