Burlington, North Carolina's Ryan Jones is going to be able to buy a lot of Zack's Hotdogs after the 24-year-old poker player took down the World Series of Poker Circuit Harrah’s Cherokee Main Event for $235,804 for the largest score of his poker career. Jones, who entered the event with a previous career best score of $119,582, took down the title in his home state and also won a seat into the season-ending National Championship where he'll have the chance to play for a lot more cash.
"Winning at home was pretty special for sure," Jones told WSOP officials after the win. "It feels pretty good. I've had a couple deep runs and couldn't close the deal, so it felt good to finally get it done. I'd like to thank my mom and my grandma for taking care of me all my life, and now I get to pay it back."
Final Table Results
Always home to a large turnout of players, this year's event at Harrah's Cherokee attracted a field of 786 entries and generated a prize pool of $1.179 million. That was good enough to surpass the $750,000 guarantee, and the top 81 places were set to pay out. Of those who cashed were notables David Bach (65th - $3,195), Steve Karp (52nd - $3,820), Nicholas Palma (41st - $4,244), Christopher Bell (32nd - $5,400), Michael Gracz (23rd - $8,418), Ralph Massey (17th - $11,990), and Dean Schultz (12th - $17,897).
When the final table was reached, Jones was fourth in chips, but he quickly worked on increasing his stack size. Before long, he was up over 6 million with seven players left, and then he got another boost when he sent Martin Roberts packing.
After Tony Sewell fell in sixth and Diana Dinser exited in fifth, Jones led the final four players.
In fourth place, David Williams busted Adam West, and then Williams added more when he sent Clifford Billups out the door in third. That gave Williams the lead going into heads-up play, holding 9.8 million to Jones' 5.9 million. But, as reported on WSOP.com, Jones drew first blood, moved into the lead, and then finished the job.
With the blinds at 40,000/80,000/10,000, Williams raised to 160,000 on the button on what would be the final hand of the tournament. Jones reraised to 420,000, and Williams called to see the flop. Jones led for 350,000, Williams called, and the turn was the . Jones fired again, this time for 620,000, and Williams jacked it up to 1.3 million. Jones moved all in, and Williams called.
Williams was at risk with the for two pair, but unfortunately for him, Jones' was better. The river was the , and that was all she wrote.
*Lead photo courtesy of the WSOP.