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2017/18 WSOP Circuit - HARRAH'S CHEROKEE (North Carolina)

Saturday, November 25, 2017 to Saturday, November 25, 2017

Event #2: $365 No-Limit Hold'em Turbo

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  • Buy-in: $365
  • Prizepool: $154,500
  • Entries: 515
  • Remaining: 0


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Sunday, November 26, 2017 4:52 AM Local Time

Matt Smith

Georgia doctor takes down the $365 one-day Turbo for a $33k payday

Matt Smith scored a win for the part-time poker players this weekend at Harrah’s Cherokee. Smith outlasted a field of 515 entries in the $365 Turbo, claiming the ring and the top prize of $33,224. It’s his first victory on the WSOP Circuit.

Smith, 45, is an OB-GYN doctor from Dalton, Georgia. The father of three has been playing the game for close to a quarter of a century, and he spent several years grinding online before Black Friday. During that span, he says he had more than one six-figure score, but this result represents his largest in the brick-and-mortar realm.

“I think I played well all day,” he said of his performance. “I took a couple bad beats, but I was able to keep accumulating chips.” The latter is a key component of profitable tournament play, but Smith realized there were some other forces at work, too. “Caught lucky one or twice,” he admitted. “Won a few flips.”

He makes it sound pretty easy, but the battle was far from it. At the end of a long day of poker, Smith found himself heads-up against Cory Waaland for the title.

Waaland is a seven-time Circuit winner who’s widely regarded as one of the most dangerous players on the traveling tour. He entered the final duel with the chip lead, but it would not hold.

Smith was unaware of the accolades of the man sitting across from the table, and he played like it. He quickly pulled into the lead, then ended the match right around 5 a.m.

“Once I got ahead, I just kept the pressure on,” he said after his win. "Chipped away.”

Because of his work schedule, Smith mostly plays cash games. He made the weekend trip to Cherokee to play at the Pot-Limit Omaha tables, and he quickly ran up “a few thousand dollars” in profit. He decided to lock in the win and spend the rest of the day splashing around in a tournament, and the one-day Turbo was the perfect fit.

It ended up being quite the profitable decision, too. Smith turned a few thousand bucks into more than 33 thousand of them by the end of the night.

Final table results: 

1st: Matt Smith - $33,224
2nd: Cory Waaland - $20,538
3rd: Tyler Phillips - $15,003
4th: Billy Cashwell - $11,122
5th: George Bernloehr - $8,365
6th: Chris Golding - $6,381
7th: John Bowman - $4,936
8th: John Shepherd - $3,873
9th: Derick Mauldin - $3,082

Click here for the full results.

Sunday, November 26, 2017 2:06 AM Local Time
Cory Waaland

Near the middle of Level 20, the field is reduced to nine players, and they're now seated around the final table for Event #2. Here's the lineup:

Seat 1: Cory Waaland - 813,000 (34 bb)
Seat 2: George Bernloehr - 880,000 (37 bb)
Seat 3: Billy Cashwell - 547,000 (23 bb)
Seat 4: Tyler Phillips - 1,061,000 (44 bb)
Seat 5: Matt Smith - 245,000 (10 bb)
Seat 6: John Shepherd - 521,000 (22 bb)
Seat 7: Derick Mauldin - 513,000 (21 bb)
Seat 8: Chris Golding - 166,000 (7 bb)
Seat 9: John Bowman - 365,000 (15 bb)

Cory Waaland's name is the one that jumps off the page. Waaland (pictured) is already a seven-time ring winner on the WSOP Circuit, and he's playing this event after bagging up an above-average stack in the re-entry yesterday. He starts this final table third in chips as he seeks an eighth ring.

Waaland isn't the only ring winner at the table, though. John Bowman has one of his own, and it's a big one. Bowman won the inaugural Circuit Main Event here at Harrah's Cherokee in 2013, good for more than a quarter-million dollars. He's third from the bottom in this one with an uphill climb in front of him.

Tyler Phillips leads the finalists, though, and he is so far without a major accomplishment on his live tournament record. Big payouts run in his family, though. Tyler is the brother of two-time bracelet winner Carter Phillips, who's on the rail this evening in a role reversal. So is Waaland's mother, incidentally.

It's a local affair this evening, with everyone at the final table representing a state in the region—North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee.

Blinds are 12,000/24,000 with a 4,000 ante in the current level, putting the average stack around 24 big blinds. That's not too shabby for an event with a structure this brisk. Everyone left has earned a pay jump to $3,082, but they're all eying up the ring and the top prize of $33,224.

Play continues tonight until a winner is determined.

Saturday, November 25, 2017 11:07 PM Local Time

Near the start of Level 19, the field is trimmed to 54 players, and they're now in the money in Event #2. Everyone left is guaranteed to earn at least $593.

Play continues tonight until a winner is determined, which will likely be well into the early-morning hours.

Saturday, November 25, 2017 7:37 PM Local Time

This one-day format is new this season for the WSOP Circuit, and it's turned out to be a popular one. This $365 event drew a big field of 515 entries, creating a prizepool worth $154,500. That money will be shared by the final 54 players.

A min-cash is worth $593 this evening, and the payouts escalate all the way up to $33,224 for the winner. The last player standing will also collect the gold ring for Event #2 (which will be the first one handed out this week) and an early lead in the Casino Champion race for Harrah's Cherokee.

Saturday, November 25, 2017 12:58 AM Local Time

Those who've already bagged up in Event #1 (and those eliminated from the final flight) have another option this afternoon. The series' second ring event features a $365 buy-in, and it will run from start to finish today.

Here are the details:

  • This is a one-day event 
  • Players begin with 10,000 chips
  • Levels are 20 minutes apiece
  • Late registration and unlimited re-entries are available until the start of Level 9

Cards go in the air at 4 p.m.

Saturday, November 25, 2017 12:55 AM Local Time
Event #2