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Wednesday, November 29, 2017 4:26 AM Local Time
Carolina grinder scores one for the home team in Cherokee
John “Mike” Notarianni walked into Harrah’s Cherokee on Tuesday with about $4,500 in carer tournament earnings. He walked out 16 hours later with $39,063 in his pockets. Notarianni took down the $365 eight-max event, snagging his first WSOP Circuit ring at the end of a long day’s work.
Notarianni, 43, is a sales rep from Charlotte, North Carolina. The game of poker is really nothing more than a casual hobby for him. “Amateur player,” he described himself. “But I’ve been playing for years and years. Mostly home games, but I come to Cherokee once in a while.”
Despite his modest record, Notarianni has notched cashes at Cherokee in each of the last four years dating back to 2013. This one is by far the largest, though, increasing his total career earnings nearly tenfold. He even took a shot at the WSOP Main Event one year, making it to Day 3 but ultimately falling short of the money.
He didn’t fall short of anything this time.
Notarianni’s Event #6 got off to a bit of a rough start, though, and he was forced to rebuild after losing about two-thirds of his starting stack during the opening levels.
Rebuild he did. By the time the field was reduced to the nine-handed final table, Notarianni was essentially tied for the chip lead with Michael Casey. The table contained three previous ring winners, too, including six-timer Mark “Pegasus” Smith.
Notarianni outlasted them all, though, defeating Charlie Dawson in the heads-up match to seal the victory around 4 o’clock on Wednesday morning.
Final table results:
1st: Mike Notarianni - $39,063
2nd: Charlie Dawson - $24,148
3rd: Alan Sack - $17,394
4th: Michael Casey - $12,698
5th: Eric Sutton - $9,388
6th: Jeff McHugh - $7,026
7th: Andrew Rebhan - $5,321
8th: Blake Whittington - $4,076
Click here for the full results.
Wednesday, November 29, 2017 12:57 AM Local Time
It took close to 14 hours of play to shrink the big field of 592 entries down to an unofficial final table of nine. There's still a lot of work to be done tonight, though.
Here's the remaining lineup:
Seat 1: Andrew Rebhan - 305,000 (15 bb)
Seat 2: Jeff McHugh - 747,000 (37 bb)
Seat 3: Michael Casey - 1,150,000 (58 bb)
Seat 4: Alan Sacks - 343,000 (17 bb)
Seat 5: Mark Smith - 430,000 (22 bb)
Seat 6: Blake Whittington - 401,000 (20 bb)
Seat 7: Charlie Dawson - 895,000 (45 bb)
Seat 8: Eric Sutton - 529,000 (26 bb)
Seat 9: Mike Notarianni - 1,137,000 (57 bb)
"Man, these things are hard to win," Eric Sutton says as he takes his seat. Sutton has a handful of WSOPC final table appearances but has yet to close out a victory.
Across the table, Mark Smith (pictured) cracks a wry, silent smirk from underneath his hat. "Pegasus" is a six-time ring winner and a former Circuit Player of the Year who's a dangerous man to encounter at the tables.
He's not the only ring winner at the table, though; Blake Whittington and Charlie Dawson have one apiece themselves. The rest of the finalists are all hunting the first of their respective careers.
Blinds are 10,000/20,000 with a 3,000 ante in the current level, so the average stack is about 33 big blinds. Everyone left is guaranteed to earn at least $3,610, but they all want the ring and the $39,063 top prize.
Play continues tonight until a winner is determined.
Tuesday, November 28, 2017 5:39 PM Local Time
These fields at Harrah's Cherokee have no chill.
Registration just closed for the $365 eight-handed with an impressive 592 entries. That turnout creates a prize pool worth $177,600, more than three and a half times the guaranteed amount. The final 64 players will earn shares of it, with a min-cash worth $519.
The winner of this event will collect the series' sixth gold ring and the top prize of $39,063. That'll happen sometime "today" but more likely well into the morning hours of Wednesday.
The board shows 136 players currently remaining at the end of Level 12.
Tuesday, November 28, 2017 2:55 AM Local Time
Most of the Harrah's Cherokee schedule remains consistent from series to series, but there's a new addition to the calendar this season. The $365 Eight-Max begins this morning with a $50,000 guarantee on the prize pool.
There's no historical data from which to gauge potential field size, but if the turnouts this week are any indication, it should be another big one.
Here are the vitals:
- This is a one-day event
- Players begin with 10,000 chips
- Levels are 30 minutes apiece
- Late registration and single re-entry are permitted until the start of Level 9
Cards go in the air at 11 a.m.
Tuesday, November 28, 2017 2:50 AM Local Time