Brad Ruben adds a ring to his WSOP jewelry box

Paul Beitelspacher
Posted on: November 07, 2023 18:17 PST

Ringless no more.

Prior to making the trip to Choctaw Casino & Resort in Durant, Oklahoma, Brad Ruben already had a long list of World Series of Poker accolades attached to his name. Having won four WSOP bracelets and compiling over $1 million in career WSOP earnings, Ruben seemed to have achieved every WSOP milestone a poker player can, except for one.

Experiencing close calls in multiple WSOP Circuit Main Events, Ruben finally went the distance to win his first career WSOP Circuit ring in the Choctaw Main Event. $250,140 richer and soon having his own banner added to the rafters of Choctaw's Grand Theater, Ruben relished in what was his highest tournament score to date.

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"WSOP Circuit rings are amazing accomplishments, especially in Main Events," Ruben said in a post-victory interview. "Choctaw has so much history; they are one of the few stops that has banners and it will be awesome to have my name up there. This is my biggest win and surpasses the money I won with all four of my bracelets. It is very meaningful to me and I am very blessed. I will remember this day forever."

WSOP Circuit Choctaw Main Event results

Place Player Prize
1 Brad Ruben $250,140
2 David Diaz $154,597
3 Kaleb Harwell $113,339
4 Harvey Castro $84,099
5 Will Nguyen $63,168
6 David Brashier $48,037
7 Danny Marx $36,990
8 Phylis Blanton $28,846
9 Brian Cathey $22,786
10 Jim Carroll $18,234

A battle among WSOP champions; payback was due

Despite coming into Day 3 of the WSOPC Choctaw Main Event as the overall chip leader, Ruben had to navigate through a tough field to finish in first place. Reaching the final table with the likes of WSOPC Choctaw Main Event champions Danny Marx and Harvey Castro as well as fellow WSOP bracelet winner David "Lefty" Diaz, Ruben shared his experience facing so many fellow crushers.

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"I had to play very patiently and pick my spots as I wasn't going to be able to run over any of these players," Ruben said. "Luckily the cards were in my favor today, that's what it takes to beat so many good players."

In 2022, Ruben reached the final table of a previous WSOP-C Choctaw Main Event, even coming into the final stage of the tournament with the chip lead. Despite having the skill and stack to go the distance, he would ultimately finish in 4th place, with Danny Marx winning the title. Facing off with Marx in yet another WSOP-C Main Event final table, the two pros took part in a memorable hand that allowed Ruben to "get even".

On a double-paired board that included two aces and two eights, Ruben forced Marx to play for his whole stack on the river. Flipping over ace-jack offsuit, Marx assumed the two players would be chopping, only to see Ruben turn over pocket eights for rivered quads. Eliminating Marx in 7th place, Ruben jokingly told the former champ that it was simply payback for last year's final table.

Following the massive hand, Ruben had the chips and momentum needed to finish the tournament as the winner.

The motivations of a professional poker player

Reflecting on his decision to travel to Choctaw and enter the Circuit Main Event, Ruben was honest when sharing that the financial aspect was a big factor. While it makes sense that a professional poker player travels to major poker tournaments to make money, Ruben made a point to mention his admiration for Choctaw Casino and the series.

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"This is a great stop," Ruben said. "I love the premises and the casino here. This is one of the better Main Events on the WSOP Circuit; if I'm not busy I always try to make it."

Along with large prizepools and quality accommodations, Ruben's yearning to compete and pursue victory helps him stay on the poker tournament grind.

"I'm a very competitive person," Ruben said. "I like to battle and get in there. It was very motivating to play for a banner as well, I'm very happy to join such an exclusive club."

Congratulations to Brad Ruben for winning his first career WSOP Circuit ring and the $250,140 top prize. We look forward to seeing him compete in the 2024 WSOP Tournament of Champions.