Flight B of the Main Event Begins Today at Noon

Harrah's Cherokee

The second of two starting flights in the World Series of Poker Circuit Main Event at Harrah’s Casino in Cherokee, North Carolina is set to start at noon ET. For the standard Main Event buy-in of $1,675, players purchase a 20,000-chip starting stack, and levels will last 40 minutes on Day 1, 60 minutes on Day 2, and 75 minutes on Day 3. This event boasts a huge $750,000 guaranteed prize pool, one that just might eclipse the seven-figure plateau when all the entries are tallied up, and along with the big bucks, the eventual winner of this Main Event will also secure a seat in the 2015 National Championship.

Last year’s edition of the Cherokee Main Event drew 797 total entries, and when it was all said and done longtime pro Jake Bazeley took top honors, along with $239,096 in first-place prize money. Despite many years of steady success as a tournament pro – with nearly $2 million in winnings at the time – the 31-year old Bazeley notched just his third career victory. Bazeley nearly won his first Circuit ring in 2011 at the Southern Indiana stop though, finishing as the runner-up in that Main Event, so his breakthrough at Cherokee was the culmination of several years’ worth of hard work and dedication to the game.

Friday’s first starting flight drew 283 entries, and of that number just 54 players survived the gauntlet to guarantee themselves a seat on Day 2′s “Moving Day.” The chip leader from Day 1A was Aaron Plaisted, as the circuit grinder amassed a massive stack of 429,000 by the end of 15 levels. Plaisted went on a heater late in the evening, busting pros Julie Cornelius and John Holley while running over the table. The poker crowd here in North Carolina was also treated to a unique experience, as they competed against Richard Seymour of New England Patriots fame throughout the day – although, considering the hometown Panthers lost an agonizing Super Bowl XXXVIII to Seymour’s Patriots, the locals just might be glad that he busted on one of the last hands of Day 1A. Pros like the aforementioned Holley and Cornelius, along with 2004 WSOP Main Event Champion Greg Raymer, BCP pro Ralph Massey, and Circuit star Nancy Nguyen all went bust during the first starting flight, so expect to see them fire a second bullet here today.

Here’s a breakdown of this year’s Cherokee Main Event:

  • Flight B begins on Saturday at 12 p.m. EST
  • $1,675 buy-in gets players a 20,000-chip starting stack
  • The prize pool has a $750,000 guarantee
  • Players are permitted a total of one re-entry in any combination of start flights — A-A, A-B or B-B
  • Blinds begin at 25/50
  • Day 1 concludes after Level 15
  • The dinner break on Days 1A and 1B begin at the conclusion of Level 9
  • Registration remains open until the start of Level 13 on Days 1A and 1B
  • Levels 1-15 are 40 minutes, Levels 16-25 are 60 minutes, Levels 26+ are 75 minutes
  • Advancing players combine for Day 2 on Sunday at 12 p.m. EST
  • Winner receives automatic entry into the 2015 WSOP National Championship

You can find live updates throughout the tournament on WSOP.com, from the first deal of flight 1B today until a champion is crowned on Monday.

Today’s other gold ring event is Event #11 – $365 No-Limit Hold’em. This event begins at 5 p.m. Registration will remain open until the beginning of Level 7, which is about 8:30 p.m. This is the 11th of the 12 gold ring events of the series.

Flight A Complete – Cherokee Main


Day 1A of the World Series of Poker Main Event at Harrah’s Cherokee is in the books here in Cherokee, North Carolina. The first starting flight of this $750,000 guaranteed finale saw a total of 283 players enter the fray, but by the end of 15 levels it was Aaron Plaisted (pictured) who climbed to the top of the chip counts. A true circuit grinder, the Georgia native managed to bag an astounding 429,000 chips, putting him well out in front of his nearest competitor David Williams (280,500). This David Williams isn’t the same guy who nearly won the WSOP Main Event back in 2004, but rather an amateur from Alabama in search of his first big score. With all but one of his 11 career cashes coming on the WSOP Circuit, the chip-leading Plaisted is well positioned to make a run at his first gold ring, along with a first-prize payout that will likely top $200,000 when registration concludes tomorrow.

Although Plaisted’s monster stack is worthy of merit, it was the performance put on by NFL great Richard Seymour that almost stole the show. A three-time Super Bowl champion from his days with the New England Patriots, Seymour earned a well-deserved reputation as one of the best defensive linemen in football during his playing days, but today he put up a little offense as well. Seymour had a stack in play with just a few hands remaining in the night, but his pocket sevens ran into pocket jacks in a preflop cooler. Seymour was looking for his fourth career cash – with the previous three all coming in events boasting buy-ins over $1,100 – so expect to see him back in action tomorrow for the second starting flight.

Other notable names to survive the gauntlet on Day 1A include Josh Arieh (218,000), Leif Force (94,000), Nicholas Palma (72,000), and Paul Sokoloff (67,000). For those interested in a bit of schadenfreude, Greg Raymer, Ralph Massey, John Holley, Nancy Nguyen, Jason Sandling, and Iverson Cotton Snuffer were among the big names who fired a bullet and fell by the wayside. These pros likely came prepared to fire two bullets though, so there’s little doubt that most of the eliminated listed above will be back at it for Day 1B.

The second starting flight kicks off Saturday at noon EST, and the field will play 15 full levels before combining on Sunday’s Day 2. You can check out the full list of chip counts for the 54 survivors can be found on WSOP.com.

Steve Nussrallah Wins the $580


Steve Nussrallah survives one of the toughest final tables of the series to collect his first WSOP Circuit gold ring.

Cherokee, N.C. (April 24, 2015) –  Steve Nussrallah defeated one of the toughest final tables in recent Circuit history to collect his first WSOP gold ring and biggest career WSOP cash. The final table had more than $1 million in WSOP earnings between the nine final table players. It featured some big hitters that have had strong 2014-2015 seasons. It included gold ring winners Darryll Fish, Jonathan Abla and Austin Buchanan. These three players have all had a strong 2014-2015 campaign, each picking up their first career WSOP Circuit gold rings this season.

Nussrallah was undeterred by the tough competition. His opponents have had hot years this year, but so has he. According to Nussrallah, he has been playing poker for about four or five years. He said that he won his first tournament this year and that it has snowballed into more success.

“Keep my cool, be patient and don’t get intimidated,” said Nussrallah about his keys to success.

Nussrallah plays for fun and said that he wasn’t concerned with laddering up the pay jumps, despite being a short stack coming into the final table. He just played to win. He never panicked and he stayed calm throughout.

The 64-year-old is from Atlanta, Georgia. He shares a private equity firm with a partner and invests in small companies to help them grow. This marks his 15th career WSOP related cash and third of the series. His three cashes with a victory will put him right near the top of the Casino Championship standings with three events remaining. He will still need at least another cash to pass current leader, Troy Thornton, for the lead.

Event #9 was the ninth of 12 gold ring events on the WSOP Circuit schedule at Harrah’s Cherokee in Cherokee, N.C. The $580 No-Limit Hold’em tournament attracted 334 players, generating a $167,000 prize pool. The top 36 players were paid.

Final table results:

1st:  Steve Nussrallah – $38,412
2nd: James Hammond – $23,746
3rd:  Darryll Fish – $17,323
4th:  Christopher Kirkland – $12,849
5th:  Jonathan Abla – $9,679
6th:  Aaron Plaisted – $7,403
7th:  Nikolai Sears – $5,745
8th:  Erwin Avery – $4,522
9th:  Austin Buchanan – $3,611

Event #9 Final Table

The final table has been reached in Event #9 – $580 No-Limit Hold’em. The winner will take home $38,412 and a WSOP Circuit gold ring. Full payouts for this event can be found on WSOP.com.

Here is a look at the seating assignments and chip counts for the final table players:

  • Seat 1: Austin Buchanan – 237,000 (14 BBs)
  • Seat 2: Aaron Plaisted – 633,000 (39 BBs)
  • Seat 3: Steve Nussrallah – 393,000 (24 BBs)
  • Seat 4:Ted Avery – 161,000 (10 BBs)
  • Seat 5: Jim Hammond – 572,000 (35 BBs)
  • Seat 6: Christopher Shayne Kirkland II – 420,000 (26 BBs)
  • Seat 7: Jonathan Abla – 740,000 (46 BBs)
  • Seat 8: Darryll Fish – 405,000 (25 BBs)
  • Seat 9: Nikolai Sears – 442,000 (27 BBs)

- 30 minutes remain in Level 23: 8,000/16,000 with a 2,000 ante

Troy Thornton Takes Down the Monster Stack


Troy Thornton wins the first ever WSOP monster stack tournament ever held at Harrah’s Cherokee.

Cherokee, N.C. (April 24, 2015) – Harrah’s Cherokee rolled out a brand new event for this series and that was the monster stack. The monster stack event had a $365 buy-in and was exactly the same as any other $365 Circuit event, except for one key difference. Players started the tournament with twice as many chips. The deep stacks allowed some of the top players to rise to the top.

The monster stack turned out to be a hit, drawing 703 players to create a $210,900. It was the largest single-entry tournament of the entire series. Troy Thornton worked his way through the large field to become Cherokee’s first ever monster stack winner. He earned $43,240 and his first WSOP Circuit gold ring for his first place performance.

Thornton has found himself on a bit of a heater now. He finished in 8th place in the six max event on Tuesday and then followed it up with a victory in the monster stack yesterday. His two deep runs have put him in the lead for the Casino Championship race with four events remaining. If he can hold on to the lead, he will win a seat to the National Championship, which is being held at this property in late July. Thornton said that he plans to play in the Main Event, in hopes of picking up a few more points, which he will most likely need to secure his lead with so many competitors one final table away from passing him.

Event #8 was the eighth of 12 gold ring events on the WSOP Circuit schedule at Harrah’s Cherokee in Cherokee, N.C. The $365 No-Limit Hold’em Monster Stack tournament attracted 703 players, generating a $210,900 prize pool. The top 72 players were paid.

Final table results:

1st: Troy Thornton – $43,240
2nd: Jason Maeroff – $26,753
3rd:  Nicholas Palma – $19,622
4th:  Wendi Kim – $14,592
5th:  Thom Knepp – $10,998
6th:  Travis Ford – $8,400
7th:  Alan Sacks – $6,500
8th:  Eli Loewenthal – $5,095
9th:  James Wilson – $4,045

Harrah’s Cherokee Main Event


It is time for the Main Event here at Harrah’s Cherokee in Cherokee, North Carolina for the second time this season. The first time the Circuit visited Cherokee this season, Jake Bazeley defeated a field of 797 to earn $239,096 and his first WSOP Circuit gold ring. Besides that, Bazeley earned himself a seat in the 2015 National Championship. Just like last time, the winner of the Main Event, will earn a berth to the 2015 National Championship. Flight A begins today at noon and Flight B begins tomorrow at noon.

Here is closer look at the Main Event:

  • $750,000 guaranteed prize pool
  • Players begins with 20,000 chips
  • Blinds start at 25/50
  • Registration will remain open until the start of Level 13 (~9:45 p.m.)
  • Levels 1-15 are 40 minutes long. Levels 16-25 are 60 minutes long and all levels after that are 75 minutes long.
  • There will be a one hour dinner break after Level 9 (~6:30 p.m.)
  • Day 1 will play through Level 15. Day two will play Levels 16-25
  • Day 2 will resume Sunday at noon. Both Day 1 flights will combine for Day 2.
  • Players may re-enter once for a total of two entries in either flight.
  • The winner will receive an automatic entry to this years National Championship

The other event running today is Event #9 – $580 No-Limit Hold’em. This tournament began yesterday with 334 players an now just 13 remain. Play will resume today at 2 p.m. Full chip counts for this event can be found on WSOP.com.

There will be three $250 Main Event Mega Satellite’s today: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Troy Thornton Wins the Monster Stack

Troy Thornton earned his first WSOP Circuit gold ring in the early morning hours of Friday at Harrah’s Cherokee in Cherokee, North Carolina. The 44-year-old bested a field of 703 players to earn $43,240 and 50 Casino Championship points.

A full report on Thornton’s victory will be made available tomorrow.  Here is a look at the final table results:

1st: Troy Thornton – $43,240
2nd: Jason Maeroff – $26,753
3rd:  Nicholas Palma – $19,622
4th:  Wendi Kim – $14,592
5th:  Thom Knepp – $10,998
6th:  Travis Ford – $8,400
7th:  Alan Sacks – $6,500
8th:  Eli Loewenthal – $5,095
9th:  James Wilson – $4,045

Main Event Tomorrow

Darryll Fish is looking for his second ring of the season in Event #9. He returns for Day 2 fifth in chips out of 13.

Darryll Fish is looking to win his second ring of the season. He will return for Day 2 fifth in chips out of the 13 remaining players in Event #9.

Day 8 is close to being finished. There are two players left in the monster stack. Jason Maeroff and Troy Thornton are battling heads-up for the gold ring and the first place prize of $43,240. The runner-up finisher will take home $26,753. They will play one more level to try to finish the tournament, but if they don’t, they will bag and finish tomorrow. A Day 3 restart time will be determined when they bag.

The first of two starting flights of the $1,675 Main Event – $750,000k guarantee begins tomorrow at noon. Fields have been big at Cherokee so far, which is a good sign for another successful Main Event. The re-entry and seniors event both were record events for this property and the monster stack drew over 700 entries on Wednesday.

Event #9 – $580 bagged with 13 players remaining.

Here is a look at the chip counts and seating assignments heading into Day 2:

RankFirst NameLast NameChip CountTS
1ChristopherKirkland II611,000142

Day 2 begins tomorrow at 2 p.m. at the beginning of Level 22: 6,000,12,000 with a 2,000 ante

Slow Pace to the Monster Stack

The final table has now been going on for five and a half hours and only four players have been eliminated. The pace is slow, but will likely pick up as the stacks become more and more shallow. Three of the five remaining players have less than 20 big blinds.

Here is a look at the current chip counts:

  • Seat 1: Nicholas Palma – 3,850,000 (32 BBs)
  • Seat 2: Jason Maeroff – 5,800,000 (48 BBs)
  • Seat 3: Thom Knepp – 1,075,000 (8 BBs)
  • Seat 4: Wendi Kim – 2,300,000 (19 BBs)
  • Seat 5: Troy Thornton – 1,600,000 (13 BBs)

- Players are on break and will be returning to Level 32: 60,000/120,000 with a 20,000 ante

Up-to-date results from this event can be found on WSOP.com.

Dinner Break Chip Counts

Jason Maeroff

Jason Maeroff has about a third of the chips in play with eight players remaining.

Players have now just left for their one hour dinner break. Here is a look at the current chip counts:

  • Seat 1: Alan Sacks – 1,750,000 (35 BBs)
  • Seat 2: Nicholas Palma – 500,000 (10 BBs)
  • Seat 3: Jason Maeroff – 4,275,000 (85 BBs)
  • Seat 4: Thom Knepp – 1,450,000 (29 BBs)
  • Seat 5: Wendi Kim – 425,000 (8 BBs)
  • Seat 6: Eli Loewenthal – 1,300,000 (26 BBs)
  • Seat 7: Troy Thornton – 1,025,000 (20 BBs)
  • Seat 8: Travis Ford – 1,300,000 (26 BBs)

- Players will return from dinner break to Level 28: 25,000/50,000 with a 5,000 ante. All levels are an hour long.