On Monday, Samuel Taylor became the first Main Event winner of the 2015/16 World Series of Poker Circuit season. Taylor, a college student who plays poker to support himself, topped a field of 461 entrants to take down the WSOP Circuit Foxwoods Main Event for $149,020 and his first gold ring.
"Poker's good because it lets you play poker and go to school," the economics major, who only has one semester left, told WSOP officials. "I had the sickest feeling about this tournament."
The score marked the biggest of Taylor's career, but he'd actually notched two other six-figure scores. The first came in January 2013 when he placed third in the World Poker Tour Borgata Winter Poker Open $560 No-Limit Hold'em Big Stack Reentry for $137,261, and he followed that up with a fifth-place finish in the 2013 WSOP Event #17: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em for $118,145. Taylor also finish 300th in the 2014 WSOP Main Event for $33,734.
Taylor, a friend and protégé of two-time WSOP Circuit ring winner Chris Leong, also earned an entry into the 2016 WSOP Global Casino Championship.
Final Table Results
|1||Samuel Taylor||New York, NY||$149,020|
|2||Johanssy Joseph||Spring Valley, NY||$92,184|
|3||Mitch Garshofsky||Las Vegas, NV||$67,232|
|4||Brandon Miller||Paramus, NJ||$49,904|
|5||Soukha Kachittavong||Woonsocket, RI||$37,428|
|6||Jeremy Meachem||Oak Bluffs, MA||$28,556|
|8||Chris Tryba||Evergreen, CO||$17,328|
|9||Joseph Tieri||West Shokan, NY||$13,881|
Notable finishes: Tim Reilly (11th - $11,159), Bryan Leskowitz (20th - $6,376), Cate Hall (32nd - $3,604), Brad St. Vincent (50th - $2,633)
According to updates from the event, the third and final day saw 10 players return to action, but two of them fell within the first four hands. Then, on Hand #40, Brandon Miller opened for 60,000 from the hijack only to face a three-bet to 160,000 from WSOP bracelet winner Chris Tryba. Miller responded by moving all in and Tryba called off.
Tryba had a major kicker issue, and he failed to get lucky as the board ran out . Tryba had to settle for eighth place and a $17,328 consolation prize.
As for Taylor, he only notched two eliminations at the final table, and they were the two that counted. On Hand #208 of the final table with three players remaining, Mitch Garshofsky got his stack all in preflop holding the against the of Taylor. Unfortunately for Garshofsky, the flop gave Taylor a straight. The turn left Garshofsky drawing dead, and he was bounced in third place for $67,232 after the was run out on the river.
Heads-up play between Taylor and Johanssy Joseph lasted less than 20 hands, and in what would be the last of the tournament, the latter shoved all in holding the and the former called with the . The board ran out , and Joseph earned $92,184 for his runner-up finish while Taylor emerged as the WSOP Circuit Foxwoods champion.
The WSOP Circuit will next be at the Horseshoe Baltimore from August 20-31.
*Photos and data courtesy of the WSOP.