15 August 2022 (Cherokee, NC) - It was a record-breaking return to Harrah's Cherokee for the World Series of Poker's 2022/2023 Circuit season, its first of four stops, as a record-setting field of 1,558 entries were recorded through two starting flights and a $2,360,370 prize pool was generated.
After a prize pool was calculated, 238 players were able to take a piece of it, but it was Brett Bader who walked away with the lion's share, as he claimed the Harrah's $1,700 Main Event title that came with a $364,104 top prize, and a seat into the 2023 Tournament of Champions.
"It hasn't really sunk in, to be honest," Bader stated after his victory. "I haven't been here in a few years, and the last time I was I finished runner-up to Leif Force in the $1k."
Bader came into the final day at near the bottom half of the counts but picked his spots and went on a late final table heater to claim his third gold ring, first since 2017, along with taking down over a quarter-million dollars to go along with it was rewarding as well.
"I'm just really grateful and glad I ran well," Bader said in his closing statement.
Final Table Results
1st Place: Brett Bader - $364,104
2nd Place: Matthew Wantman - $225,047
3rd Place: Amir Atabaki - $170,095
4th Place: Thong Ho - $129,670
5th Place: David Dowdy - $99,714
6th Place: Jeff Trudeau - $77,351
7th Place: Bryan Emory - $60,535
8th Place: David Moses - $47,799
9th Place: Chris Meyers - $38,083
10th Place: Joseph Johnson - $30,618
Day 3 Action
The final day of the Main Event saw 14 players return from Day 2, each guaranteed at least a $24,842 payday.
The action kicked right into gear off the bat as Aditya Prasetyo failed to win a race against David Dowdy as he was the first player to exit on the final day while an-favorite/poker model Luke Blindert and Wayne Whitehill fell in the same level.
Shortly after, WSOP bracelet winner and eight-time Circuit ring winner Michael Lech found himself in a dominating situation against David Moses holding big slick against king-ten, but Moses flopped the nut straight to send Lech home in 11th place.
The same level saw Joseph Johnson's pocket jacks get rivered by Hong Ho's ace-ten and he made his exit 10th place, setting the stage for the official final table.
Final Table Action
Players played for almost a full level before Chris Meyers made his exit at the final table after he failed to win a race with ace-queen suited against Matthew Wantman's pocket nines.
The next level saw back-to-back eliminations after Moses' ace-king failed to crack Amir Atabaki's pocket jacks while Bryan Emory was straightened out by Brett Bader on the turn.
Just before players went on break, ten-time Circuit ring winner Jeff Trudeau's pocket king lost to Dowdy's ace-ten, sending him home in sixth place.
From here, chips started to shuffle around the five remaining players, but none more than for Dowdy who held over 50% of the chips in play at one point only to end up being the next elimination in fifth place ($99,714).
Just like Dowdy's rollercoaster day, Ho had a ride of his own, after falling to just half of a big blind, to making a run to end his Main Event in fourth place ($129,670), after his made hand of nines failed to win a race against Wantman's big slick.
Following Ho's exit was Atabaki, who jammed his short stack in the middle with ace-ten only to be called by Bader holding a dominating ace-queen. Atabaki was unable to pair his ten and his run ended in third place for $170,095.
The heads-up battle proved to be a formidable one, as both players exchanged the chip lead until Wantman called off his stack after he rivered a seven-high straight, only to see Bader held a full house, and he finished runner-up for $225,047.
That wraps up Main Event coverage on the tail end of an exciting and eventful WSOP Circuit stop a Harrah's Cherokee! Make sure to tune in for our coverage of the Hard Rock Tulsa Main Event August 26th-29th!