World Series of Poker Circuit Choctaw Durant: Abraham Araya Leads; 30 Remain



After a marathon session at the Choctaw Casino and Resort Sunday, 30 players remain in the hunt for the 2011-2012 World Series of Poker Circuit Choctaw Main Event title heading into Monday’s final day.

Chris Tiller and three-time WSOPC ring winner La Sengphet led the 476 players who began the second day of play. However, these two spent the day proving the fact that Day 1 leaders in just about any poker tournament often have very little impact on the results. In fact, both busted before the 99-player money bubble popped.

They did find some good company on the early rail, with notables including Scotty Nguyen, T.J. Cloutier, Tommy Vedes, Berry Johnston, Men "The Master" Nguyen, Chad Brown, and Tom McEvoy meeting them there.

Six-time WSOP bracelet winner Layne Flack also hit the exit before the payouts started after a terrible beat where he got his chips in the middle with a set, only to see his opponent go runner-runner to make quads.

Prize-pool information was released by the tournament staff partway through the day, and with a final total of 978 players getting in on the action at Choctaw Durant, a $1.4 million prize pool was created with plans to pay the final 99.

That number was reached shortly after the dinner break when two players busted during the same orbit and both went home with half a minimum cash.

Once the bubble was out of the way, it wasn’t long before a few players started moving up and away from the pack — most notably Abraham Araya, who could do no wrong on the way to building a massive 1.822 million stack and a healthy chip lead he’ll take into Monday’s final day.

Araya is no stranger to winning at Choctaw either, having claimed the Main Event title at the $1,500 T.J. Cloutier Choctaw Poker Challenge last October. However, he’ll have some stiff competition when play resumes at 1200 CST (1800 GMT) Monday with players like Mark Burford and Larry Grayson above the one-million chip mark as well and Steven Gurney-Goldman, Michael Sanders, and Daniel Lowery within striking distance.

Six-figure paydays await the top three here at Choctaw, including a sizable $270,380 first-place prize, so things should be exciting Monday, and we suggest you take the time to follow all the WSOPC action live, right here on

Top Ten Chip Counts

Place Player Chip Count
1 Abraham Araya 1,822,000
2 Larry Grayson 1,608,000
3 Mark Burford 1,156,000
4 Will Nguyen 994,000
5 Steven Gurney-Goldman 968,000
6 Michael Sanders 939,000
7 Daniel Lowery 926,000
8 Derek Browning 926,000
9 Hugo Perez 842,000
10 Drew Dumanski 836,000

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