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

Monday, November 27, 2017 to Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Event #4: $365 No-Limit Hold'em 6-Handed

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  • Buy-in: $365
  • Prizepool: $182,100
  • Entries: 607
  • Remaining: 0


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Tuesday, November 28, 2017 4:52 PM Local Time

Steven Rugihaver

Part-timer picks up his second Circuit victory in as many stops

The last time the WSOP Circuit stopped at Harrah’s Cherokee in August, Steven Ruighaver was one of the 12 ring winners, taking down a $365 Turbo for what was, at the time, a career-best payout. He’ll be among the ring winners once agin this time, too.

Ruighaver topped a field of 607 entries to win the $365 six-handed event, adding another ring to his collection and $36,346 to his bankroll. The event’s attendance was a record for the Circuit and the payout a new career-best for the champ.

Ruighaver, 29, is the owner of his own construction company in Sumpter, South Carolina. He’s married with two children, an 11-year-old son and a 6-year-old daughter.

“I told ‘em I was taking it home to the wife and kids,” he said after the last river card landed. “Told ‘em I was bringing the money home.”

This property represents the closest casino in which Ruighaver can play live poker, and he’s certainly made the most of his recent trips. He’s brought the money (and the ring) home twice in recent months.

“I was running hot,” Ruighaver ran through the two-day event in his head. “I couldn’t miss a hand.”

The field of 607 was reduced to 17 survivors by the time Day 1 ended, and Ruighaver was seventh in chips when the clock ran out. He had worked his way into a big lead by the time the final table was set on Day 2, but the remaining field was not going to let him have it easily.

Three-handed play pitted Ruighaver against multiple ring winners Robert Hankins (8) and Cody Brinn (2). It was lopsided from the start, and the tournament ended in a three-way all in.

Hankins took his stand as the short stack with ace-nine, Brinn did the same with king-jack, and Ruighaver put them both at risk with ace-six. Two more sixes appeared on the flop, and Ruighaver ended up with sixes full to bypass heads-up play and move straight into the winner’s circle.

Final table results:

1st: Steven Ruighaver - $36,346
2nd: Cody Brinn - $22,464
3rd: Robert Hankins - $16,078
4th: Kevin Bowker - $11,643
5th: Gary Thill - $8,532
6th: Renick Patterson - $6,327

Click here for the full results.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017 3:27 PM Local Time

Two hours into Day 2, the field is whittled down to one table of seven players. Here's the remaining lineup:

Seat 1: Gary Thill - 954,000 (48 bb)
Seat 2: Renick Patterson - 243,000 (12 bb)
Seat 3: Robert Hankins - 706,000 (35 bb)
Seat 4: Cody Brinn - 998,000 (50 bb)
Seat 5: Steven Ruighaver - 1,710,000 (86 bb)
Seat 6: Rick Drake - 1,048,000 (52 bb)
Seat 7: Kevin Bowker - 410,000 (21 bb)

Blinds are 10,000/20,000 with a 3,000 ante in the current level, putting the average stack well over 40 big blinds. Everyone left is now guaranteed to earn at least $4,750.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017 1:57 AM Local Time
Robert Hankins

Level 21 concludes, and that's the end of Day 1 in this record-setting six-handed event. From the starting field of 607 entries, just 17 players remain.

Eight-time ring winner Robert Hankins (pictured) is among them, bagging up the second-largest stack. Hankins, better known as "Skinny" at the tables, showed up to the series a few days late and is already working on a deep run. He finished the night with 671,000 chips, good for more than 55 big blinds at the Day 2 starting level.

Here's the top of the overnight leaderboard:

1. Rick Drake - 890,000
2. Robert Hankins - 671,000
3. Cody Brinn - 589,000
4. James Malone - 477,000
5. Terry Vaughn - 465,000

Others still in contention include Renick Patterson (302,000), Sean Small (292,000), Mel Lyon (281,000), and Hank Sitton (168,000).

Click here for the full list of chip counts.

Everyone left is guaranteed to earn at least $2,165 on Tuesday. Blinds will be 6,000/12,000 with a 2,000 ante when play resumes, so the average stack is just shy of 30 big blinds. They're all playing for the series' fourth gold ring and the top prize of $36,346.

Day 2 begins at 1 p.m.

Monday, November 27, 2017 5:04 PM Local Time

The staff anticipated a big turnout day, but perhaps nothing quite this large. Registration just closed for the six-max with 607 entries, setting a new all-time record for short-handed events on the WSOP Circuit.

It actually presented a bit of a problem, as the payout tables did not previously account for more than 600 entries. Tournament Director Jack Effel revised the chart on the fly to accommodate the large field, and the numbers are in.

The final 66 players will earn shares of the $182,100 prize pool, with a min-cash worth $545. Each of the top four players will earn five figures, with a top prize of $36,346 reserved for the winner. There is also, of course, a gold ring on the line.

Play continues tonight until the end of Level 21.

Monday, November 27, 2017 1:19 AM Local Time

There are two ring events on the schedule today at Harrah's Cherokee.

The morning event is the $365 Six-Max, perfect for those who enjoy a little extra elbow room at the table. It features 10,000-chip starting stacks and a single re-entry during the registration period.

Josh Reichard is the defending champion of this event. A year ago, Reichard outlasted a field of 518 entries to win what was, at the time, his fifth gold ring. He's gone one to add three more to his collection in the meantime, putting him among the Circuit's all-time leaders.

Reichard hasn't been spotted in Cherokee yet this week, so his title defense is in question. Regardless, a similar turnout is expected this time around with another $100,000 guarantee on the prize pool.

Here are the vitals:

  • This is a two-day event 
  • Players begin with 10,000 chips
  • Levels 1-18 are 30 minutes apiece
  • Remaining levels are 45 minutes apiece
  • Late registration and single re-entry are available until the start of Level 9
  • Day 1 ends after Level 21

Cards go in the air at 11 a.m.

Monday, November 27, 2017 1:11 AM Local Time
Event #4