“Awesome…a definite thrill” is how Wayne Lovell described winning his first WSOP Circuit ring and $16,380 in the final event of the season at Harrah’s New Orleans. He’s been playing tournaments seriously for about two and a half years. This was his second cash of this series — he finished 7th Event 1.
At one point at the final table, Lovell had over 1 million chips, but doubled up another player five times. He held on to get heads-up but was way behind in chips. The heads-up match between Brandon Jackson and Wayne Lovell only lasted about 20 minutes. Jackson had the lead with about 1.7 million to Lovell’s 325k, but Lovell doubled up twice to take the lead. On the final hand, all the chips went on the flop. Lovell had top pair and was ahead of Jackson, who had straight and flush draws. He whiffed all his outs and Lovell had the win. Brandon Jackson leaves with $10,118 for second place.
There were 210 entrants in the final ring event of the series and the season. The total prize pool came to $63,000 and was shared among the final 21 players. There were no WSOP hardware owners at this final table. The event began at 3pm Sunday and at the end of 18 levels of play, only 14 players remained. They returned for Day 2
at 1pm on Sunday.
Notables cashing in this event were WSOP bracelet holder Robert ‘RCW’ Cheung, who finished 21st for $698, and November Niner and ring winner Dennis Phillips, who finished 15th for $984.
Sean Small entered the event with 125 points and in 59th place on the National Leaderboard. He needed at least an 11th place finish to gain a berth in the National Championships. He did even better than that, finishing 6th for 22.5 points bringing his total to 147.5 and locking up a seat in the $1 Million freeroll starting later this week.
“I took it one step at a time,” said the US Army Sergeant First Class of his journey to the win. Lovell has 24 years in the service and plans to retire later this year. He only made it to three stops on the Circuit this season, but after retiring, he hopes to spend more time traveling and playing poker.