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2015/2016 WSOP Circuit - HARRAH'S ATLANTIC CITY (New Jersey)

Sunday, March 20, 2016 to Monday, March 21, 2016

Event #6: $365 Monster Stack No-Limit Hold'em

  • Buy-in: $365
  • Prizepool: $84,600
  • Entries: 282
  • Remaining: 0


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Tuesday, March 22, 2016 4:38 PM Local Time
Stephen Dees

Stephen Dees is the champion of Event #6 at Harrah’s, defeating a field of 282 entries in the $365 Monster Stack event to win his first gold ring. In addition to the jewelry, Dees collected the top prize of $20,303 and 50 points toward the race for seats in the WSOP Global Casino Championship.

“I’m so stoked right now,” Dees said, beaming with a broad smile in the moments after his win. “I’m trying to contain my elation, but I’m just stoked right now. I’m spoiled and I’m humbled, and I’m just trying not to take it for granted. I wanted this so badly.”

The champ is a 28-year-old professional poker player from Ohio, though he now makes his home in Charlotte, North Carolina. He’s been playing poker since college, but he only recently started down the path of pursuing it professionally. Late last year, Dees gave up his career in import-export logistics to focus on the game full time.

“I felt like I had the game to transition into a professional player,” he said. “But it’s always scary when you make it your only source of income. So I just dedicated myself to the game. I started to study up, started to hone in on the craft and find out where the holes in my game were.”

Whatever he's doing, it's working so far. Still in the dawn of his poker career, Dees has already scored a breakthrough victory, his first five-figure score, and the gold ring that so many covet.

“I feel like that’s a big load off my back,” he said as he reflected on the result. “Whatever I do, I strive to be the best. Poker is one of those things I put in that category. But it’s a long road with all the great players in today’s game. To win a ring is a battle.”

Dees entered the final table with a commanding chip lead and an edge of nearly 2:1 over his nearest challenger, and he took that same lead into the heads-up match against Alexander Queen. The latter had come close to winning Circuit gold in the past in the very same building, finishing as the runner-up in a $1,000 event at Harrah’s in 2009. “It was an extremely tough field,” Dees acknowledged. “Alex is a great player. When I sat down at the final table, he was the one player I was hoping would get knocked out quickly.” Queen wasn’t knocked out quickly, however, even taking control of the chip lead at one point during the duel with Dees.

The two men were very close in chips when the last hand of the match began with Queen raising from the button. Dees defended his big blind with queen-four and flopped trips on the king-four-four board. He led out, then barreled through the turn six and river deuce. His river bet was about a pot-sized all in for 2,050,000 chips, and Queen spent a long while in the tank before calling and seeing the bad news. It was initially tough to tell who had more chips, so Dees paced around the table nervously as the stacks were counted down. Queen had the exact same count as it turned out, and he was thusly eliminated as the runner-up once again.

“Queen-four?!” Dees scoffed in jest as he posed for the winner’s photos. “Is that the hand I have to take photos with? I wanted it to be something pretty.”

Monday, March 21, 2016 9:50 PM Local Time

Alexander Queen opens the button with a raise, and Stephen Dees defends his big blind.

The flop comes    , and Dees leads out with about a half-pot bet. Queen calls that one, then another sizable bet on the   turn. The river is the  , and Dees moves all in for 2,050,000, a slight overbet of the pot. Queen spends several minutes in the tank, then calls with a comparable stack. Dees shows   , and Queen taps the table in acknowledgement as he mucks his cards.

When the stacks are counted down, Queen has the exact same 2,050,000, so he is eliminated. Dees wins the pot and the tournament with trip fours.

A recap of his victory will be published shortly.

Stephen Dees
Stephen Dees - Winner ($20,303)


Alexander Queen
Alexander Queen - 2nd place ($12,548)
Monday, March 21, 2016 7:58 PM Local Time

Stephen Dees and Alexander Queen are heads up for the ring in Event #6. Queen has been in this spot before, finishing as the runner-up in a $1,000 ring event in this same building in 2009. Dees is already looking at a career-best result regardless of the outcome, appearing at his first live final table.

Here's how the final two stack up with 25,000/50,000 blinds and a 5,000 ante:

Stephen Dees - 3,845,000 (77 bb)
Alexander Queen - 1,795,000 (36 bb)

Monday, March 21, 2016 7:52 PM Local Time
Thomas Balla
Monday, March 21, 2016 7:35 PM Local Time
Quintin Trammell
Playtika - Jason Alexander
Monday, March 21, 2016 7:19 PM Local Time

Ring number five will have to wait for Vincent Moscati. He's eliminated in fifth place at the hands of Stephen Dees, who now holds a commanding chip lead with four players remaining.

Vincent Moscati
Monday, March 21, 2016 6:55 PM Local Time
Patrick Salierno
Monday, March 21, 2016 6:27 PM Local Time
Carlos Pacheco
Monday, March 21, 2016 6:20 PM Local Time
James Hundt Jr.
Monday, March 21, 2016 6:16 PM Local Time
Joe Reddick
Playtika - Jason Alexander
Monday, March 21, 2016 5:51 PM Local Time

It took nearly two full levels of action to reduce the field from ten to nine players, but the final table is now set in Event #6. Here's how they stack up with blinds at 12,000/24,000 and a 4,000 ante:

Seat 1: Vincent Moscati - 500,000
Seat 2: Alexander Queen - 860,000
Seat 3: Carlos Pacheco - 318,000
Seat 4: Stephen Dees - 1,464,000
Seat 5: Quintin Trammell - 780,000
Seat 6: Thomas Balla - 484,000
Seat 7: James Hundt Jr. - 558,000
Seat 8: Joe Reddick - 350,000
Seat 9: Patrick Salierno - 297,000

Everyone left is guaranteed to earn at least $1,863, while a top prize of more than $20,000 and a gold ring await the eventual winner.

Monday, March 21, 2016 2:04 PM Local Time

The final 17 players have returned to the ballroom at Harrah's for Day 2 of Event #6. The bubble burst late yesterday evening, and each of the remaining players is guaranteed to earn at least $1,033 today.

Cards are in the air.

Monday, March 21, 2016 2:43 AM Local Time

From a starting field of 282 entries, just 17 have survived the first 21 levels. The bags are out on the tables, and Day 1 has concluded.

Stephen Dees won a massive flip with pocket nines against ace-king during the last level to end the day with an impressive stack of 656,000 chips. That's only good enough for second place at the moment, though. Joe Reddick pipped him at the finish line, bagging up 664,000 for the overnight chip lead. Four-time ring winner Vincent Moscati also survived the day, sitting well above average with 413,000 chips.

Here's how the remaining field stacks up as the day ends:

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 2.46.49 AM

Blinds will be 6,000/12,000 with a 2,000 ante when play resumes, so the average stack is about 27.5 big blinds. Everyone left is guaranteed to earn at least $1,033 with a top prize of more than $20,000 up for grabs. Day 2 begins at 2:00 p.m., and they'll play until a winner is determined.

Monday, March 21, 2016 1:34 AM Local Time

Level 21 begins, the final level of Day 1. The board shows 22 players. John Yanni (who won Event #2 here) and four-time ring winner Vincent Moscati are among the remaining field.

Blinds are 5,000/10,000 with a 1,000 ante, and the average stack is about 25 big blinds.

Monday, March 21, 2016 12:41 AM Local Time

Right at the tail end of Level 19, the field is reduced to 30 players, and they're now in the money. Everyone left is guaranteed to earn at least $574.

With the blinds going to 4,000/8,000 and a 1,000 ante, the average stack is 23.5 big blinds.

Playtika - Jason Alexander
Sunday, March 20, 2016 11:02 PM Local Time

The numbers are in for Event #6. This Monster Stack drew a field of 282 entries, generating a prizepool worth $84,600. That money will be shared by the final 30 players with a min-cash worth $574. The eventual champion will collect the gold ring and $20,303 in cash.

A full breakdown of the payouts can be found in the Prizepool tab.

Sunday, March 20, 2016 5:55 PM Local Time

Level 12 begins, and the blinds have increased to 600/1,200 with a 200 ante. Registration will close after the upcoming dinner break, so this is the last chance to join the field for Event #6. The board shows 278 players so far.

Sunday, March 20, 2016 4:17 PM Local Time

The first eight levels are complete, and the players are on their second break of the day. The field has grown to 266 entries and counting, with registration open for two more hours.

Sunday, March 20, 2016 2:23 PM Local Time
The field is just returning from their first break of the day, and Level 5 begins. The board shows 244 players so far with registration available until the start of Level 13.
Sunday, March 20, 2016 12:05 PM Local Time

While the re-entry event is always a popular one on the Circuit calendar at each stop, everyone loves the Monster Stack. Today's Event #6 gives players 20,000 starting chips, twice as many as the other $365 preliminary events. The first 12 levels are 30 minutes apiece, and registration is open until the start of Level 13.

Cards are in the air.

Playtika - Jason Alexander