Harvey Castro – Photo Credit: WSOP Circuit
Harvey Castro topped the field to take home his first World Series of Poker Circuit gold ring along with $275,660 at the Choctaw main event in Durant, Oklahoma on July 31. One of the youngest players in the tournament, Castro is from nearby Flower Mound, Texas. He also plays collegiate soccer for Southern Methodist University so competition is in his blood.
“I tried to manage expectations, I just tried to keep a calm, collected head throughout. I tried to take it one hand at a time,” said Castro to reporters after the win. He continued, “I just really developed a love for it and I’ve been playing ever since. I’ve always loved tournaments, but I play a lot of cash.” Castro ended the interview by pondering his outlook on future poker plans, “I got no idea, man. I gotta soak this up for a second and figure out what my life is going to look like after this. I’m excited, definitely more poker to come.”
The five-day tournament saw a turnout of 1,026 entries accumulated over three starting flights, and the total prize pool was set at $1,552,338. That easily surpassed the guarantee of $1 million. The top 120 players all secured a score worth at least $2,546 in prize money. Day 2 saw each and every player that cashed return, and then they played all the way down to the final 12 players with David “The Dragon” Pham holding the chip lead. Notables that made a deep run in the tournament included gold-ring winners Kami Hudson (40th), Danny Marx (36th), Will Berry (34th), Craig Varnell (12th), and Roger Franco (10th).
Pham still held the lead when the final table was set, and Castro held the third-largest stack with nine players remaining. Castro pulled into the lead a short time later thanks to dragging a pot worth 5 million chips. Castro didn’t score his first knockout punch at the final table until he took out Arthur Morris in fifth place during his drive to retake the chip lead after losing it during the early action.
Castro scored the next elimination after the dinner break when he took out Todd Tucker in fourth place. Castro then kept things rolling when he busted Pham in third place to take a better than 5:1 chip advantage into the final match against Chris Staats.
Castro applied constant pressure from that point forward with multiple jams before Staats picked a spot to make his final stand. Castro moved all in with J5 on the final hand of the tournament, and Staats called for the last of his chips holding 98. The board ran out K327Q, and that was all she wrote for Staats. He took home $174,980 for the deep run, and the gold bracelet winner’s career earnings are now above $1.7 million.
Here is a look at the payouts awarded at the final table:
The next WSOP Circuit event will run from Aug. 3-14 at the Harrah’s Cherokee in North Carolina. The $1,700 buy-in main event begins on Thursday, Aug. 11. You can see the full schedule for the tournament series right here.