The World Series of Poker Circuit set a new record this month at the Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant, Oklahoma. Event #3, a $365 No-Limit Hold’em Reentry event, which turned out to be the largest-ever event in circuit history. The tournament featured four starting flights and attracted a massive field of 4,053 entrants, creating a prize pool of $1,215,900.
The turnout easily surpassed a 2011 reentry event at Horseshoe Hammond, which attracted 3,001 entries, and knocked last year's WSOP Circuit Choctaw reentry event, which drew 2,867 entrants, down to third place in the record books.
In the end, the title came down to two accomplished players in three-time ring winner Ray Henson, who you may recall finished 12th in the 2007 WSOP Main Event; and six-time bracelet winner and Poker Hall of Famer TJ Cloutier, who was seeking his first circuit ring.
Interestingly, it wasn’t the first time Henson and Cloutier had played heads up. Back in 2007, both made the final table of the Scotty Nguyen Poker Challenge IV $5,000 Main Event at Cherokee Casino Resort in Tulsa. That event, which attracted 105 entrants and created a prize pool of $601,400, saw Cloutier defeat Henson to take home the $240,560 first-place prize.
Eight years later, Henson had his revenge by defeating the poker legend to capture his fourth WSOP Circuit gold ring and a $197,588 first-place prize.
"It’s the first tournament I’ve won all year," Henson joked after the win.
Final Table Results
|1st||Ray Henson||Houston, TX||$197,588|
|2nd||TJ Cloutier||Richardson, TX||$122,040|
|3rd||Ben Perez||Lubbock, TX||$88,603|
|4th||Zhengyue Cao||Chicago, IL||$65,136|
|5th||Matt Lawrence||Tulsa, OK||$48,308|
|6th||Zachary Hammons||Grand Prairie, TX||$36,137|
|7th||Robert Martin||Garland, TX||$27,273|
|8th||Myles Hamm||Euless, TX||$20,775|
|9th||Taylor Black||Santa Cruz, CA||$15,928|
|10th||Krissi McFarland||Fort Worth, TX||$12,329|
According to the WSOP, Henson began heads-up play holding 24,930,000 in chips to Cloutier’s 15,600,000. With the blinds hovering at a massive 300,000/600,000/100,000, a big hand developed that would end the tournament. On a flop of , Cloutier got his stack all in holding the only to discover that he had been outdrawn by Henson, who flopped trips with the . Neither the turn nor river helped Cloutier, and he had to settle for runner-up and a $122,040 consolation prize.
Known as a genuine nice guy and family man, Henson immediately received messages of support from some of the biggest names in the game:
Congrats to my best friend and travel partner! Couldn't be happier!!!!!! @Ray_Henson Champion!!!!!Follow @audavidb
@Ray_Henson Hell yeah. Congrats Ray. Good way to start the yearFollow @RyanRiess1
@Ray_Henson congrats man! Really happy for ya. Very well deserved!! #onefurthegoodguysFollow @golferjosh
For more on the WSOP Circuit Choctaw, visit WSOP.com.
*Data and photos courtesy of WSOP.