The World Series of Poker Circuit Horseshoe Tunica’s $1,675 Main Event attracted 597 runners, including some of poker’s best up and comers. But in the end, Sam Washburn from the small town of Yellville, Arkansas, beat them all to capture the title and a $188,068 first-place prize.
Sam Washburn hails from a small Arkansas town of 1,000 people, and now he’s heading back there as a World Series of Poker Main Event champion. (Image: WSOP)
No Intimidation Here
Washburn, a 57-year-old retired power plant instrument tech, had to overcome a final table that included Scott Stewart, Kyle Cartwright, Jake Bazeley, and Nick Pupillo. Those four players combine for 15 WSOP Circuit gold rings, a bracelet, and more than $4 million in WSOP-related earnings.
“I wasn’t intimidated. I have played with a lot of pros in cash for years over in Oklahoma, so playing with the pros doesn’t intimidate me,” Washburn told WSOP officials. “I know they’re good, I know they push and that they are very aggressive.”
Washburn wound up squaring off against Stewart in heads-up play. He doubled in the first hand with Big Slick against king-queen, and not too long after they played the biggest hand of the tournament. It happened when Washburn raised to 275,000 with the J♦10♥ and Stewart three-bet to 900,000 holding the A♠K♦.
Not to be outdone, Washburn four-bet to 1.8 million and then called off when Stewart moved all in. The 9♣7♦4♠ flop gave Washburn a gutshot straight draw, and he hit it after the dealer burned and turned the 8♣. The 10♠ river changed nothing, and Stewart sent over nearly all his chips. He’d go bust a few hands later.
“That’s the toughest tournament field I have ever played through, especially Scott,” said Washburn. “He’s tough, he is really tough. He is aggressive, raise, raise, raise and he puts a lot of pressure on.”
Not only did he win the first six-figure prize of his career, he claimed his first gold ring and secured a seat into the 2018 Global Casino Championship. While Stewart didn’t win, he did take WSOPC Horseshoe Tunica Casino Championship honors after cashing five times and making three final tables. He too got a Global Casino Championship seat.
Others to cash the Main Event were Aaron Massey (16th for $9,448), Schuyler Thornton (42nd for $3,492), and Andrew Stevenson (59th for $2,928).
Lucky Horseshoe Tunica Winners
Mike Cordell (Image: WSOP)
The WSOPC Horseshoe Tunica stop featured a dozen gold ring events. Those fields drew a combined 4,531 entries and awarded more than $2.1 million in prize money. Among those to capture rings were first-time winners Warren Bishop (Event #2: $365 Pot-Limit Omaha for $8,256), John Jacob (Event #5: $365 NLHE for $16,727), and Moin Kazi (Event #11: $365 NLHE for $18,888).
WSOP bracelet winner Mike Cordell also took home a ring, which was the fourth of his career. He prevailed over a massive field of 1,208 entries in Event #3: $365 NLHE Re-Entry for $56,620.
It was Cordell’s third WSOPC win within the past year. Two years ago, he won the 2016 WSOP Event #10: $1,500 NLHE 6-Handed for $346,088.
“It feels great, big field,” said the reserved Cordell. “Good payout.”
The WSOP Circuit now heads to downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin for a stop at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino from February 1-12.
Main Event Final Table Results
1 Sam Washburn (Yellville, AR) $188,068
2 Scott Stewart (Lakewood, CA) $116,316
3 Hung Nguyen (Jackson, TN) $85,055
4 James Naifeh (Covington, TN) $63,115
5 Kyle Cartwright (Bartlett, TN) $47,488
6 Jake Bazeley (Cincinnati, OH) $36,233
7 Gil George (Dallas, TX) $28,011
8 Nick Pupillo (Addison, IL) $21,958
9 Paul Belken Jr. (Festus, MO) $17,444