The World Series of Poker Circuit returned to Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort in North Carolina from Nov. 24-Dec. 5 for the second of four stops this season. As per usual, the highlight of the series was the $1,700 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event, which ran from Dec.2-5. A total of 1,502 entries were made by the time registration was officially closed, creating a massive prize pool of $2,275,530. In the end, Alabama’s Donovan Dean emerged victorious with the $356,963 top prize and his second career WSOPC gold ring. Dean now has nearly $1.1 million in career tournament earnings thanks to his latest win, which was the largest yet on his resume.
“It feels pretty awesome,” Dean told WSOP reporters after coming out on top. “I’ve been on a heater as of late, making a lot of deep runs but haven’t been able to close out a Circuit event in a while, so it feels really good.”
Dean has indeed been quite busy on the live tournament circuit in 2022. He has made eight final tables this year, with four titles won along the way. This latest win saw him earn 1,080 Card Player Player of the Year points. With 2,762 total points and $608,762 in to-date POY earnings, Dean has climbed into 66th place in the 2022 POY race standings, which are sponsored by Global Poker.
His three other tournament victories this year all came in events held at the Pearl River Resort in Mississippi, with buy-ins ranging from $600 to $1,500. Dean’s last win on the WSOP Circuit came back in 2016, when he topped a file of 961 entries in a $365 buy-in event at Harrah’s Cherokee to win $54,777 and his first piece of WSOPC hardware.
Dean came into the final day in eighth place with 13 players remaining. It didn’t take long for the field to be narrowed to just ten, at which point Dean won a classic preflop race with pocket jacks against the K-Q of Deividas Daubaris (10th – $28,984) to set the official final table.
Bracelet winner David Moses also got all-in with K-Q. He ran into the A-6 suited of three-time ring winner Brad Albrinck and was unable to come from behind. Moses earned $36,107 as the ninth-place finisher.
Tyler Wilson scored two quick knockouts, eliminating Greg Dalton (8th – $45,428) and Brad Wilson (7th – $57,717) to chip up dramatically heading into six-handed play. During this stretch, Dean picked up pocket aces against the pocket kings of Albrinkck and held to double into the lead.
Albrinck was left short after that hand, and soon was all-in and at risk with pocket threes facing the A-K of Shea Quintin. A king-high flop and no further help for Albrinck saw him finish sixth for $74,406.
Quintin also found success from the other side of a preflop race, with pocket sevens needing to fade the two overs of Juan Mora’s A-Q. Quintin ended up with nines full of sevens to win the pot and eliminate Mora in fifth place ($95,912). Despite that win, though, Quintin was ultimately the next to fall. He ran K-10 into the A-10 of Howard Mash. Neither player improved by the river and Quintin was sent home with $125,423.
Mash’s run in this event came to an end when he got all-in with a flush and straight draw against the top pair and straight draw of Dean. The river brought a blank and Mash was knocked out in third place, earning $165,568 for his efforts.
With that, Dean entered heads-up play with 28,560,000 to Tyler Phillips’ 16,500,000. Dean extended his lead in the early going, and Phillips soon found himself all-in with A2 trailing the AQ of Dean. The board ran out K83JK to lock up the pot and the title for Dean. Phillips was awarded $220,613 as the runner-up, the largest score of his career.
Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table:
Photos provided by WSOP.