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Friday, February 9, 2018 11:31 AM Local Time
Part-timer from Trinidad wins opening event at Coco, fifth ring in 15 months
You wouldn't know it from his results, but Martin Ryan doesn't really play much tournament poker.
The elusive 55-year-old part-time player can’t take on a full schedule of live events. He spends most of his time at home in Trinidad tending to his businesses, which include a bed and breakfast and a private card club. When he does take a seat, though, he’s something of a monster.
It’s a case of the cover not matching the contents of the book very well. Ryan is a soft-spoken, unimposing figure who’s easy to overlook at the table. He comes across much more as the host of an island resort than a cutthroat poker player.
But his poker game speaks at full volume. Ryan employs a strategy that is as loose and aggressive as any player on tour. It’s rare to see a pot in progress that doesn’t involve him in the early stages of a tournament. And he makes it work.
Poker is baked into Ryan’s blood, it seems. He’s been playing the game since he was in his teens, and he has a hard time shaking the bug even today. The draw of poker is so strong that he left a house full of guests to come play in South Florida.
“Right now it’s Carnival in my country,” Ryan said. “I have a guest house, and it’s packed. And I ran away! My guests are from all over the world, and I just left all of them.”
This win seems to confirm that a year-long heater is still intact. Ryan outlasted a field of 318 entries in this event to claim his fifth ring and the top prize of $22,416. This result brings his total Circuit earnings across the quarter-million-dollar mark, a remarkable run that now spans two seasons.
The story begins back in 2008, when Ryan won a little Seven Card Stud tournament in Las Vegas. It was only his third tournament cash on record, and it was the last time his name would show up on a results sheet for the next eight years.
Ryan took his first trip to Las Vegas for the WSOP in 2016, where he earned two small cashes. He was just another face in the crowd at that point, though. And his results were nothing to write home about.
Later that year, though, the International Circuit made its first trip to St. Maarten. That’s in Mister Ryan’s neighborhood, and he hopped across to play. It’s there that he put his name on the radar for the first time.
Ryan took down Event #5, the series’ PLO event, then went ahead and won Event #6 the next day. He nearly made it three in a row in the Main Event, too, which was Event #7. The new two-time ring winner made that final table, but he somehow managed to avoid winning. Ryan finished in eighth place.
That performance was good enough to earn him a seat to the WSOP Global Casino Championship, but Ryan wasn’t done racking up rings. Riding the heater, he started to follow the primary Circuit around on the US mainland, as his schedule permitted.
Harrah’s Cherokee hosts some of the traveling tour’s largest events, and Ryan made his first trip to the hills of North Carolina. It was to be the site of the upcoming GCC, so it was a good ice-breaking trip to the property.
The Cherokee series opened with a huge re-entry event, drawing a total field of more than 2,200 entries. You’ll never guess who entered the final table with the chip lead. Although the victory eluded him, Ryan did set a new bar for himself. His third-place finish was worth close to $50,000 and a new career best payday. He added one more cash at Cherokee before catching a westbound flight to Los Angeles.
The Circuit event at the Bicycle Casino was already under way at that point, and Ryan showed up just in time to late register for Event #8, the $1,125 event. It’s arguably one of the toughest events on the entire Tour, with a field full of LA regulars and traveling pros. Ryan toppled them all, though, adding a third ring to his collection.
The following January, Ryan nearly won the Main in Tunica, finishing in fifth place. Then he nearly won the opener at the Palm Beach Kennel Club, finishing as the runner-up. Then he did win Event #3. Ryan conquered the $580 at the dog track, scooping up his fourth ring in as many months. He became the first player to win four rings in one Circuit season.
His 2018 efforts are off to a fine start, too. He only cashed once in Choctaw last month, but he’s already one-for-one at Coconut Creek. If Ryan is in ring-winning form this week, it may not be the last winner’s interview he gives at Coco.
“We’re doing this tomorrow again,” Ryan beamed.
Final table results:
1st: Martin Ryan - $22,416
2nd: Bryce McVay - $13,862
3rd: Edward Novak - $10,068
4th: Danny Calway-Fagen - $7,436
5th: Dennis Rodriguez - $5,583
6th: Chris Halkitis - $4,258
7th: Jeff Charlton - $3,298
8th: Paulius Bikus - $2,593
9th: Nancy Thomas - $2,069
Friday, February 9, 2018 3:44 AM Local Time
Martin Ryan can't be stopped, it seems.
The part-time player from Trinidad just took down the opening event at Coconut Creek, defeating Bryce McVay in the final showdown. This victory is Ryan's fifth in the span of 15 months, with the two most recent coming in South Florida. This one was worth $22,416 plus another gold ring. He's earned well over $200,000 across his periodic Circuit appearances.
The champ held the chip lead for much of the stretch run this evening, but McVay took control of the big stack as the final table shrank down to the last few players. Ryan doubled through him twice during three-handed action, though, then finished him off in a brief heads-up match.
More about Ryan's run to the ring will be published shortly.
Friday, February 9, 2018 12:39 AM Local Time
It took about 13 hours to reduce the field from 318 entries down to a final table of 10. Here's the remaining lineup:
Seat 1: Bryce McVay - 570,000 (48 bb)
Seat 2: Martin Ryan - 518,000 (43 bb)
Seat 3: Paulius Bikus - 144,000 (12 bb)
Seat 4: Nancy Thomas - 93,000 (8 bb)
Seat 5: Jeff Charlton - 226,000 (19 bb)
Seat 6: Danny Calway-Fagen - 303,000 (25 bb)
Seat 7: Edward Novak - 590,000 (49 bb)
Seat 8: Chris Halkitis - 211,000 (18 bb)
Seat 9: Marc Anderson - 169,000 (14 bb)
Seat 10: Dennis Rodriguez - 346,000 (29 bb)
Martin Ryan was one of standouts during the 2016-17 season of the WSOP Circuit. In his rookie season on tour, Ryan won four rings, including back-to-back events in St. Maarten. He's looking to claim his first title of the 2017-18 season this evening. Jeff Charlton is the only other previous Circuit winner at the final table.
Blinds are 6,000/12,000 with a 2,000 ante in the current level, which puts the average stack at 26.5 big blinds. Everyone left is guaranteed to earn $1,676, but they're battling for a gold ring and the top prize of $22,416.
Play continues tonight until a winner is determined.
Thursday, February 8, 2018 4:32 PM Local Time
Level 10 is under way, which means registration is closed for the series' opener.
This $365 event ended up with 318 entries, which creates a prize pool worth $95,400. That money will be shared by the final 33 players, with a min-cash worth $570. The winner will collect the first gold ring of the week and the top prize of $22,416.
The full breakdown of the payouts can be found in the Prizepool tab above.
Thursday, February 8, 2018 11:04 AM Local Time
Cards are in the air for Event #1.
Thursday, February 8, 2018 9:25 AM Local Time