Less than two years after winning the World Series of Poker Circuit Harrah’s Cherokee Main Event for $235,805, Ryan Jones topped the performance.
On Tuesday, the North Carolina native topped a field of 945 entrants to win the WSOP Circuit Rio Las Vegas for $269,327, a seat into the season-ending Global Casino Championship, and his second gold ring.
The win was the highlight of the WSOP Circuit’s first stop to Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino since 2005.
Ryan Jones Holds Off Muruz Yohannes to Win
Aside from the two WSOP Circuit Main Event wins, Jones’ poker résumé includes $119,582 for finishing fourth in the 2015 Borgata Winter Open Event #1, 182nd in the 2013 WSOP Main Event for $42,990, and a win in a 2013 Wynn Summer Classic $440 event for $35,590.
In the final hand of the latest tournament, which took place in Level 36 (150,000/300,000/50,000), Muruz Yohannes limped the button and then called when Jones raised to 1 million. After the flop came down J♠7♣5♣, Jones led out and then snap-called when Yohannes moved all in.
Yohannes shoved with the 8♠7♠ for middle pair, and he was way behind the Q♠Q♥ of Jones. The Q♣ turn left Yohannes drawing dead, and he had to settle for second place and a $166,585 consolation prize as the meaningless K♣ was run out on the river.
“I knew I was a better player than him. I knew I just had to grind him down,” Jones told WSOP officials of his opponent after his win.
“For a lot of hands, I found myself on the river with the bottom of my range where I had to bluff. And he always had a hand to call. So, I missed a couple draws and had to bluff the river. I’m not the type to just check if I don’t have anything. He held over me for a little at the beginning. But I know I’m never out.”
Final Table Results
1 Ryan Jones (Burlington, NC) $269,327
2 Muruz Yohannes (Las Vegas, NV) $166,585
3 Jeremy Joseph (Buffalo, NY) $122,954
4 Nikolai Sears (Davisburg, MI) $91,996
5 Tony Utnage (Bloomington, IN) $69,698
6 Martin Zamani (Boca Raton, FL) $53,468
7 Jett Schencker (Atlanta, GA) $41,519
8 Daniel Engels (Innsbruck, Austria) $32,645
9 Cody Pack (Cartersville, GA) $25,969
Other notables to cash the WSOP Circuit Rio Main Event were World Poker Tour champ Dylan Wilkerson (11th for $20,908), 2016 Aussie Millions champ Ari Engel (14th for $17,038), and bracelet winner Ryan Laplante (20th for $11,709).
Poker Pros Find Success at Rio
In addition to the Main Event, there were 13 other official ring events at the WSOP Circuit Rio. Among the winners were a slew of recognizable names, many of who weren’t experiencing their first win.
For example, Nate Bandy, a retired football player, topped a field of 1,498 entries to win Event #1: $365 NLHE Re-Entry for $75,364 and his fourth gold ring of the season. Likewise, Kenny Nguyen took down Event #6: $365 NLHE to win $23,196 and his second ring, while Seth Foster won Event #7: $365 Pot-Limit Omaha for $12,231 and his second ring.
In Event #8 $365 NLHE, Chris Leong topped a field of 376 entrants to win $24,812 and his fourth ring, and two events later in the $365 Monster Stack, Eric Blair came out on top of a 780-player field to win $46,803 and his second ring.
Finally, 32-year-old bracelet winner Brandon Wittmeyer added a ring to his jewelry collection after topping a field 139 entries to win the $2,200 High Roller for $77,840.
The WSOP Circuit now heads to the Bicycle Hotel & Casino March 4-15.