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2016/17 WSOP Circuit - HORSESHOE HAMMOND (Chicago area)

Sunday, October 16, 2016 to Monday, October 17, 2016

Event #2: $580 No-Limit Hold'em

download official reportdownload official winner photo
  • Buy-in: $580
  • Prizepool: $110,500
  • Entries: 221
  • Remaining: 0


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Tuesday, October 18, 2016 3:24 PM Local Time

Alin Cotolan

Five years after fishing in third place, local carpenter breaks through in same event

Hammond, Indiana (October 18, 2016) — Alin Cotolan is the champion of Event #2 at Horseshoe Hammond, defeating a field of 221 players to win his first gold ring. In addition, Cotolan collected the top prize of $27,627, his second significant score on the WSOP Circuit.

Cotolan is a 40-year-old carpenter from Chicago, Illinois by way of Hateg, Romania. “I’m Romanian like [Daniel] Negreanu,” he said with a smile. “But he was born in Canada.” This final table appearance was the second of Cotolan’s Circuit career, five years removed from a third-place finish in the very same event. He didn’t have to settle for another near miss this time.

The champ finished Day 2 in third place on the leaderboard with 13 players remaining, and just a few hours later, he was three-handed with the chip lead. The rest of the match was a volatile one, though, and Cotolan was the shortest of the three stacks at one point. He eventually found himself heads-up with Jeff Holcomb, though, and a cooler decided the match.

On the final hand, a short-stacked Holcomb flopped top pair with king-eight of hearts on a king-queen-ten flop. He got the rest of his chips in right there, only to see that Cotolan’s jack-nine had flopped a straight. The turn was a blank, and Cotolan sealed the victory one card early.

“It’s unreal,” an exhausted Cotolan said in the moments after his win. “I didn’t expect it.” He seemed truly surprised to have reached his goal, but perhaps these results shouldn’t come as such a shock, as they continue to come with some regularity despite his limited opportunities. When asked if he’s thought about pursing the game full time, Cotolan nodded pensively. “I definitely want to consider it,” he said. “Believe me, I work a lot, and my back…” he said, trailing off as he stretched in the chair.

Cotolan is now tied for the lead with 50 points on the Casino Champion leaderboard, and he said he intends to return Friday to play the Main Event as the race heats up in Hammond.

Monday, October 17, 2016 8:41 PM Local Time

Alin Cotolan
After a close call in the same event a few years back, Alin Cotolan (pictured above) has broken though for victory in Event #2, earning his first gold ring and the top prize of $27,627.

On the final hand of the match with Jeff Holcomb, Cotolan opens the button with   , and Holcomb defends his big blind with   . The flop is    , hitting both players, and Cotolan leads out with the king-high straight. Holcomb's top pair is good enough to commit the rest of his stack, and Cotolan calls to put himself two cards from victory. The   turn and   river complete the board, ending the duel with Cotolan as the champion. The full story of his win will be published shortly.

Holcomb (below) collects $17,074 for his runner-up finish.

Jeff Halcomb

Monday, October 17, 2016 8:40 PM Local Time
Jason Mendoza

With the elimination of Jason Mendoza in third place, Alin Cotolan and Jeff Halcomb are heads-up for the ring in Event #2. Cotolan begins the duel with the chip lead.

Alin Cotolan - 1,700,000 (57 bb)
Jeff Halcomb - 955,000 (32 bb)

Blinds are 15,000/30,000 with a 5,000 ante, putting just less than 90 total big blinds in play.

Monday, October 17, 2016 7:59 PM Local Time

The final three players are locked in a stalemate, and they've elected to pause for a 30-minute dinner break. Here's how they'll stack up when the new level begins with 15,000/30,000 blinds and a 5,000 ante:

Seat 1: Jeff Halcomb - 950,000 (32 bb)
Seat 2: Alin Cotolan - 1,110,000 (37 bb)
Seat 3: Jason Mendoza - 595,000 (20 bb)

Each of the three are guaranteed to earn at least $12,427 this evening, with more than twice that amount and a gold ring reserved for the winner. Play resumes at 8:30 PM.

Monday, October 17, 2016 2:31 PM Local Time

It took less than one level of action to shrink the field to 10 players, and they've combined around the final table. Start-of-day chip leader Joseph Mendoza has yet to arrive for Day 2, but his stack is still setting the pace as it sits in front of his vacant seat. Here's the remaining lineup:

Seat 1: Jeff Halcomb - 345,000 (43 bb)
Seat 2: Li Shen - 118,000 (15 bb)
Seat 3: Leonardo Loconte - 173,000 (22 bb)
Seat 4: John Brzozowski - 433,000 (54 bb)
Seat 5: Alin Cotolan - 279,000 (35 bb)
Seat 6: Fadi Hamad - 169,000 (21 bb)
Seat 7: Ryan Jaworski - 110,000 (14 bb)
Seat 8: Miles Reinhard - 351,000 (44 bb)
Seat 9: Marcus Anthony - 142,000 (18 bb)
Seat 10: Jason Mendoza - 539,000 (67 bb)

Everyone left is now guaranteed to earn at least $2,069. Blinds are 4,000/8,000 with a 1,000 ante in the current level, putting the average stack at about 33 big blinds.

Monday, October 17, 2016 2:01 PM Local Time
The final 13 players are back in their seats, and Day 2 is under way. Play will continue today until a winner is determined.
Monday, October 17, 2016 12:20 AM Local Time
End of Day 1
Monday, October 17, 2016 12:20 AM Local Time

Level 18 has come to a close, and that signals the end of Day 1. The starting field of 221 players has been trimmed to just 13 as the bags come out for the survivors.

Hammond local Jason Mendoza is the overnight chip leader, turning his 10,000-chip starting stack into an impressive 565,000 by night's end. That gives him a huge chip lead over the chase pack, as John Brzozowski represents the next closest challenger with 315,000. The full list of survivors and their chip  counts can be found in the "Reports" tab above.

Everyone left is guaranteed to earn at least $1,698 tomorrow, with a gold ring and a top prize of nearly $28,000 awaiting the winner. Day 2 begins at 2:00 PM.

Sunday, October 16, 2016 10:50 PM Local Time

With a round of applause from the remaining field, the final 24 players are now in the money in Event #2. Everyone left is guaranteed to earn at least $1,020.

Level 17 is just a few minutes old, and with the blinds at 2,000/4,000 and a 500 ante, the average stack is about 28 big blinds. Play is scheduled to continue tonight until the end of Level 18, just over an hour from now.

Sunday, October 16, 2016 6:09 PM Local Time

Registration is closed for Event #2, and the numbers are in. This $580 no-limit hold'em event officially drew a field of 221 players, generating a prizepool worth $110,500. That money will be shared by the final 24 players, with a min-cash worth $1,020. The series' second gold ring and a top prize of $27,627 are reserved for the eventual winner.

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

Sunday, October 16, 2016 3:43 PM Local Time

Level 8 is just about to begin, and the field for Event #2 has swollen to more than 200 entries and counting. There will be a break following this level, after which registration will close for this noon event.

The prizepool information will be released shortly thereafter.

Sunday, October 16, 2016 12:03 PM Local Time

The starting time for Event #2 has arrived, and the cards are in the air for this $580 two-day event. Here are the vitals:

  • Players begin with 12,000 chips
  • Levels 1-12 are 30 minutes apiece
  • Levels 13-21 are 40 minutes apiece
  • Late registration is available until the start of Level 9 (~4:30 PM)
  • There is a dinner break after Level 12
  • Day 1 concludes at the end of Level 18
  • View the structure sheet