Lytle Allen just became the latest Main Event Champion of the 2019/2020 World Series of Poker Circuit season. He battled through a field of 491 players to walk away with the Horseshoe Tunica Main Event title, $144,313, and his first Circuit ring.
“It means a lot to me. I’ve been working hard to get to this point, and to beat the field that I was playing with in the final six, they were tough, really good players, so I feel really good about it,” Allen said after his victory.
Indeed, out of the six registration slips that made it to the final day, four of them belonged to some of the most recognized champions.
Defending champion Kyle Cartwright, Matthew Higgins, as well as Bryan Piccioli and Scott Stewart who had both made the final table of Circuit Main Event at Thunder Valley the previous weekend, had all secured a seat into the final six. James Todd Osborne, was also still in contention, and was at his third final table of the series.
However, Allen didn’t lose focus and kept playing his best game, and although he entered the final day as the second shortest stack, he began turning things around pretty quickly. He doubled up with aces against Osborne’s ace-king on the very first hand of the day in an all in preflop situation, and continued slowly stacking up.
Soon after, he scored another double when he flopped a set of deuces against Cartwright who held pocket kings and managed to get full value on the turn. That gave him the chip lead, and he kept extending from this point as he was responsible for the eliminations of Higgins in fourth place, defending champion Cartwright in third place, and lastly Piccioli in second place.
“My strategy was to come in and just play my game. I figured I was the underdog, so I just wanted to get it in with some good cards and they held up. Everything just worked out for me, everything was going my way.”
In the last hand of tournament, Piccioli who had a massive chip disadvantage was all in with ace-eight suited against Allen’s kings. Although the flop brought a pair of eights to Piccioli, it wasn’t enough for him to survive and he had to settle for the title of runner-up while Allen emerged victorious.
Final Table Action:
Hyun Lee was the first elimination of the final table on Day 2. He moved all in with second pair on the turn for his last twenty big blinds and got called by Higgins who had turned two pair. The river couldn't save him and he was sent to the exit in ninth place.
Lee was followed to the payout desk by Greg Jennings. Jennings was down to seven big blinds and needed to find a spot to double up. After a raise from Cartwright, he three-bet shoved with ace-king only to get snap-called by Cartwright who had aces. The board ran safe for Cartwright and Jennings was eliminated in eighth place.
Blake Barousse would be the next to fall. He was also short and open-shoved from the hijack with ace-jack for his last fifteen big blinds but saw a call from Higgins who held tens on the button. Higgins stayed ahead, ending Barousse's run in seventh place.
The following bustout was Scott Stewart. After losing multiple pots, Stewart was left with 9 big blinds. He moved all in with ace-nine suited under the gun and found himself dominated by Cartwright who called with ace-king from the cutoff. Cartwright improved his hand to a full house, and Stewart headed to the rail in sixth place.
Soon after, James Todd Osborne lost his final crumbs to Higgins. Osborne three-bet shoved his last eight big blinds with king-eight and Higgins added the remainder to call with king-seven. Although, Osborne was ahead, that changed when Higgins flopped a pair of sevens, and Osborne couldn’t recover, settling for fifth place instead.
Matthew Higgins was out next. Action folded to him on the button and shipped sixteen big blinds with ace-seven suited but got called by Allen who found ace-queen in the big blind. Although Higgins flopped a flush draw, he couldn’t get there, and was sent to the exit in fourth place.
Kyle Cartwright bowed out soon after. After a raise from Allen and a call from Piccioli, Cartwright shoved from the big blind and saw a call from Allen. Cartwright had ace-four but Allen was comfortably ahead with ace-queen and improved his hand to a straight, eliminating the defending champion in third place and depriving him from another title.
Bryan Piccioli was Allen’s final victim. He was all in for his last seventeen big blinds with ace-eight suited against Allen’s kings and although he flopped a pair of eights on the flop, that wasn’t enough and he was eliminated as the runner-up.
Final Table Results
1st place: Lytle Allen - $144,313
2nd place: Bryan Piccioli - $89,191
3rd place: Kyle Cartwright - $65,574
4th place: Matthew Higgins - $48,840
5th place: James Todd Osborne - $36,857
6th place: Scott Stewart - $28,187
7th place: Blake Barousse - $21,849
8th place: Greg Jennings - $17,170
9th place: Hyun Lee - $13,681
That wraps it up for the first Circuit stop in Tunica of the 2019-2020 season. There will be a second stop at Horseshoe Tunica, starting April 23rd until May 4th.
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