James Kilarjian Wins the Last Ring in Cherokee

James Kilarjian wins the twelfth and final event at the Harrah’s Cherokee Circuit stop for $20,156.

Cherokee, N.C. (April 30,2015) — The final event at Harrah’s Cherokee was Event #12 – $365 No-Limit Hold’em Turbo. It was a one-day tournament and drew a solid 280 entries for a final event of the series. James Kilarjian won the tournament to collect his first ever WSOP Circuit gold ring and the first place prize of $20,156.

This marks the 41-year-old’s 6th career WSOP related cash. In 2010, Kilarjian made it all the way to the final three tables in a WSOP $1k event that had 3,128 entries. He was eliminated in 25th place and took home a five-figure score. Until this victory, it was his largest WSOP cash.

Event #12 concluded a successful series at Harrah’s Cherokee. The series broke two records. On the first weekend of the series, the re-entry event drew a field of 2,937 players. It became the largest tournament ever hosted by Harrah’s Cherokee. The previous record was set earlier this November, when the re-entry event at the first Cherokee series of the year drew 1,930 entries.

The other record shattered at this series was the largest ever WSOP Circuit senior’s event. The senior’s event drew 1,237 entries. This broke the previous Circuit record set last November, also at Harrah’s Cherokee, of 829 entries.

Event #12 was the twelfth of 12 gold ring events on the WSOP Circuit schedule at Harrah’s Cherokee in Cherokee, N.C. The $365 No-Limit Hold’em Turbo tournament attracted 280 players, generating a $84,000 prize pool. The top 30 players were paid.

Final table results:

1st: James Kilarjian – $20,156
2nd: Marcus Milam – $12,459
3rd:  Claude White – $9,040
4th:  Daniel Blakeman – $6,670
5th:  Maynard Little – $5,002
6th:  Billy Swaringen – $3,812
7th:  Daniel Gilmer – $2,950
8th:  Joshua Floyd – $2,318
9th:  Robert Payette – $1,850

Ryan Jones Wins the Main Event – Cherokee


Cherokee, N.C. (April 27, 2015) — A hometown hero was crowned on Monday evening at the World Series of Poker Circuit Harrah’s Cherokee Main Event, as North Carolina native Ryan Jones took down the title. The 24-year old Jones earned $235,804 for the win – nearly doubling his lifetime earnings – while also claiming his first WSOP Circuit ring. In addition, Jones secured himself a seat in the season-ending National Championship event in late July, where he’ll compete against top-tier poker talent for part of up to $2 million guaranteed prize pool. Even better, Jones gets to return to the scene of his most important poker accomplishment, as the National Championship will be held right here at Harrah’s Cherokee.

Playing a few hours from his hometown of Burlington, Jones emerged from a 786-runner field that featured most of the local poker scene’s big names, along with several prominent pros. Jones entered Day 3 action sitting second in chips behind David Williams – who he eventually defeated after a heads-up duel that lasted less than an hour. He put on a clinic throughout the final table, steadily accumulating chips by three-betting preflop much more often than any of his opponents. Jones also enjoyed the support of several friends on the rail throughout the final table, each of them sporting custom On A Draw clothing to support one of Jones’ business interests.

“Winning at home was pretty special for sure,” Jones said about the win. “It feels pretty good. I’ve had a couple deep runs and couldn’t close the deal, so it felt good to finally get it done. I’d like to thank my mom and my grandma for taking care of me all my life, and now I get to pay it back.”

One of those deep runs occurred in January, as Jones finished 4th in the Borgata Winter Poker Open $560 buy-in series opener. That event featured a $1 million guaranteed prize pool, and Jones added $119,582 to his bankroll. With a big win now added to his résumé, Jones moved to just under $500,000 in reported live earnings.

“I started playing for quarters when I was young,” Jones said when asked about his progression in poker. “Had a big score in January, now this, so it’s been a good year so far. I can’t complain. I’m excited for a chance to play with the best (in the National Championship).”

Day 3 was action-packed from the start, and Jones did his part by sending Erik Gorman to the rail in 11th place – doing so in style with pocket aces against the latter’s fours in the hole. Armed with a big stack to work with, Jones then took Martin Roberts out in 7th place, flopping a set of sixes to win a coin flip after the two got their money in before the flop. From there, Jones picked his spots wisely and let Williams do the heavy lifting in terms of eliminations, before a cooler during heads-up play settled things in dramatic fashion. Both players flopped a pair on the , with Williams holding and Jones . When the peeled off on the turn, a raising war erupted and Jones was the last player left standing.

In addition to Jones’ win on home turf, there were two other stories of note taking place during final table action. Tony Sewell locked up the title of Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Champion – earning a berth in the National Championship – before he headed out in 6th place. Diana Dinser made a run at becoming just the second woman ever to win a WSOP Circuit Main Event title, just one week after Michelle Chin did so at the Council Bluffs stop, but she ultimately fell short with a 5th place finish.

The Harrah’s Cherokee Main Event boasted a $750,000 guarantee that was easily surpassed, as 203 entries were recorded on Day 1A, and 583 more during the second starting flight. The 768-player field generated a total prize pool of $1,179,000. Several notable names made the money, including 3-time bracelet winner David Bach (65th), ring winner Steve Karp (52nd), Nicholas Palma (41st), bracelet winner Michael Gracz (24th), local basketball icon Tommy Burleson (23rd), and Ralph Massey (17th).

Final table results:

1st: Ryan Jones – $235,804

2nd: David Williams – $145,371

3rd: Clifford Billups – $107,171

4th: Adam West – $79,877

5th: Diana Dinser – $60,329

6th: Tony Sewell – $46,158

7th: Martin Roberts – $35,759

8th: Peter Vitantonio – $28,048

9th: Garry Simms – $22,271

Full results are available at WSOP.com.

Paul Lutz Caps His Series with a Ring

Paul Lutz finishes the Harrah’s Cherokee Circuit with a bang. He wins Event #11 for $24,774.

Cherokee, N.C. (April 27, 2015) — Paul Lutz has won Event #11 – $365 No-Limit Hold’em to earn his first WSOP Circuit gold ring and collect his largest WSOP score of his career. Lutz finished the WSOP Circuit series with two deep runs, including this ring winning performance.

Lutz played several events during the series, but started out really slow. He grinded hard and stayed patient and success finally came.

“Up until the $580, I was having a really rough go. Busted out before second break in just about every tournament,” said Lutz.

In the re-entry he made it a little deeper, but still missed out on Day 2. Things started to turn around for Lutz in Event #9 – $580 No-Hold’em. He finally made it to a Day 2 and earned himself his first cash of the series. Unfortunately for Lutz, he busted just short of the final table. However, that deep run sparked some confidence and a little run good for the 39-year-old.

Lutz rode his momentum from Event #9 into Event #11 and all the way to the gold ring. He left Cherokee on a high note and found some redemption from his struggles early on.

“I had two big suck outs. In my nine days here, my two suck outs were today,” said Lutz. “It was my turn. I was due. I had the luck, when I needed the luck.”

Lutz was happy with his play in the Main Event. He made the right calls, the right folds, but still found himself on the rail. His bustout in the Main lead him to this tournament where luck would be much more on his side.

“It takes luck, but it takes skill [too],” said Lutz.

This marks Lutz’s sixth ever WSOP cash and first final table. Lutz said that he plans to use the prize money to help buy a new house.

“I told the wife, I win this one, we’re moving,” said Lutz.

Event #11 was the eleventh of 12 gold ring events on the WSOP Circuit schedule at Harrah’s Cherokee in Cherokee, N.C. The $365 No-Limit Hold’em tournament attracted 359 players, generating a $107,700 prize pool. The top 36 players were paid.

Final table results:

1st: Paul Lutz – $24,774
2nd: Jason Emanuel – $15,314
3rd:  Ryan Omillian – $11,172
4th:  Scott Hendricks – $8,286
5th:  Kirk Shelmerdine – $6,242
6th:  Robert Cheung – $4,774
7th:  Paul Arthurs – $3,705
8th:  Samuel Dunn – $2,917
9th:  Darrin Graves – $2,328

Day 3 of the Main Event


After two starting flights and a combined second day of play, the final 14 players return at noon EST to compete for the World Series of Poker Circuit Main Event title here at Harrah’s Cherokee in Cherokee, North Carolina.

David Williams (pictured) tops the counts with 2,165,000, with Ryan Jones (1,835,000) hot on his heels. Here are the full chip counts for the 14 players returning for Day 3 action:

David Williams – 2,165,000 (72 BBs)
Ryan Jones – 1,835,000 (61 BBs)
Garry Simms – 1,525,000 (51 BBs)
Clifford Billups – 1,430,000 (48 BBs)
Adam West – 1,400,000 (47 BBs)
Brian Wolter – 1,170,000 (39 BBs)
Diana Dinser – 1,090,000 (36 BBs)
Peter Vitantonio – 955,000 (32 BBs)
Michael “Tony” Sewell – 945,000 (31.5 BBs)
Nikolai Sears – 745,000 (25 BBs)
Dean Schultz – 705,000 (23.5 BBs)
Erik Gorman – 675,000 (22.5 BBs)
Martin Roberts – 625,000 (21 BBs)
Jody Garaventa – 435,000 (14.5 BBs)

Michael “Tony” Sewell is looking for his gold ring of the series, after winning Event # 1 ($365 No-Limit Hold’em). Diana Dinser could become the second woman ever to win a WSOP Circuit Main Event title, following up Michelle Chin’s feat from Council Bluffs last week. Everyone is guaranteed to take home at least $14,561, but with $235,804 waiting up top for the eventual champion – not to mention a berth in the season-ending National Championship – winning is everything.

Live updates throughout the tournament’s completion will be available right here on WSOP.com.

$10,000 Main Event Satellite

The 2014 WSOP Main Event Bracelet was won by Martin Jacobson
The 2014 WSOP Main Event Bracelet was won by Martin Jacobson

Harrah’s Cherokee is offering players a chance to compete for a $10,000 World Series of Poker Main Event seat.They are hosting a $135 re-buy tournament at 12 p.m. on Monday, April 27, the final day of the series. There is a guarantee of at least one $10,000 seat being awarded.

One $10,000 seat will be awarded for every $10,000 in the prize pool. Any remaining money will be distributed to next five places as follows:

  • 1st: 37.5%
  • 2nd: 23.18%
  • 3rd: 16.14%
  • 4th: 12.51%
  • 5th: 10.67%

The buy-in of $135 and gets the player 2,500 chips. Any time the player has 2,500 chips or less they may re-buy for $100 to receive an additional 2,500 chips. Players are allowed unlimited re-buys. Registration and the re-buy period will close at the beginning of Level 7. At the Level 6 break players may opt to purchase an add-on. A single add-on is $100 and gets the player 5,000 more chips. A double add-on is $200 and gets the players an additional 10,000 chips. From there, the tournament will play out as normal until the winner(s) has been reached.

The structure sheet for this tournament along with other structure sheets from this series can be found on WSOP.com and in the tournament area.

The WSOP Las Vegas Main Event begins Sunday, July 5 in Las Vegas, Nevada. It is one of the most prestigious events in all of poker. This year the Main Event has two guarantees on it. First, the top 1,000 finishers will be guaranteed a payday of at least $15,000 if there are at least 5,000 players in the tournament. Second, the final table players are all guaranteed to earn at least $1 million if there are at least as many entries as last year (6,683).

More information on the Main Event can be found on WSOP.com.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to earn a seat to poker’s biggest event.