Chris Russell has taken the top prize in the largest event ever held on Cherokee soil, after defeating a field of 2,937 entrants in a World Series of Poker Circuit side event.
If the re-entry rule is one thing it’s certainly controversial. It divides opinion. You either love it, or you hate it. I don’t know if Chris Russell is a fan, but I do know that he only had enough money to do it the old fashioned way. He only had one bullet. That’s all he needed.
The tale of Russell’s victory, in Event #4: $365 No-Limit Hold’em Re-Entry at the World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOPC) in Harrah’s Cherokee, North Carolina, will not feel out of place next to a campfire and a ton of s’mores.
In a last minute moment of intuition, Russell jumped into his car, and drove from Tennessee to Cherokee, with the aim of firing a single bullet in the $365 buy-in event. After the first day he had turned his starting stack into 100,000 chips. He spent the night sleeping in the back of that car. Two days later he was driving back home with $125,559 in his duffel bag.
“It’s not real, it’s not real.” An excitable Russell told WSOP officials after his win; “The whole three days are a blur right now. It feels like the first day was a year ago.”
The re-entry event has been a tremendous success for the WSOPC this season. This was the largest field in Cherokee’s history, and the organizers knew they were going to smash it. That’s why they slapped a $500,000 Guarantee on the tin. There wasn’t even a sweat. $881,100 was eventually divided between the top 297 spots.
The cream generally rises to the top and this event was no different. Russell entered the final table as the chip leader, but Tim Bowman and Adam West were never going to make it easy for him. Bowman had won this event in Cherokee two years ago, before parlaying that victory into a 5th place finish at the National Championships. West has two WSOPC final table appearances on his resume, including a 4th place finish in this one during Season 10.
Bowman (8th) and West (7th) would fall by the wayside fairly early. Russell lost the chip lead on several occasions, but would take a stranglehold on proceedings, after Bruce Webb hit the railings in fourth place. By this time Russell had over half the chips in play.
The heads-up encounter would fall between Russell and Jason Brauda, and a flush would hit Russell on the river to send him into seventh heaven. Somehow I suspect he didn’t spend that night sleeping in the back of his car.
Final Table Results
1st. Chris Russell – $125,559
2nd. Jason Brauda – $77,598
3rd. Chad Cooke – $59,509
4th. Bruce Webb – $46,099
5th. Mark Jackson – $26,196
6th. Dustin Denzik – $28,380
7th. Jeffrey West – $22,406
8th. John Bowman – $17,807
9th. Jason Sanders – $14,327