Chris Russell makes his first WSOP cash a memorable one by defeating a 2,937 entry field to earn $125,559 and a WSOP Circuit gold ring.
Cherokee, N.C. (April 21, 2015) — Event #4 -$365 No-Limit Hold’em Re-Enty had a $500,000 guaranteed prize pool. Well forget about that, because a sea of players flooded into Cherokee, North Carolina to create the largest poker tournament the Harrah’s Cherokee property has ever seen. The $500,000 guarantee was blown away. The three starting flights drew an incredible 2,937 entries to create an $881,100 prize pool. The first place finisher was set to win $125,559 of that $881k.
This tournament brought buzz to the tournament room. It was an opportunity for players to turn their $365 buy-in into life changing money. The stakes in Cherokee were higher than ever. Chris Russell saw this tournament on the schedule and although doesn’t play much poker anymore, would give it one shot. No re-entries, just one bullet and a dream. He hopped in his car and drove from Chattanooga, Tennessee to play in Friday’s 5 p.m. flight. He managed to make it through Day 1 on his only bullet and was able to bag exactly 100,000 chips, ten times what he started with on the day and just slightly above the average. After bagging chips, Russell headed out to his car and slept their for the night.
Saturday was an off day and then he was back Sunday for Day 2 of the tournament. Russell worked his way to top of the chip counts and finished the day third in chips out of the 19 survivors. Things continued to go well for Russell and by the time final table was reached on Day 3, he had the chip lead. At the final table, things were up and down for Russell. He lost the chip lead a few times, but took back control of the tournament after knocking out Bruce Webb in fourth place, which gave Russell over half of the chips in play with three players remaining. Two hours later Russell had all of the chips and the gold ring around his finger.
It took Russell three long days of grinding, a night of sleeping in his own car, and a grueling six hour final table to capture his first WSOP Circuit gold ring and the $125,559 first place prize.
“It”s not real, it’s not real. The whole three days are a blur right now,” said Russell about his victory. “It feels like the first day was a year ago.”
Russell won the final hand to knock out runner-up finisher, Jason Brauda, with a rivered flush. He let out a lout clap and told himself that that he couldn’t believe what just had happened. He shook his opponent’s hand and went to call his wife to share the good news.
This is life changing money for Russell and he described it as hitting the reset button. In joking fashion, Russell said that he was originally just trying to win enough money to upgrade his four-year-old phone with a broken case.
Russell defeated a tough final table that included Tim Bowman (8th place) and Adam West (7th place). Bowman won the Main Event in Cherokee two years ago when the WSOP was here for the first time. He followed that victory up with a fifth place finish in the National Championship just two months later. West final tabled this same event one year ago. He finished in fourth place for just under $30k.
Event #4 was the fourth of 12 gold ring events on the WSOP Circuit schedule at Harrah’s Cherokee in Cherokee, N.C. The $365 No-Limit Hold’em Re-Entry tournament attracted 2,937 players, generating a $881,100 prize pool. The top 297 players were paid.
Final table results:
1st: Chris Russell – $125,559
2nd: Jason Brauda – $77,598
3rd: Chad Cooke – $59,509
4th: Bruce Webb – $46,099
5th: Mark Jackson – $36,196
6th: Dustin Denzik – $28,380
7th: Adam West – $22,406
8th: Tim Bowman – $17,807
9th: Jason Sanders – $14,327