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Abraham Araya Wins World Series of Poker Circuit Choctaw Main Event

Laid-Off Aircraft Mechanic Earns $270,380


Abraham ArayaThe latest champion has been decided on the 2012 World Series of Poker Circuit, with Abraham Araya emerging victorious in the $1,600 WSOP Circuit Choctaw main event in Durant, Oklahoma. For the win, the 44 year-old Carrollton, Texas native earned $270,380 and his first gold ring.

The six-figure first-place prize could not have come at a better time for Araya, who was laid off from his job as an airline flight mechanic. Araya used to work on the aircrafts of NBA teams, until his company filed for bankruptcy as a result of the depressed economy and he was laid off. Originally from East Africa, Araya moved to the United States more than two decades ago hopping to provide a better life for his family.

With a wife and three children to support, Araya is overjoyed to have found success at the poker tables in recent months. Last October he won the T.J. Cloutier Poker Challenge for $83,659. This WSOP Circuit main event victory has brought his total earnings for the past few months to more than $350,000. As he put it, this win represented roughly, “four or five years salary for an airline flight mechanic.”

In addition to providing for his family, Araya has some wonderful plans for his winnings. He hopes to use the money that he earned to take his children to see their grandparents in East Africa and also to take his wife to Hawaii for their tenth anniversary to relive their honeymoon. But while this prize money might afford Araya some easy living, getting it was far from easy.

Abraham ArayaAraya had to survive a massive field. A grand total of 978 players posted the $1,600 buy-in, building a large $1.4 million prize pool. Araya held the chip lead at the end of day two, with all thirty players remaining safely in the money and guaranteed at least a $7,271 payday.

On the third and final day of play, Araya navigated his way first to the final table, and then to heads-up play, where he once again began with a chip lead. On the final hand, his heads-up opponent Daniel Lowery moved all-in from the button with the AHeart Suit8Club Suit and Araya made the call with 5Diamond Suit5Spade Suit. The board ran out 9Diamond Suit9Spade Suit4Heart SuitJSpade SuitQHeart Suit, with Araya’s pair of fives sending Lowery to the rail in second place with $167,230.

In addition to the title and the money, Araya also earned 912 Card Player Player of the Year points, which moved him into a tie with Brendon Rubie for eighth place in the overall standings.

Here is the complete payout and POY point information for the final table:

Place Player Earnings POY Points
1 Abraham Araya $270,380 912
2 Daniel Lowery $167,230 760
3 Michael Sanders $123,430 608
4 Jack Miller $92,352 456
5 Mark Burford $69,968 380
6 Derek Browning $53,675 304
7 William Nguyen $41,679 228
8 Justin Gardenhire $32,771 152
9 Dejuante Alexander $26,069 76