Hollis Holcomb Wins the WSOP Circuit Choctaw Event


Nothing is certain in poker, although you could say Hollis Holcomb’s victory in the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Circuit Choctaw event was written in the stars.

Holcomb is an amateur who loves playing poker for the joy and excitement of it all. His limited success in major live poker tournaments netted him $18,419 in winnings over the years, but now he has a career-best prize of $255,535.

Oklahoma’s Holcomb won his seat into Event #11: $1,700 No-Limit Hold’em Main Event on the WSOP Circuit at Choctaw Hotel & Casino by earning the Chris Ghylin trophy. The trophy is awarded to the Player of the Year in Holcomb’s home town poker club; its name is in honor of Holcomb’s late poker-playing friend.

2019 WSOP Circuit Choctaw Main Event Final Table Results

Place Player Prize
1 Hollis Holcomb $255,535
2 Vincent Moscati $157,929
3 Jesse Solano $118,349
4 Tony Nguyen $89,536
5 Braxton Dunaway $68,390
6 Matt Russell $52,747
7 Steven Williams $41,082
8 Shomari Williams $32,314
9 Scott Hall $25,672

A field of 976 hopefuls packed into the Choctaw Hotel & Casino over the course of two starting flights, creating a $1,478,640 prize pool as a result. This seven-figure prize pool was shared among the top 148 finishers.

Some of the more notable players who navigated their way into the money places included TJ Cloutier, Chris Tryba, Craig Varnell, Allen Kessler, and Arron Massey.

Each of the nine players who reached the final table for their moment in the limelight locked up $25,672 for their efforts. With $255,535 awaiting the champion, along with a coveted WSOP-C gold ring, nobody wanted to take home the smaller amount.

First Casualty of the Final Table

Someone had to and that someone was Scott Hall who ran his kings into Braxton Dunaway’s aces early at the final table and never recovered.

Shomari Williams was the next player to fall by the wayside, his three-bet shove with pocket jacks being called by the initial raiser Holcomb who held a pair of five in the hole. Those pocket fives flopped a full house and Williams busted when the turn and river bricked.

Seventh-place went to Steven Williams who failed to connect with the community cards with his ace-queen, therefore losing a classic coinflip against Tony Nguyen’s pocket nines.

Holcomb Busts Another

Holcomb then eliminated another foe when his jacks held against the ace-seven of Matt Russell. A seven on the flop gave Russell some hope, but the king on the turn was one pip away from helping him. An eight on the river was a blank and Russell exited in sixth-place.

Dunaway then touched ground to exit in fifth place. Again, it was a coinflip scenario that settled the hand, Dunaway’s black sevens going head-to-head with the ace-jack of Vincent Moscati. A jack on the flop was more than enough to see the pot pushed to Moscati and the remaining players received a little more elbow room.

Fourth-place was decided around 30-minutes later when Nguyen moved all in for 10 big blinds with pocket kings, a real powerhouse of a hand. Holcomb decided to call with ace-five and was rewarded with two pair on the flop. That two pair held, Nguyen headed to the cashier’s desk, and the remaining three players were now guaranteed a six-figure prize.

Jesse Solano saw his tournament end in a third-place finish worth $118,349. Holcomb opened to 750,000 from the small blind and snap-called when Solano three-bet all in for 2,200,000. Holcomb revealed a pair of red sevens, far superior to the pocket fives of his opponent. The five community cards fell with no drama and heads-up was set.

Heads-Up Lasts Only Two Hands

Thanks in part to that hand, Holcomb held a massive 17,500,000 to 1,200,000 chip advantage over Moscati and it only took two hands to settle the contest.

Moscati, a seven-time WSOP-C ring winner, committed the last of his chips with ace-king and Holcomb called with pocket jacks. A nine-seven-four flop, all in clubs, made things interesting as Moscati held the king of clubs while Holcomb’s hand did not feature one. The queen of hearts on the turn failed to alter the course of the hand with the queen of diamonds river handing the victory to Holcomb. Moscati will have to wait for his eighth ring and his quest to catch Maurice Hawkins at the top of the ring winning leaderboard.

A delighted Holcomb revealed in his post-tournament interview that he will be handing over almost $130,000 when he returns home. This is because part of the terms of the free seat he won was to share half of any winnings with the rest of his poker club, now 15-20 of the clubs members are going to be financially rewarded.

Holcomb was also full of praise for his late friend whose name adorns his poker club’s Player of the Year trophy. “I’d really like to say, I had a really good friend who taught me not only a lot about poker but also life. He passed away two years ago and he would have loved this. It was really unfortunate, he was only in his thirties, he was a great poker player and just a great person. I wouldn’t be here without Chris Ghylin, he was a great influence on me and this is for him.”

Matthew Pitt

Matthew Pitt

If it’s something you can play online for real money, chances are Matthew knows a bit about it. He’s been writing about slots, craps and poker for the better part of the last decade. He’s written for PokerNews, PartyPoker and many other respected online gambling websites during the last nine years.


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