Buy-In: $300 (+$65)
Total Entries: 93
Prize Pool: $27,900
September 13-14, 2014
Coker, Ala. amateur wins two rings during 12-day series, bests Mark Fink atop Casino Championship leaderboard.
Biloxi, Miss. (September 14, 2014) — Anthony Gray’s Event 11 victory came at the hands of runner up Kip Jones, but it was Mark Fink who took the biggest blow when the Coker, Ala. amateur earned his second ring of the IP Circuit. Fink laid claim to the Casino Championship lead through the majority of the 12-day series and needed to fade a Gray win in Event 11 to capture his second berth in the season-ending event.
Gray had other plans, though. He parlayed a Day 2 berth into a spot at the final table and ran hot from there winning every all in and sending player after player to the rail. Gray knew where he stood from the start. A runner up finish would match Fink’s 87.5 points but if that were the case, Fink would win the title via the money-earned tie breaker. Thus, it was a win and a win only that would do the job for Gray.
“It’s incredible,” Gray said after his win. “I just wanted to get in the money, really. Then finally I said you know, it would be really nice to make two final tables. Then when I made the final table I was still short stacked. I played some of the best poker I’ve probably ever played. Of course, you have to win a couple races to get this far. I’m just excited. I can’t believe it.”
In addition to bringing his series earnings to more than $20,000, the victory awarded Gray 50 points toward his title topping him out at an even 100, 12.5 ahead of Fink.
The Event 11 final table was a fun ride for the shortstacked Gray. He caught pocket aces at the right time against Quan Nguyen (sixth) and ran hot against ring winners Robert Lauria (eighth), Will Souther (third) and Jones.
“What turned everything around is… [Nguyen] was to my right,” Gray said of his hot streak. “He had been making big bets every time. He goes all in on my big blind and I woke up with pocket aces and put him out of the tournament. That was a turnaround right there.”
Gray’s son, Brad, was among the Event 11 field but busted two hours into Day 1 when his aces were cracked. Brad stayed behind to sweat his father while Gray’s wife, Norma, and daughter, Kristy, followed the action from home.
“I’m so glad he could be here,” an emotional Gray said of his son.
Gray is a 49-year-old retiree. Following his Event 11 victory, he is two-for-two in WSOP-related cashes. That is, his only two career in-the-money finishes go down as gold ring victories. He earned $20,761 during the 12-day IP Biloxi series.
As Casino Champion Gray earns an automatic berth in the season-ending National Championship set to take place in the spring of 2015. There, he’ll compete alongside the IP Biloxi Main Event champion for his share of an up-to $2 million prize pool and a gold bracelet. As in past years, the action will be filmed for ESPN and aired at a yet-to-be-determined date. More information on the one-of-a-kind event is available on WSOP.com.
Event 11 was the 11th of 12 gold ring events on the WSOP Circuit schedule at IP Biloxi. The $365 no-limit hold’em event attracted 93 players. The total prize pool came to $27,900 and the top 12 players were paid.
Event 11 final results:
1st: Anthony Gray – $8,370
2nd: Kip Jones – $5,173
3rd: Will “Monkey” Souther- $3,683
4th: John Henderson – $2,676
5th: Matthew Silva – $1,982
6th: Quan Nguyen – $1,496
7th: Randall Reese – $1,151
8th: Robert Lauria – $901
9th: Sean Hansen – $719
10th: John Scarpulla – $583
11th: David Walter – $583
12th: Clay Henry – $583