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With the summer’s biggest sweat, the 2018 World Series of Poker (WSOP) well behind, it’s now the WSOP Circuit tournaments that are sending a trail of thrilling action at the felts. The first of 28 scheduled stops of 2018 WSOPC visited Harrah’s Cherokee in Western North Carolina, and conquering a field of 1,056 players, Adam Ross (cover image) emerged victorious in the $1,700 NLHE Main Event.
Ross had to staff off some stiff competition from top pros including Ryan Phan, who gave Ross a tough heads-up fight for the title. Indian-origin Raveesh Asnani was another prominent force in the tournament who eventually finished third for $135,986.
After winning the top payday of $295,970, an excited Ross exclaimed, “No more mortgage!”
With only $70,000 in live earnings before winning the tournament, Ross has indeed much to celebrate. In addition to the prize money, he also locked in a seat to the 2019 Global Casino Championship (GCC), where he will rub shoulders with poker’s elite.
“This is life-changing money. I’ve had about 20 cashes but never a win. Never life-changing money. I’m gonna continue to play a little poker, and continue to be a Sales manager at my job. I think I’ll play in Vegas – the Main Event next year,” Ross said.
With many key changes, the 15th season of WSOPC is expected to be a record-breaker. All official ring events will have players starting with more chips, the buy-ins have changed and each stop will also feature a $1,700 Main Event while many stops will offer a High Roller event with buy-ins varying as $2,200, $3,250 or $5,300.
1,056 players made their way into the Main Event in Harrah’s Cherokee over two starting flights leading to a massive $1,599,840 prize pool, of which a total of 108 players were to get a share. Only 21 progressed to Day 3 where the field would play down to a champion.
Ross began Day 2 with 170,250 in chips and comfortably chipped up through the day to take an impressive 1.8 Million stack to Day 3. He climbed up the leaderboard early on Day 3 after flopping trip jacks with jack-ten against an opponent`s jack-nine.
Phan, who scored an 11th place finish at the 2018 WSOP Main Event remained a big challenge for Ross throughout, and carried a sizeable stack to the final table. But Ross was equally prepared, having chipped up well after doubling up through Irene Carey (15th for $19,166) whom he relegated to the rail with his pocket nines against the latters ace-ten.
Other notables who fell out on the final day included six-time WSOP Circuit ring winner Daniel Lowery (14th for $19,166), Jesse Rockowitz (17th for $15,790), and Eyal Bensimhon (20th for $13,151).
Action on the official final table began after the eliminations of Tom Reynolds (11th for $23,518) and Sterling Scott (10th for $23,518).
Final Table Recap
Nine players entered the final table and Justin Adams was shown the door by Ross first, in a hand where Adams opened under the gun to 605,000 and Ross made it 1.25 Million from the big blind. Adams retaliated by shoving for 3 Million and was called off by Ross. Ross’s pocket aces crushed Adam’s ace-king, eliminating the latter in ninth place.
Phan was then put at risk in a hand against Raveesh Asnani when he ran his pocket fives into Asnani’s pocket kings. However, Phan managed to win the hand after hitting a backdoor straight.
Charles Johnson and Tyler Payne had become quite short by now and were eliminated in quick succession, in eighth and seventh place respectively.
Next up, Ross opened and Matthew Ernst 3-bet on which Phan countered by a 4-bet all in with pocket kings. Ross folded while Ernt moved all in with his remaining chips holding , but could not improve and exited in sixth place.
Andrew Kelsall then moved all in with from the button and Ross woke up with pocket kings in the small blind. Though Kelsall turned a flush draw he didn’t get there and hit the rail in fifth place.
2017 Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Champion Bradley Mercer next shoved with pocket fives and came up against Asnani, who held pocket jacks. Mercier’s tournament journey ended in fourth place.
In three-handed play, Raveesh Asnani took control of two-third of the chips early on. With each player vying to grab the lead, Phan doubled through Asnani first and then Ross doubled right back through him. Ross continued to climb while Asnani became short stacked. He was eventually eliminated in third place as Phan raised from the button, Asnani moved all in from the small blind and was called by Phan. Phan tabled king-queen against Asnani’s queen-jack and won the pot.
Heads-up, Ryan Phan took a 3-to-1 chip lead early on against Ross but the latter evened things out after a cooler hand where he flopped a straight against Phan’s two pair. Ross also caught a two-barrel bluff by Phan on an ace-high board. In the final hand, Ross called with to Phan’s . The board brought a set of deuces for Ross on the river, sealing his victory while Phan had to settle for a runner-up finish.
Final Table Results (USD)
1. Adam Ross – $295,970
2. Ryan Phan – $182,990
3. Raveesh Asnani – $135,986
4. Bradley Mercer – $102,230
5. Andrew Kelsall – $77,736
6. Matthew Ernst – $59,802
7. Tyler Payne – $46,539
8. Charles Johnson – $36,636
9. Justin Adams – $29,181
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