The World Series of Poker Circuit Horseshoe Tunica Main Event kicked off four days ago on Friday, January 26 with two starting flights drawing 568 entries for a $860,520 prize pool. By Day 3, six players long on experience returned for the final table, and Matt “Higgybear” Higgins won his fifth WSOPC ring, $167,058 and a seat in the Casino Global Championship.
“This is ring number five,” Higgins said surrounded by friends. “We had control for most of the day – we caught a very friendly punt early in the day that gave me the lead over everybody.”
Caught momentum early
That punt came from Marty Martin, who entered Monday as the chip leader and was eliminated within 45 minutes. Higgins said, “I got to lean on them (his opponents) and make them worry about ICM.”
“I applied pressure for most of the time and when we got down to three-handed, Dale (Roesel) started putting pressure on me,” said Higgins. “I forgot how good he was.”
“When BJ (McBrayer) was short, we were so deep and then I had a hand that I couldn’t lay down,” he added. “It was a friendly table; everybody battled. We weren’t going to rub anyone’s nose in any bluffs.”
Final table action
Martin bluff-shoved ace jack on a ten-high flop when Higgins held ace ten and made the easy call. Richard Hines was next to go when he admittedly got caught trying to steal some blinds with K-4. Ronnie Taylor called with K-Q to bring the table four-handed.
Higgins held about half the chips in play with four left and used them liberally. Taylor was all smiles moving in with A-Ks, when he found himself up against McBrayer’s pocket queens and paired his king. But McBrayer turned a four-flush to earn the knockout.
McBrayer’s stack dwindled during three-handed play, before he found a hand he thought “played well to go with”. But Higgins K-T had McBrayer’s Q-T dominated. Tuscaloosa’s favorite son didn’t get any help from the board, and Roesel and Higgins were close to even for heads-up play.
Higgins won in a span of four hands where he over-shoved all of Roesel’s attempted plays. Roesel found 8-4s and that looked good enough for his short stack to make a final stand with. Higgins called with Q- 3 and paired his queen on the flop to end the tournament.
Odds and ends
Charlie Dawson, Daniel Lowery, Spencer Champlin and Chun Law all made deep runs to the final two tables. Cody Stanford, Maurice Hawkins, Preston McEwen all cashed in Day 3 of the event.
WSOP all-time cash leader Roland Israelashvili put another tick on the board to earn his 472nd career cash. His closest competitors are Arkadiy Tsinis (379), Ari Engel (313) and Daniel Negreanu (252).
The WSOP Circuit picks up its tent poles and heads down to Harrah’s Pompano Beach for 17 ring events beginning Thursday, February 1. Poker.Org will be on-site to provide all the coverage.
Final Table Payouts
- Matt Higgins – $167,058
- Dale Roesel – $103,248
- BJ McBrayer – $74,743
- Ronnie Taylor – $54,898
- Richard Hines – $40,919
- Marty Martin – $30,958
All photos courtesy of 8131 Media – Rachel Winters