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PokerNews Interview: Latest WSOP-C National Championship Qualifier Sam Barnhart

Sam Barnhart

Last week the World Series of Poker Circuit passed the halfway point on the 2010/2011 schedule with the completion of the Harrah’s Tunica stop. It was at that event that two men qualified for the $1 Million National Championship Freeroll at Caesars Palace in May. The first was Kyle Cartwright, who was crowned the “Casino Champ” after winning two gold circuit rings. The other was the winner of the WSOP-C Harrah’s Tunica Main Event, Sam Barnhart, who we caught up with shortly after his win.

Big win, how do you feel?

Yes, words can’t describe it. The feeling is cloud nine. It’s the greatest thing for any poker player in their plans to win one of these. I mean this is the highlight of what tournaments are all about, and what poker is all about.

We hear you got in on a satellite. What can you tell us about that?

It was the greatest experience and one of the freakiest stories. I had packed up, checked out of the hotel, was on my way home, and in a split moment decided to drop by the poker room, and Teresa [who works there] had a $180 satellite going. I had $300 left and decided to get into that, and ended up winning the single-table satellite. From there, I parlayed it in to where I am today.*

*Barnhart won $148,612 for his Main Event win

Did your Main Event go smoothly? Was it an easy ride?

No, absolutely not. I grinded it, I mean I really grinded it. I picked my spots and I was all-in probably ten times. I was down to around 4,000-5,000, but you know I was here last year when [Paul] Wasicka won. I played in that event and he was down to 5,000 in chips, so I kept telling myself, “You can do it, you can do it.” All through the tournament I kept saying this is my tournament. You have to have that confidence and willpower in order to achieve it.

When you entered the final table you entered sixth in chips behind players like Kurt Jewell and John Nguyen, what was it like playing against them?

They’re great players and they’ve got some nice records. You’re absolutely right, I was pretty low-stacked, but when I came in I talked to some friends and decided to pick my spots and hope to run good and play big pots with them, because when you’re low on chips like that you really can’t afford to play poker really. They were tough because they had the big stacks and were running over us, but you pick your spots, have patience, and usually it’ll come. I think that is the biggest mistake poker players make today is that they don’t have the patience and they think that they have to double up.

Was there one hand at the final table that changed it all for you?

The full house against Mary Harden. She ran exceptionally well, and I had dealt with her the day before. It seemed like she could not miss, and I told some guys that I was going to take her out. Sure enough, I did. When [I hit the full house] and she started betting into me, I knew it right then that her days were numbered. She was really aggressive, and I said I was going to take her out before the final table even started.

How’re you feeling about locking up a spot in the National Championship?

That is an opportunity that is a part of any poker player’s dreams. Just like it is winning one of these rings. Yeah, maybe you’re going to be a little intimidated dealing with some of the top players that have had some extreme successes, but it’s an opportunity I think that any poker player would love to have.

Here is a look at those who’ve already qualified and how they got there:

WSOPC Qualified for National Championship

James AndersonMidwest Regional Champion50011$525,449
Chris BellEastern Regional Champion50011$358,295
Chris KlodnickiEastern Regional Final Table47502$253,757
Gabe PatgorskiMidwest Regional Final Table37501$324,770
Bernard LeeMidwest Regional Final Table32002$242,950
Ketan PandyaEastern Regional Final Table30001$159,851
Curt KohlbergMidwest Regional Final Table27501$174,807
Micah RaskinEastern Regional Final Table27501$117,457
Dave “Doc” SandsMidwest Regional Final Table25001$131,299
Todd TerryEastern Regional Final Table25001$87,808
Shannon ShorrMidwest Regional Final Table22501$100,151
Andy FrankenbergerEastern Regional Final Table22501$66,758
Charles “Woody” MooreS. Indiana Main Event Champ207.516$144,530
Matthew WaxmanHarrah’s AC Main Event Champ20012$144,029
Brandon AdamsMidwest Regional Final Table20001$77,556
Jason BurtEastern Regional Final Table20001$51,607
Anthony HartmannMidwest Regional Final Table17501$60,952
Nicholas MitchellEastern Regional Final Table17501$40,538
Kurt JewellHammond Main Event Champ157.514$254,844
Mark OwensMidwest Regional Final Table15001$48,615
Seth FischerEastern Regional Final Table15001$32,362
Ian WileyHammond Casino Champ132.514$64,360
Stanley QuinnLake Tahoe Main Event Champ11012$88,438
Sam BarnhartHarrah’s Tunica Main Event Champ10512$151,044
Huy NguyenChoctaw Main Event Champ10011$232,706
Travis LutesIP Biloxi Main Event Champ10011$95,253
Blair HinkleCouncil Bluffs Main Event Champ10011$88,555
Kyle CartwrightHarrah’s Tunica Casino Champ10022$56,789
Jesus CabreraHarrah’s AC Casino Champ9502$77,440
Robert GeoratoCouncil Bluffs Casino Champ9514$30,118
Bobbie TalbotIP Biloxi Casino Champ87.503$47,764
Kevin ManleyS. Indiana Casino Champ87.512$25,498
Andrew BarberLake Tahoe Casino Champ77.503$19,527
Traci BrownChoctaw Casino Champ7501$143,426

Remaining 2010/2011 WSOPC Schedule

Circuit EventPalm Beach Kennel Club (Florida)Feb. 17-March 1, 2011
Circuit EventCaesars Atlantic CityMarch 2-13, 2011
Regional ChampionshipHarrah’s Rincon (San Diego)March 10-30, 2011
Circuit EventHarrah’s St. LouisMarch 31-April 13, 2011
Circuit EventCaesars Palace (Las Vegas)April 14-30, 2011
Circuit EventHarrah’s ChesterApril 27-May 9, 2011
Regional ChampionshipHarrah’s New OrleansMay 9-May 22, 2011

There are still a number of stops remaining on the 2010/2011 WSOP-C schedule. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook for all the updates from the circuit trail.

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