DURANT — Poker pros and amateurs alike converge on the Choctaw Casino through Jan. 20 for their chance to win big money as part of the World Series of Poker-Circuit, which stops at various casinos through the U.S. and Canada.
The Oklahoma stop has become one of the more popular stops on the tour and is the 12th stop on the 2013-14 tour schedule. This year's event features 55 tournaments with buy-ins beginning at $125 and 12 championship rings awarded for events with buy-ins of $365 and up as well as the $1,650 buy-in Main Event Championship, which features a guaranteed $1 million prize pool. A WSOP pendant is also awarded for the $125 buy-in Ladies Championship on Jan. 19.
“Each and every year Choctaw is one of the most highly attended stops of the circuit schedule,” said WSOP-C spokesman and media coordinator Lukas Willems. “Last year's series challenged attendance records and saw the Main Event winner walk with a first prize of better than $300,000. The 2013-14 circuit has already set records, so all eyes are on the Dallas/Durant area.”
The World Series at Choctaw has continued to grow since the tournament series' inception in 2011. The Main Event has grown from 935 entries in 2011 to 1,140 last year. The preliminary Choctaw events have proved popular as well and a couple events featured guaranteed prize pools of $100,000 and $300,000.
“We're happy to once again offer the Texas and Oklahoma markets a WSOP-Circuit opportunity for the thousands of serious poker enthusiasts in the area,” said James Box, Choctaw Casino poker room manager. “We offer a best in class poker room and spacious tournament areas, along with great food and lodging to make the WSOP experience truly great for both professional players and amateurs alike.
“Other than Oklahoma, generally our business comes from Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, and other areas in Texas, but we get players from all over the country for this event. Some players will stay here the whole 18 days.”
Last year, Jeff Fielder of Des Moines, Iowa, won the Main Event and took home more than $312,000 for his efforts. Fielder is the owner of a construction company and praised the Choctaw for its professionalism in running tournaments. Major name professionals have also been known to attend events at the Choctaw and no doubt several pros recognizable from the WSOP on ESPN and World Poker Tour on Fox Sports will be taking their shot at the cash.
Beyond the Durant events, two players from the Choctaw series will earn a chance at even more poker glory. The winner of the Main Event and the Casino Champion (the player who earns the most tournament points throughout the series) earn seats to the season-ending WSOP National Championship, which will take place this spring in Atlantic City. The players will compete for at least a $2 million prize pool and a gold bracelet (the biggest trophy in poker that is synonymous with the annual WSOP event in Las Vegas). The tournament will be broadcast on ESPN — and the Oklahoma tour stop players will certainly be looking for a second major score and a bit of time in the poker limelight.
Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer in Crandall, Texas. His new book, “Raising the Stakes: True Tales of Gambling, Wagering and Poker Faces,” is available as an eBook and in paperback at PokerTraditions.com, his site all about poker history, lore, and people. If you have a gambling or poker story idea, email email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @PokerTraditions.
We're happy to once again offer the Texas and Oklahoma markets a WSOP-Circuit opportunity for the thousands of serious poker enthusiasts in the area.”
Choctaw Casino poker room manager