The World Series of Poker Circuit recently completed its latest stop at Harrah's New Orleans with the $1,675 Main Event, the cornerstone of the 12-ring stop, attracting 554 entries and creating a prize pool of $831,000. After four days of intense play, 33-year-old Damjan Radanov emerged as the last man standing to capture the $147,514 first-place prize, his first gold ring, and a seat into the season-ending National Championship.
"My best friend came to the States in 2004 and he said he had the best time of his life," said Radanov, who was born in Serbia but emigrated to the U.S. a decade ago. "Back then you couldn't get a student visa in your first or last year of school. I finished my third year of law school, so that was my very last shot. I just came to the States and I stayed. I followed my intuition all the way."
For the past six years, Radanov had been making his living by playing poker, and prior to his big WSOP Circuit win, his biggest score was $19,545 for winning Tunica's 2014 Southern Poker Challenge $700 Championship. He also placed third in April's Hollywood Poker Open St. Louis $1,115 Main Event for $19,030.
Final Table Results
|1||Damjan Radanov||Memphis, TN||$147,514|
|2||David Nicholson||Perkinston, MS||$107,939|
|3||Jared Ingles||Dry Prong, LA||$78,928|
|4||Hugo Perez||Plano, TX||$58,569|
|5||John Lauve||Baton Rouge, LA||$44,068|
|6||Anthony Sanchez||Houston, TX||$33,614|
|7||Tai Cao||Lafayette, LA||$25,994|
|8||Joseph Alesna||Richwood, TX||$20,376|
|9||John Holley||Destin, FL||$16,188|
The tournament attracted some familiar faces, including Chris Conrad (11th - $13,030), Terry Moore (19th - $7,329), Austin Buchanan (24th - $6,208), Loni Harwood (32nd - $4,055), Larry Wright (42nd - $3,241), and John Dolan (53rd - $2,950).
According to updates from the event, Radanov got off to a hot start when he eliminated John Holley on Hand #23 of the final table. It happened when Holley shoved all in from middle position and Radanov moved all in over the top to isolate.
It was a flip, but in this hand the proverbial coin came down in Radanov's favor after the board ran out a clean . Holley, who was seeking his fourth gold ring, had to settle for ninth place and $16,188 in prize money.
Radanov's next victim came on Hand #54 when John Lauve three-bet jammed from the big blind for nearly 700,000 over Radanov's 85,000 button open. Radanov called with the , and held against Lauve's after the board ran out . Lauve finished in fifth place and took home $44,068 for his performance.
Eventually Hugo Perez and Jared Ingles bowed out in fourth and third place, respectively, and that left Radanov and four-time ring winner David Nicholson squaring off in heads-up play. The two battled for 22 hands, and then on Hand #229 of the final table, Nicholson limped the button before calling off for 2.175 million after Radanov moved all in.
Nicholson got it in good, but he fell behind on the flop. Neither the turn nor river helped Nicholson, and he had to settle for second place and $107,939. Interestingly, it was the first runner-up finish of Nicholson's career (he has six victories and five third-place finishes on his poker résumé).
Here's a look at some of those that captured gold rings at the WSOP Circuit Harrah's New Orleans:
|Event||Winner||# of Entries||Prize|
|#1 $365 No-Limit Hold’em||Eddie Pepper||298||$21,455.|
|#2 $365 Pot-Limit Omaha||Joe Castaneda||91||$8,192|
|#3 $365 No-Limit Hold’em||Yuval Bronshtein||179||$14,500|
|#4 $365 No-Limit Hold’em Reentry||Josh Mancuso||1,153||$63,130|
|#5 $365 No-Limit Hold’em||Ryan Campbell||192||$14,976|
|#6 $365 No-Limit Hold’em Six-Handed||Cory Waaland||215||$17,415|
|#7 $365 No-Limit Hold’em||Matthew Humphrey||205||$15,989|
|#8 $365 No-Limit Hold’em Monster Stack||Christopher Sheffield||364||$24,017|
|#9 $580 No-Limit Hold’em||Travis Dorsey||300||$35,992|
|#10 $1,675 Main Event||Damjan Radanov||554||$174,514|
|#11 $365 No-Limit Hold’em Turbo||Vadim Balashov||175||$14,176|
|#12 $365 No-Limit Hold’em||Travis Dorsey||235||$18,750|
The 2014/2015 WSOP Circuit continues at Foxwoods Resort May 13-24. PokerNews will have a recap of that Main Event upon its conclusion.
*Photos and data courtesy of the WSOP.