Last year, Russ Head navigated a field of 360 players to finish runner-up to Greg Johnson in the 2014/2015 World Series of Poker Circuit Horseshoe Southern Indiana $1,675 Main Event. Amazingly, he returned this past weekend and found redemption in the same tournament by topping a field of 374 to earn his second career gold bracelet at a $123,420 first-place prize.
It wasn't easy though, especially during the heads-up portion of the tournament when Head, who began the final table tied for the short stack, battled Abhishek Yerra for a grueling six hours.
"Last year when I played Greg heads-up I played very fast, very aggressive," Head told WSOP officials. "This year I wanted to play small ball as much as I could, see the flops and not get my money in until I knew I had him."
As for the money, which was the largest score of his career, Head plans to donate 10% to "We the Church," a new church in his hometown of Rome, Georgia; while also using some of the cash to remodel his wife's kitchen.
"It’s bittersweet because you get a decent payday, but for guys like me that work full time and do this as a dream, well, you put your heart and soul into this and want first so bad," Head said about finding redemption. "Second money is great, but there is no ring involved."
The win also awarded Head a seat into the 2016 Global Casino Championship, which comes a season after he qualified for the 2015 National Championship as one of the 50 at-large bids. Meanwhile, Frank Covich was also awarded a seat after finishing as the WSOP Circuit Horseshoe Southern Indiana Casino Champion.
Final Table Results
|1||Russ Head||Lindale, GA||$123,420|
|2||Abhishek Yerra||Okemos, MI||$76,268|
|3||William Watson||Lexington, KY||$55,730|
|4||Richard Bai||Schaumburg, IL||$41,379|
|5||George Woody II||South Charleston, WV||$31,203|
|6||Chad Eveslage||Ramsey, IN||$23,882|
|7||John Mahler||Dallas, TX||$18,546|
|8||Lytle Allen||Nashville, TN||$14,608|
|9||Kim Schinco||Freeland, MI||$11,669|
Notable Finishes: Joseph Anthony (10th - $9,447), Adam Friedman (16th - $6,451), Kurt Jewell (17th - $6,451), Michael Hahn (24th - $4,639), Dean Schultz (39th - $2,536), and Juan Mora (45th - $2,536)
According to updates from the event, Head got off to a hot start by going from the short stack to the big one. It happened in Level 25 (12,000/24,000/4,000) when he raised to 52,000 from middle position only to have William Watson three-bet to 130,000 from the hijack. Lytle Allen then called off from the big blind for 57,000, Head called the additional chips, and it was off to the flop.
Head bet 100,000, Watson called, and the appeared on the turn. This time Head bet 125,000, Watson called, and the paired the board on the river. Head bet 150,000, and Watson called with the . Unfortunately for him, it was no good as Head rivered trips with the . Allen was took his leave after revealing the .
Not long after, Head flopped a straight with the on a flop and was ahead of John Mahler's . Neither the turn nor river influenced the hand, and Mahler fell in seventh place for $18,546 while Lead vaulted into the chip lead.
He put it to good use by navigating his way to heads-up play, which previously mentioned turned out to be an epic battle. The final hand of the tournament came to pass in Level 33 (80,000/160,000/20,000) when Head, who had pulled out to a big lead, moved all in from the button holding the and Yerra opted to call off his last 1.6 million with the . The board ran out and Yerra had to settle for runner-up and a $76,268 consolation prize, while Head found redemption while simultaneously capturing his second gold ring.
Here's a look at all those who won rings at the WSOP Circuit Horseshoe Southern Indiana:
|Event||# of Entries||Winner||Prize|
|1 - $365 NLHE||167||Joseph Mattingly||$13,527|
|2 - $365 NLHE Reentry||731||Frank Covich||$43,860|
|3 - $365 NLHE Turbo||124||Robert Cheung||$10,416|
|4 - $365 NLHE||105||Clayton Jiang||$9,450|
|5 - $365 NLHE 6-Max||164||Cody Pack||$13,776|
|6 - $365 NLHE||142||Connor Graham||$11,928|
|7 - $365 NLHE Bounty||174||Michael Bailey||$9,396|
|8 - $365 NLHE||166||Randell Harrod||$13,446|
|9 - $365 PLO w/Re-Buys||76||Ben Beighle||$22,406|
|10 - $1,675 Main Event||374||Russ Head||$123,420|
|11 - $365 NLHE||113||Luca Johnston||$10,170|
|12 - $365 NLHE||88||Jared Palmer||$8,448|
The 2015/2016 WSOP Circuit continues October 15-26 at the Horseshoe Hammond just outside of Chicago. PokerNews will bring you a recap of that stop's Main Event upon its completion.
*Info and lead photo courtesy of WSOP.