WSOP Circuit Returns to Tulsa Hard Rock

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The WSOP Circuit made its return in July this year, successfully kicking off the 18th season of the popular regional poker tour. This year’s 18th season was scheduled to take place in Oklahoma at the Choctaw Casino Resort located in Durant. Durant will be the first of numerous stops on the long tour, which consisted of more than 25 scheduled stops.

This year’s World Series of Poker Global Casino Championship was paved via Hard Rock Hotel. The first stop was made in Tulsa between August 17th and 29th. The tournament consisted of over 40 poker tournaments that were spread over a schedule spanning 12 days. 

The 2022 stop consisted of 13 official WSOP circuit ring events in addition to 2 seniors No Limit Hold’em tournaments and a well-organized ladies’ tournament. The circuit offered various buy-ins to accommodate poker players with different budget levels with the lowest starting from $135 and the highest climbing to $1,700.

The tournament also includes various satellite qualifiers with an assortment of buy-ins ranging from $70 to $250. In addition to the various small tournaments, the top 5 finishers with the most hours played also automatically received entries into the Circuit Main Event. WSOP organizes circuit events all over the country, as well as the world starting in early August every year.

The events culminate the in the following summer with a Global Casino championship where the winner walks away with a WSOP Gold bracelet as well as the top cash prize worth  $1,000,000. Poker players have a range of options if they want to qualify for this year’s Global Casino Championship including winning a circuit main even at any local or international stop.

Those poker players that win a casino championship, which is typically the poker player at each stop that accumulates the highest point throughout the 12-tournament gold ring schedule will also be automatically qualified for the championship. After the fruitful conclusion of the 2022 World Series of Poker, the WSOP circuit is a welcome addition to the competitive poker market.

While many of the venues will remain the same as the previous years, WSOP is adding a new stop this year at Chicago’s Grand Victoria Casino. There will also be 2 additional heritage stops in Nevada at Harveys Lake Tahoe and Indiana at Caesars Southern Indiana. It should be noted that Caesars Southern Indiana will also be the tour’s last destination.

Once the events at the Choctaw Casino Resort are concluded, the circuit will then move on to Harrah’s Cherokee, which is situated in North Carolina. The tournament will then make its way to Oklahoma on 17th August before returning to Hard Rock in Tulsa. This tour is expected to run until its conclusion in May 2023.

The performances so far

2022/23 WSOP Circuit was recently concluded in North Carolina at Harrah’s Cherokee. The series saw a total of 17 gold rings being awarded and marked the first of 4 visits that will take place at the Harrah’s property during the ongoing season. 

Plenty of pro poker players were awarded gold rings including Shannon Hamblen who won Event #2, the No Limit Hold’em tournament with a buy-in of $400. Hamblen beat an entry of 2,726 to walk away with $120,742. Another participant, Michael Esquivel also claimed his first WSOP gold bracelet when he bested a field of 443 to win Event #10.

Event #10 was an NLH tournament with a buy-in of $400. Esquivel not only claimed his first-ever title, but he also went home with a cool $29,108 in cash. Eric Rivkin was another poker player to best 423 entries to become champion of the final tournament, event #17, which was an NLH Double Stack with a buy-in of $400. For his troubles, Eric Rivkin took home $28,146, as well as his third WSOP gold ring.

Although all the tournaments had a little something special to offer the participants, it was $28,146 that was the highlight. The $1,700 Main Event saw a total of 1,558 poker players sign up to create the massive prize pool worth $2,360,370. This prize pool effectively set a new record for the biggest WSOP Circuit Main Event at Harrah’s to date.

This massive prize pool was consequently split between the first 233 finishers. The list of finishers consisted of a mix of veteran and novice poker players and included names such as Micheal Lech, Shiva Dudani, Asher Conniff, Luke Blindert, and more. The least amount any of these poker players were awarded was $6,553.

The final table also attracted high-profile professional poker players from all across the country including Mid-States Poker Tour champion Chris Meyers who finished in 9th place to take home approximately $38,083. Jeff Trudeau who boasts 10 rings was also at the final table but he finished in 6th place to take home 77,351.

In the end, the final table would whittle down to 2 players, Brett Bader and Matthew Wantman, who worked hard to win the title. Consequently, Bader would end up the champion and the winner of the top prize of $364,104, as well as a seat at the Tournament of Champions, which is scheduled to take place next year. It is worth noting that this was Baden’s 3rd career ring after bagging his first ring in 2017.

On the other hand, Event #16 which was an NLH High Roller with a buy-in of $2,200 attracted a total of 205 poker players. The poker players helped to build the prize pool until it accumulated to $410,000 before being split among the first 31 finishers. Eventually, Max Young would beat the 205 entrants to claim his cash prize of $100,234, as well as his 7th career gold ring.

Final Thoughts

The WSOP has always generated a lot of excitement among poker lovers of all levels, both experienced and novice players. With the recently concluded WSOP managing to attract record attendance, the WSOP circuit is expected to attract more entrants than last year’s version. With the addition of new stops and venues on this year’s tour, poker players have lots to look forward to including qualifying for the 2023 Tournament of Champions during next year’s WSOP schedule.

Author: Erika Woods