In an impressive display, Steve "MrSmokey1" Billirakis took the chip lead on Day 1 of the World Series of Poker Circuit Main Event at the Horseshoe Hammond and never let go, going wire to wire to take down the $208,885 first prize, along with the Circuit championship ring and a buy-in to the 2009 WSOP Main Event. Along the way he outlasted fellow online stars Dustin Woolf, Jason DeWitt and Thomas Koral. The seating assignments and chip stacks looked like this as the final nine players returned to the felt to battle for the title:
Seat 1: Thomas "tommyboy83" Koral - 351,000
Seat 2: George Dietz - 174,000
Seat 3: Gary Leibovitz - 156,000
Seat 4: Steve "MrSmokey1" Billirakis - 754,000
Seat 5: Sameer Al-Dbhany - 253,000
Seat 6: Ravi Raghavan - 213,000
Seat 7: Jason "TheMasterJ33" DeWitt - 651,000
Seat 8: Dustin "Neverwin" Woolf - 419,000
Seat 9: Kyle Schertz - 325,000
After an initial feeling-out period, Dustin "Neverwin" Woolf became the first casualty of the final table when he busted in ninth place ($21,677). Woolf moved all in preflop with , and Thomas Koral called from the big blind with . The flop brought a pair for Koral as it came down , but Woolf took the lead on the turn. The river spelled doom for Woolf, as it made a straight for Koral and sent Woolf to the rail.
Play slowed for a bit after Woolf's departure, but then a burst of elimination followed as the field went from eight players to four in the span of just a few hands. Jason DeWitt led things off when he tangled with Steve Billirakis for the final time. Billirakis raised preflop with , and DeWitt re-raised from the small blind. Billirakis moved all in over the top, and DeWitt made the call with . No ace or gutshot three appeared for DeWitt as the board rolled out , and he was finished in eighth place ($25,618).
Almost immediately after DeWitt's exit, Ravi Raghavan moved all in from middle position with . Tommy Koral moved all in over the top with to isolate, and everyone else got out of the way. Koral hit an ace in the door as the board ran out , and Raghavan was sent to the cage to pick up $31,530 for his seventh-place finish.
Sameer Al-Dbhany joined the payout line in sixth place ($39,413) when he and Kyle Schertz went to war in one big hand. Schertz raised preflop with , and Al-Dbhany called to see a flop of . Schertz led out on the flop, and Al-Dbhany moved all in over the top with . Schertz quickly called with top two pair, and the turn and river came down , no help to Al-Dbhany.
Schertz claimed another scalp when he busted George Dietz in fifth place ($49,266). Dietz moved all in preflop with , and action folded around to Schertz in the big blind, who woke up with and made the call. The board ran out , and Schertz made an unnecessary set on the river to eliminate Dietz.
The field remained four-handed until well after the dinner break, and when the bustouts started again, it was Kyle Schertz who led the pack, busting in fourth place at the hands of Tommy Koral. Schertz raised preflop with , and Koral moved all in over the top with . Schertz called for all his chips, and picked up a pair on the flop. The turn was no help to either player, and Schertz needed an ace or seven to stay alive. The river came down the , and Schertz headed off to collect his $63,060 payday.
Soon after, Gary Leibovitz moved all in over the top of Steve Billirakis' preflop raise with , and Billirakis called with . The flop was rough for Leibovitz, as it came down and made a flush for Billirakis. Leibovitz needed the board to pair to stay alive, but the on the turn and on the river were no help. He earned $80,796 for his three days' work.
Steve Billirakis took the chip lead into heads-up play, as the stacks looked like this:
Thomas Koral: 1,215,000
Steve Billirakis: 2,085,000
It didn't take long for Billirakis to claim the title of youngest-ever Circuit Main Event winner, as he eliminated Tommy Koral in second place ($126,120) after just a few hands of heads-up play. In the final hand, Koral raised preflop, and Billirakis moved all in over the top. Koral called with , and was ahead of Billirakis' . The flop came down , and Billirakis held a pair and a flush draw to Koral's bigger pair. The on the turn gave Billirakis the nut flush, and had Koral drawing dead. The irrelevant river card was the , and Steve Billirakis took down his first WSOP Circuit Main Event title and the $208,885 top prize.