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Five Fine Poker Players From South Carolina
South Carolina, The Palmetto State, is known for its beaches and golf courses, but not so much its poker talent. This is surprising when one considers the top five winners from South Carolina have $2,584,502 in combined winnings. North Carolina’s top five players blow this sum out of the water, but it is still a respectable figure.
John “Hank” Sitton III the Million Dollar Man From South Carolina
John Sitton III, affectionately known as Hank, hails from Greenville, South Carolina. He is the only player in the state to have accumulated $1 million in winnings. Sitton’s cashes date back to 2006, the first was a $3,157 score at the World Series of Poker.
Sitton put himself and South Carolina on the poker map in September 2007. He finished third in a $10,000 buy-in event in Biloxi for $216,768, which is still his best-ever cash. Indeed, that is Sitton’s only six-figure haul despite his $1,006,087 in earnings.
Anyone who plays the WSOP Circuit events will bump into Sitton at some point because he is a tour regular. He is yet to secure a WSOPC ring or a WSOP bracelet despite 77 cashes on the various tours. Sitton is still plugging away, and recorded two more WSOPC cashes in early 2020.
Mitchell Wayne Smith the South Carolina Low-Stakes Specialist
Mitchell Wayne Smith of Winnsboro, South Carolina, is the state’s low-stakes high-volume grinder. Smith’s Hendon Mob profile has 221 in-the-money finishes on it, with 15 coming from January to July 2021!
Smith mostly plays $40 to $125 buy-in tournaments and has a real knack for them. His $447,649 in career winnings is a testament to that fact, especially when his largest cash is $32,166. Smith won that sum when he cashed in the 2008 WSOP Main Event. Eight other five-figure hauls adorn his poker resume.
David Hewitt Came Close To Winning a WSOP Bracelet
David Hewitt jetted off to the 2007 World Series of Poker and almost came home a hero. Hewitt was one of 1,619 entrants in a $2,000 No-Limit Hold’em event. Dozens of big names littered the payout list. Shannon Elizabeth, Chris Klodnicki, Mike Watson, Steve O’Dwyer, and Praz Bansi among them. The little-known Hewitt of Greer, South Carolina, stood firm.
Hewitt eventually found himself heads-up for a bracelet where he faced Alessandro Ponzio. Unfortunately, Hewitt fell at the final table and returned home with the $373,985 consolation prize. That impressive score makes up the majority of Hewitt’s $403,581 earnings.
Hugh Henderson Almost Became a WSOP Hero
Hugh Henderson of Belton, South Carolina, has $388,085 in winnings with $322,866 stemming from one incredible tournament. Henderson bought into the $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em event at the 2012 WSOP alongside 3,165 others. Three days later, he finished in third place for a monster-sized $322,866.
Henderson can be immensely proud of that result because he fought the likes of Bryan Piccioli and Matthew Graham at the final table. Henderson rarely played after that WSOP near miss, with June 2018 the last time he recorded a live tournament cash.
Ben Diebold Is One to Watch For the Future
Ben Diebold of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, is a name to commit to memory. Why? Because he has an obvious talent when it comes to tournament poker. Diebold has racked up 30 cashes in 3.5 years with nine of those worth $10,000 or more.
Diebold’s largest score weighs in at $75,655, his reward for winning a $1,100 buy-in event in 2018. he enjoyed three other five-figure hauls in 2018, including a $63,721 prize for a runner-up finish in a WSOPC event in Cherokee.
2020 was another strong year for Diebold as he won $100,191 from events. That year was, obviously, cut short because of COVID-19. The current year has been quiet but we expect Diebold to finish with a bang.