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 Anderson||Midwest Regional Champion||500||1||1||$525,449|
|Chris Bell||Eastern Regional Champion||500||1||1||$358,295|
|Chris Klodnicki||Eastern Regional Final Table||475||0||2||$253,757|
|Gabe Patgorski||Midwest Regional Final Table||375||0||1||$324,770|
|Bernard Lee||Midwest Regional Final Table||320||0||2||$242,950|
|Ketan Pandya||Eastern Regional Final Table||300||0||1||$159,851|
|Curt Kohlberg||Midwest Regional Final Table||275||0||1||$174,807|
|Micah Raskin||Eastern Regional Final Table||275||0||1||$117,457|
|Dave “Doc” Sands||Midwest Regional Final Table||250||0||1||$131,299|
|Todd Terry||Eastern Regional Final Table||250||0||1||$87,808|
|Shannon Shorr||Midwest Regional Final Table||225||0||1||$100,151|
|Andy Frankenberger||Eastern Regional Final Table||225||0||1||$66,758|
|Charles “Woody” Moore||S. Indiana Main Event Champ||207.5||1||6||$144,530|
|Matthew Waxman||Harrah’s AC Main Event Champ||200||1||2||$144,029|
|Brandon Adams||Midwest Regional Final Table||200||0||1||$77,556|
|Jason Burt||Eastern Regional Final Table||200||0||1||$51,607|
|Anthony Hartmann||Midwest Regional Final Table||175||0||1||$60,952|
|Nicholas Mitchell||Eastern Regional Final Table||175||0||1||$40,538|
|Kurt Jewell||Hammond Main Event Champ||157.5||1||4||$254,844|
|Mark Owens||Midwest Regional Final Table||150||0||1||$48,615|
|Seth Fischer||Eastern Regional Final Table||150||0||1||$32,362|
|Ian Wiley||Hammond Casino Champ||132.5||1||4||$64,360|
|Stanley Quinn||Lake Tahoe Main Event Champ||110||1||2||$88,438|
|Sam Barnhart||Harrah’s Tunica Main Event Champ||105||1||2||$151,044|
|Huy Nguyen||Choctaw Main Event Champ||100||1||1||$232,706|
|Travis Lutes||IP Biloxi Main Event Champ||100||1||1||$95,253|
|Blair Hinkle||Council Bluffs Main Event Champ||100||1||1||$88,555|
|Kyle Cartwright||Harrah’s Tunica Casino Champ||100||2||2||$56,789|
|Jesus Cabrera||Harrah’s AC Casino Champ||95||0||2||$77,440|
|Robert Georato||Council Bluffs Casino Champ||95||1||4||$30,118|
|Bobbie Talbot||IP Biloxi Casino Champ||87.5||0||3||$47,764|
|Kevin Manley||S. Indiana Casino Champ||87.5||1||2||$25,498|
|Andrew Barber||Lake Tahoe Casino Champ||77.5||0||3||$19,527|
|Traci Brown||Choctaw Casino Champ||75||0||1||$143,426|
Remaining 2010/2011 WSOPC Schedule
|Circuit Event||Palm Beach Kennel Club (Florida)||Feb. 17-March 1, 2011|
|Circuit Event||Caesars Atlantic City||March 2-13, 2011|
|Regional Championship||Harrah’s Rincon (San Diego)||March 10-30, 2011|
|Circuit Event||Harrah’s St. Louis||March 31-April 13, 2011|
|Circuit Event||Caesars Palace (Las Vegas)||April 14-30, 2011|
|Circuit Event||Harrah’s Chester||April 27-May 9, 2011|
|Regional Championship||Harrah’s New Orleans||May 9-May 22, 2011|