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Final Table Takedown: Dan Lowery Captures 15th WSOP Circuit Ring

by Craig Tapscott |  Published: Apr 03, 2024

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Dan Lowery is a real threat to win most any tournament event he enters. The Arkansas businessman and part-time player capped off 2023 with a huge victory in the WPT World Championship $10,000 Seniors High Roller at Wynn Las Vegas a few days after turning the big 50 for nearly $400,000.

But it’s been on the World Series of Poker Circuit that Lowery has really shined. The excitement on the tour the last few years has been the back-and-forth battle between Lowery and Ari Engel for most gold rings. At present, Engel is on the top with 17 (read more on pg. 26) to Lowery’s 15.

Lowery picked up his maiden WSOP Circuit cash back in 2010 and had a couple runner-up finishes before scoring his first win in the summer of 2013. Since then he’s added another 14 titles with rings at stops all over the map. Lowery has won at Harrah’s New Orleans, Imperial Palace Biloxi, Harvey’s Lake Tahoe, Horseshoe Council Bluffs, Choctaw Durant, Hard Rock Tulsa, Horseshoe Tunica, Graton Casino in the Bay Area, and even two rings in the islands at the Hilton in Aruba and Casino Royale in St. Maarten.

His most recent title, however, came at Harrah’s Cherokee in North Carolina, beating out a massive field of 3,577 in the $400 monster stack event, taking home $148,416. The RunGood ambassador, married father of four, and owner of D&H Wood Products now has $3.1 million in career earnings.

Craig Tapscott: You’ve been on quite the tear over the last year or so. I’m curious. How has your game evolved?

Dan Lowery: I feel I’ve stayed on pace with the ever-evolving trends in poker. I understand GTO enough to exploit those that I feel are playing fundamentally sound, and I definitely get creative. The extent of my study is discussing hands and strategy with good players in my inner circle.

I love to observe what the better, young players are doing. Some of it works and some of it doesn’t, and I take bits and pieces from them to implement into my game.

Most of all, I’ve worked on my mental game. Focus and Zen are key for a successful tournament player. The highs are never as high as the lows are low. We seem to only be as good as our last win or big score, and those are often few and far between.

CT: Do you have a goal to catch Ari Engel in regard to WSOP Circuit rings?

DL: As far as circuit rings are concerned, I’d love to be on top of the counts just one time. That’s no easy task with the obligations I have at home with work and family. I’ve played way more in the last 15 months than I ever have in my career, but I doubt I ever play the volume needed to contend with a great player like Ari. 

CT: What are you goals in poker at this point in your career?

DL: One of the main goals that interest me is winning a WSOP bracelet. I played 15 total bracelet events in 2012-2013 combined going 0-15. Then I didn’t go to Vegas for almost six years for personal reasons. I played a handful of events in 2019 and got my first WSOP cash in a bracelet event. Since then, I have made a deep run in the main event and made two final tables, but I’ve only played 6-8 bracelet events in each of the last three years.

So, I’ve only played approximately 35-40 total bracelet events lifetime. Crazy to think to be honest. But this summer I plan to play 25-30 events. I feel my experience in big fields will put me in more spots to have a chance at that coveted prize. 

My bigger passion is seeing and playing in other countries with friends, and to visit venues I haven’t played at here in the states. I want to continue to support RunGood Poker Series, as Tana Karn and company has done so much for the recreational player. Also, I want to continue to help grow and support women in poker. Overall, I just want to compete mostly in mid-stakes tourneys and enjoy myself.

CT: What do you love most about poker and why?

DL: I love the competition. I’ve said time and again that winning a nightly feels as good as winning six-figures. And that’s the truth. The only reason the bigger scores are more memorable is because of the bigger rails and support from friends we often experience when we are deep in a bigger tourney. 

I also love the camaraderie. I have so many people that come to congratulate me or wish me luck! Some simply just strike up a conversation in the hall or at the table because I’m relatable. I’m relatable to the guy that has 2-3 kids at home and just wants to make a few extra bucks. I’m relatable to the married man who has the support of his wife and sees that I’m just like him. I’m relatable to the old guy who doesn’t get respect at the table because he’s not a 20-something young gun with an entourage on breaks. I feel I’ve always been approachable and try to be fun at the table when I can. 

Event: WSOP Circuit Harrah’s Cherokee
Buy-In: $400 • Entrants: 3,577
Prize Pool: $589,050
First-Place Prize: $148,416

Stacks: Dan Lowery – 421,000 (105 BB) Villain – 170,000 (42.5 BB)
Blinds: 2,000-4,000 with a 4,000 big blind ante
Players Remaining: 480 on day 1A
Players: 9

Craig Tapscott: Please set the stage for us about this event?

Dan Lowery: There were three flights for this event. I was willing to fire an average of two buy-ins per flight; and obviously taking more spots in the first flight than I might’ve taken in later flights. 

CT: What was the dynamics of the table you were at during this hand?

DL: I had been in total control of the table from the time I had arrived, which was my second buy-in. I had accumulated 421,000 in chips by the end of registration. This was level 13. I was sitting with 105 bigs, which puts me in a spot I generally thrive in. My stack gave me playability from all angles and I was comfortable building and maintaining a big stack.

CT: How soon was this hand after registration?

DL: It was the first orbit after registration ended. This hand was against a solid, capable player who I’ve not played any significant hands with, so far. But I’d been observing him pretty intently since I sat down.

CT: What were the key takeaways you gathered from observing this opponent?

DL: I noticed he played position well. I don’t think he ever defended from blinds, and he opened or three-bet anytime he entered a pot. I observed two hands he had gone to showdown with where he won both, but controlled the betting in each of these two hands. He had down-bet in one with 8-8 on an A-Q-J two-tone board then checked down a winner against 10Heart Suit 7Heart Suit that had flopped a gutter and flush draw. The other, he raised small when his opponent donk bet into him on 6-5-4. They checked this one down and he won A-K over A-7 when neither improved.

CT: Did he know who you were at all?

DL: I didn’t recognize him, but that’s not to say his friends hadn’t given him a heads up on me. Sometimes my image hurts me, but it also helps me. People love to play back at me, but I experience that in almost every tourney I play. I generally know how to combat that type of aggression as well. Plus, I have it way more often than they expect. “Everyone has a plan till they get punched in the mouth” as Mike Tyson would say.

Villain raised from mid-position to 9,000. Lowery reraised from the small blind to 24,000 holding KSpade Suit QSpade Suit. Villain called.
Flop: 10Spade Suit 9Club Suit 3Diamond Suit
Lowery bet 18,000, and Villain raised to 38,000.

DL: We have a gutter and a back door flush draw.

CT: What’s your take on his range?

DL: I feel like he could easily have a set here, but we will know more by his turn action.

Turn: 5Heart Suit
Lowery checked, and Villain checked behind.

DL: At this point I felt his raise on the flop was to control the pot. Perhaps he had a hand like 6-6 to 8-8 and maybe even J-J. He has all the straight combos, and some big aces. I definitely didn’t feel he had any big pairs or sets when he checked back a harmless turn.

River: 3Heart Suit

CT: This river was no help to you. Did you find a way to take the pot away?

DL: When the river paired the three, I knew I couldn’t take the hand to showdown. I felt like I would be called with most pairs. Most hands with any value at all he’s just checking back. I didn’t feel a check-raise was ever going to be believable either. So, I took a pretty unorthodox line and bet 4,000 (1 BB).

CT: Explain a little more about why you bet one big blind.

DL: This bet will almost always just get a call from his good value hands, but might make him turn all his mediocre hands that beat me into a bluff. I got what I wanted when he…

Villain raised to 39,000.

DL: This bet left him with roughly 70,000 behind.

Lowery raised to 74,000.

DL: This blew his mind with a min-raise to 74,000 total, which would have him putting in half of his remaining stack for a call. But it also laid him close to 7-1 pot odds.

CT: What was your final take on his hand?

DL: I banked on him having missed draws, ace highs, and one-pair hands, no bigger than a nine. He took about 60 seconds before sliding his cards face down toward the middle.
Villain folded. Lowery won the pot of 245,000.

CT: How did you finish the day?

DL: I actually went on to bag the chip lead on day 1A with 2,275,000. 

Stacks: Dan Lowery – 16,000,000 (40 BB) Villain – 15,500,000 (39 BB)
Blinds: 200,000-400,000 with a 400,000 big blind ante
Players Remaining: 20
Players: 7

Lowery raised to 850,000 from the cutoff holding QHeart Suit QClub Suit.

DL: My opponent in this hand was a loud, friendly guy on the button who has been double fisting white claws all night. He three-bet me…

Villain reraised to 1,900,000.

CT: What was your immediate thought after the Villain raised?

DL: I didn’t feel like he would be folding to a four-bet from me. So, I decided not to bloat the pot since I would be playing out of position. We both had large stacks that were relatively the same size.

Flop: JHeart Suit 10Heart Suit 2Diamond Suit
Lowery checked. Villain checked.

DL: I don’t really love the flop as it came out. Surprisingly, he checked back, and I wasn’t sure what to make of that at this point in the hand.

Turn: KClub Suit
Lowery bet 2,000,000.

CT: What was your thinking behind when you lead out on the turn?

DL: I was mainly looking for info and not yet for value. He only took about ten seconds to call, and his drunken babble persisted.

Villain called.
River: 5Heart Suit

DL: The river completed a heart draw.

Lowery bet 3,100,000.

DL: I bet 3,100,000 into the 8,800,000 pot. I knew he shouldn’t be raising me without at least AHeart Suit Qx, because our stacks at this point are so valuable. But I was actually afraid of him going for it in his drunken state.

CT: Was that part of your decision to bet the river?

DL: Yes. That was part of the reason I lead instead of checking as well. I also felt me leading turn and river told a good enough story that he could fold a couple hands that beat me, as well as hero call with one or two that I beat.

Villain folded. Lowery won the pot of 11,900,000.

CT: Did he fold right away?

DL: Not at all. He tanked over three minutes and finally folded after saying he couldn’t beat any of my two pairs, sets, straights, or any flush. I truly felt he folded the best hand, but I told the best story. I had convinced him that I was going for value on river with my bet.

Follow Lowery on Twitter/X @danmflowery. ♠

*Photos by WSOP and WPT.