Mukul Pahuja banked $193,095 for taking down a field of 613 in the World Series of Poker Circuit Main Event at Palm Beach Kennel Club in Florida. It's the third ring overall and second WSOP Circuit Main Event win for Pahuja, a decorated pro who has more than $4.3 million in cashes and won World Poker Tour Season 12 Player of the Year honors.
Pahuja had to contend with a tough final table that included well-regarded pros such as Adam Levy, Tristan Wade, and Daniel Weinman.
Final Table Results
|1||Mukul Pahuja||Coconut Creek, FL||$193,095|
|2||Adam Levy||Coral Springs, FL||$119,434|
|3||Eric Bunch||Skiatook, OK||$87,334|
|4||Dalton Mills||Jacksonville, FL||$64,806|
|5||Joshua Lowing||Pensacola, FL||$48,761|
|6||Staffan Lind||Vero Beach, FL||$37,194|
|7||Tristan Wade||Boynton Beach, FL||$28,762|
|8||Daniel Weinman||Atlanta, GA||$22,546|
|9||Juan Mendoza||Wilmington, NC||$17,912|
A number of notables found themselves deep in the tournament and among the 63 paid finishers. They included Jonathan Hilton (62nd), Maurice Hawkins (58th), Russ Head (48th), and Tony Ruberto (10th).
When the final table began, the two shortest stacks belonged to Juan Mendoza and Weinman, according to the live updates. As the only players under 30 big blinds, the pressure was on them to make a move. Weinman, who recently won a WSOP Circuit Main Event in Cherokee, NC, managed to double up once but it wasn't enough to prolong his survival as he followed Mendoza out the door in a pair of early eliminations.
Pahuja then found himself on the ropes and staring at a seventh-place finish as his was in dire need of help against the of Dalton Mills. Luckily for Pahuja, a jack appeared on the flop and ensured his survival. He was then able to bounce one of his most dangerous rivals, Wade, in seventh with nines against fours.
After the elimination of Staffan Lind, Pahuja hit another key double, this time through start-of-day leader Josh Lowing. With blinds at 30,000/60,000/10,000, Lowing opened to 150,000 and got one call before Pahuja shoved from the small blind for 1.66 million. Lowing called with nines and was racing against the . The flip went to Pahuja as he made trip aces on the community. Lowing was left short and soon busted.
Four-handed play saw a number of swing pots go to each player, but Pahuja eliminated Mills with top pair against second pair to send it to three-handed. There, he picked off a three-barrel bluff by Eric Bunch on a board of with the , while Bunch was forced to reveal an airball: . Bunch could not recover and busted third for $87,334, his biggest live cash to date.
That left a short-stacked Levy to contend with Pahuja. While he could muster one double, he couldn't find a second after jamming the over Pahuja's button raise. Pahuja called with the and held up unimproved on an eight-high board for the win.
Pahuja gave credit to a tough table of opponents that made his win far from easy.
"[The table] had some pros but the guys that didn't have much tournament earnings were really tricky and really tough," he told WSOP reporters. "They clearly played cash games and provided different challenges that I'm not used to seeing everyday playing tournaments."
*Image courtesy of the WSOP.