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Charles Johnson Wins 2017 World Series of Poker Circuit Cherokee Main Event

37-Year-Old Contact Center Manager Defeats Field of 957 Entries To Win $272,744


Charles Johnson
has won the 2017 World Series of Poker Circuit Cherokee $1,675 no-limit hold’em main event. The tournament featured a $1 million guarantee that was easily surpassed when 957 total entries were made in the event to build a final prize pool of $1,435,500. Johnson outlasted that strong turnout to capture the first-place prize of $272,744 and his first WSOPC gold ring.

“There are a lot of people who’ve been doing this for a lot longer than I have
and have never been here,” Johnson told WSOP reporters after coming out on top. “I feel blessed. Like, just blessed.”

Johnson is a 37-year-old contact center manager who only took up poker around four years ago. In the intervening years it has become a major hobby of Johnson’s, who frequently spends his nights playing the game in his hometown of Atlanta. Despite winning a huge six-figure payday in this event, Johnson says that he has no plans of moving on from his job.

“I’m going back to work,” said Johnson. “I may not be there tomorrow, but I’ll be there this week. I’ve seen a lot of people win a lot of money, and the next thing you know, they’re broke. I’m not trying to do that. I’m not going to do anything stupid."

In addition to the title and the ring Johnson also earned 912 Card Player Player of the Year points as the champion of this event. This was his first career tournament score that qualified for POY points. He now has 12 career cashes, with $292,429 in total earnings.

Johnson came into the final day as the chip leader with 16 players remaining. He survived to heads-up play against James Moon, taking only a slight lead into the final showdown for the ring. On the 54th hand of heads-up the two got all-in preflop with Moon holding the 9Spade Suit9Heart Suit up against Johnson’s JSpade Suit10Diamond Suit. The flop brought the QClub Suit8Spade Suit5Heart Suit and Johnson called for Moon to hit his set. The turn was the ADiamond Suit, keeping Moon’s hand ahead while giving Johnson a few additional outs. The 9Diamond Suit on the river did indeed give Moon his set, but more importantly, it gave Johnson a straight to secure the pot and the title. Moon earned $168,700 as the runner-up finisher.

Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at this final table:

Place Player Earnings (USD) POY Points
1 Charles Johnson $272,744 912
2 James Moon $168,700 760
3 John Whitlow $124,515 608
4 Edwin Yancey $93,164 456
5 Krzysztof Stybaniewicz $70,584 380
6 Nathan Gentry $54,147 304
7 David Jackson $42,046 228
8 Ryan Jones $33,060 152
9 Trung Pham $26,298 76

Winner photo courtesy of WSOP.