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Allen Cunningham Wins Caesars WSOP Circuit Event

Cunningham Comes From Behind Heads Up to Take the Title


Doug LeeJust hours after announcing that the final table of the WSOP main event will be delayed for 16 weeks, Harrah's wasted no time getting to the conclusion of the WSOP Circuit main event at Caesars Palace. The final nine players gathered in the corner of the Caesars Palace tournament room, surrounded by bleachers full of spectators and cameras, ready to battle for the first place prize of just under $500,000. The final table was stacked with seasoned professionals, but none stood out more than 5-time bracelet winner Allen Cunningham. Cunningham came into the day in the middle of the pack and never held the chip lead until getting heads up, but was able to out-maneuver his opponents with a series of all in and a cooler on the end to take his first WSOP-C title and bring him just $385,000 shy of $10,000,000 in lifetime tournament earnings.

Ralph PerryDoug Lee, a former WSOP-C champion himself, had a short stay at the final table after losing twice with the best hand. After Motoyuki Mabuchi crippled him with A-J, Lee tried the same hand out for himself, only to lose to Ben Fineman's trips nines. Lee was eliminated in ninth place, earning $32,204.

Cunningham started his rise up the leader board when his pocket queens held up against bracelet winner Ralph Perry and his pocket jacks. Perry's cold deck may have sent him home prematurely, but he was rewarded for his efforts with a consolation prize of $48,306.

Blair HinkleAfter Kelly Samson eliminated Tom Hover in seventh place, Blair Hinkle decides to make his move. Hinkle, who is known as blur5f6 online, moved all in with Q9 and was called by chip leader Fineman's AQ. Things looked bleak for Blair, but the flop of 1086 gave him some hope with a double gutshot. The turn was the Q, pairing both players and giving Hinkle a flush draw, but he bricked out when the 8 fell on the river, sending him back to Missouri in sixth place. Hinkle has been on tear of late, having gone deep in both the L.A. Poker Classic and the Bay 101 Shooting Star, but he has yet to reach the big money generally reserved for the top 3 spots. Still, the $80,510 he earned for his three days of work will undoubtedly ease some of the sting.

Justin BonomoAfter doubling up Samson, Justin Bonomo was left scrambling with just over 100,000 in chips. A few hands later he was all in with king rag against Cunningham's A-Q. The board failed to improve both players and Cunningham's ace high was enough to send Bonomo packing. Bonomo's finish was good enough for $96,612.

Fineman continued his dominating play by taking out Mabuchi in fourth place, and then took out Samson in a huge hand that left him heads up with a nearly 4-1 chip lead. After a flop of 974 Samson bet and Fineman raised him back. Samson called and the turn was the 9. Samson bet once again and Fineman put him all in for over 1 million in chips. Samson made the call, showing 98, but Fineman's J10 held the lead. The river was a safe 2 and Fineman collected the large pot as the tournament paused for the brief money presentation.

Allen CunninghamAfter Caesar himself brought out the money, the players took their seats and the counts were as follows:

Fineman - 2.6 million
Cunningham - 700,000

Cunningham struck first on a queen-high flop. Cunningham held top pair and it held against Fineman's pocket sevens. After a few more hands, now suddenly Cunningham had taken the chip lead. The final hand came on a board of KQQ10. Fineman showed AJ for a broadway straight, but Cunningham's 54 had him drawing dead. Fineman earned $257,637 for his runner-up finish and Cunningham won the lion's share with $499,162.