Tripp Kirk Wins the World Series of Poker Circuit Harrah’s St. Louis Main Event



The 2011-2012 World Series of Poker Circuit Harrah’s St. Louis Main Event concluded on Monday when Tripp Kirk conquered the 625-player field to capture the $190,961 first-place prize and punch his ticket to this summer’s National Championship — not to mention laying claim to his second gold ring.

Twenty-one players remained at the beginning of the third and final day, but it didn’t take long for them to fall. Michael McKuin was the first player to exit, busting within minutes of the day’s start. Not long after, WSOP Circuit phenom and unfailing casher, Alexandru Masek, opened to 32,000, Dave Schwartz called behind and Brian Davis made it 100,000 to go from the small blind. Masek took just a few seconds to move his stack in the middle, Schwartz got out of the way, and Davis called.


Davis {A-Hearts} {A-Spades}
Masek {5-Hearts} {5-Spades}

The board ran out an uneventful {3-Hearts} {K-Hearts} {A-Clubs} {K-Diamonds} {2-Clubs} and Masek was denied his record-tying fifth gold ring, finishing in 20th place for $8,021. From there, 10 more players hit the rail before the final table was reached, with a particularly exciting hand occurring on the bubble.

It happened when there was around 400,000 in the pot and a board reading {4-Spades}{9-Spades}{7-Clubs}{J-Hearts}, Bradley Lipsey checked to Brian "Big Kat" Davis, who bet 225,000. Lipsey stood up from his chair, looked at his stack, asked for a count, and then announced that he was all in. Davis called off his last 380,000 and the cards were turned up.


Davis {J-Diamonds}{J-Spades}
Lipsey {Q-Clubs}{Q-Diamonds}

Davis had spiked a jack on the turn to come from behind and take the lead. He was a 95 percent favorite to double on the hand. Unfortunately for him, and much to the astonishment of the railbirds and players alike, the {Q-Spades} peeled off on the river to give Lipsey the winning set. A shell-shocked Davis was eliminated from the Harrah’s St. Louis Main Event in 10th place for $14,259, bringing about the official final table.

Pre-Final Table WSOP Circuit Harrah’s St. Louis Payouts

Place Player Prize
10th Brad Davis $14,259
11th David Schwartz $14,259
12th Brett Schwertley $14,259
13th Peter Brooks $11,622
14th Ryan Tepen $11,622
15th Blake Cahail $11,622
16th David Davenport $9,594
17th Ryan Enis $9,595
18th Jeter Brock $9,594
19th Dan Blakeman $8,021
20th Alexandru Masek $8,021
21st Michael McKuin $8,021

At the final table, Jerry Milanos became the first elimination after his {9-Diamonds}{4-Spades} ran into the {10-Clubs}{10-Spades} of Tim Killday on a {9-Clubs}{3-Clubs}{8-Clubs} flop. Neither the {5-Diamonds} turn nor {8-Diamonds} river helped Milanos, and he became the ninth-place finisher.

The next player to go was James Russell, who found himself all in preflop for around 700,000 holding {K-Hearts}{Q-Diamonds} and racing against the {10-Hearts}{10-Diamonds} of Chris Conrad. Any excitement quickly dissipated when the {10-Spades}{5-Hearts}{4-Clubs} flop delivered a set for Conrad and a huge lead. The {Q-Clubs} turn left Russell drawing dead, and he made his way to the payout desk in eighth place after the {J-Hearts} was put out on the river.

A short time later, after a flop of {A-Spades}{8-Hearts}{9-Diamonds}, Jeff Fitzgerald checked to Charles “Woody” Moore, who bet 200,000. Fitzgerald responded with a check-raise to 460,000, Moore moved all in, Fitzgerald quickly called off his stack, and the cards were turned up.


Fitzgerald {A-Hearts}{9-Spades}
Moore {8-Diamonds}{8-Clubs}

It was top two pair versus bottom set with Moore out in front. In order to survive, Fitzgerald needed to catch either an ace or nine, but it was not meant to be as the {5-Diamonds} appeared on the turn followed by the {4-Hearts} on the river. Fitzgerald became the seventh-place finisher for $28,445.

After dinner, Lipsey opened for 130,000 and received a call from Killday, who then turned around and led out for 300,000 on the {9-Hearts}{Q-Diamonds}{K-Hearts} flop. Lipsey thought for a few moments before moving all in and Killday snap-called.


Lipsey {K-Diamonds}{5-Diamonds}
Killday {J-Diamonds}{10-Clubs}

Lipsey had flopped top pair but ran straight into the nuts. The {7-Hearts} left Lipsey drawing dead, and after the {10-Clubs} was put out on the river, he made his way to the rail in sixth place. "You led out," Lipsey said to Killday. "That’s what got me."

Minutes later, Gannesh Letchumanan moved his short stack all in preflop and got a call from Kirk. The blinds released and the hands were tabled.


Kirk {A-Clubs} {10-Hearts}
Letchumanan {K-Hearts} {Q-Spades}

The board ran out {Q-Diamonds} {6-Clubs} {A-Hearts} {10-Clubs} {7-Hearts} and Kirk’s two pair sent Letchumanan to the rail in fifth place for $48,224.

Moore, fresh off a runner-up finish in the Council Bluffs Main Event, impressed many with a fourth-place finish in St. Louis. His demise came when he was in the small blind and limped, prompting Kirk to check his option in the big. When the flop fell {A-Clubs}{5-Clubs}{J-Clubs}, Moore checked, Tripp bet 60,000 and Moore check-raised to 225,000. Kirk flatted and then snap-called when Moore shipped his chips in the middle on the {3-Hearts} turn.

Moore knew he was in trouble when he showed {J-Diamonds}{9-Clubs}, but it was worse than he could have expected because he was drawing dead to Kirk’s {K-Clubs}{10-Clubs}. The {6-Hearts} was put out on the river to seal the deal, and Moore shook hands with the other three players before taking his leave in fourth place.

During three-handed play, Kirk and Conrad got involved in a preflop raising war where Conrad ended up all in with {Q-Spades}{Q-Diamonds} against Kirk’s {K-Diamonds}{K-Clubs}. Conrad, who began the day as chip leader, was clearly dejected, and even more so when the flop came down {K-Hearts}{6-Spades}{5-Clubs}. The {3-Diamonds} turn sent Conrad from his seat, and the {8-Clubs} river sent him out the door in third place, good for $86,372.

Kirk began heads-up play with an almost 2:1 chip lead, and it didn’t take long for the final hand to develop. On a board reading {7-Spades}{4-Diamonds}{A-Clubs}{2-Spades}, Killday checked to Kirk, who fired out 200,000. Killday thought for a moment before announcing, "All in."

"Call," Kirk snapped and rolled over {A-Hearts}{2-Clubs}. Killday sheepishly turned over {Q-Hearts}{10-Spades} and it was all over. Even before the {9-Diamonds} was put out on the river, Kirk was out of his seat celebrating with his friends. Killday sought comfort with his own rail, and will have a $118,119 payday to help ease the pain.

WSOP Circuit Harrah’s St. Louis Final Table Payouts

Place Player Prize
1st Tripp Kirk $190,961
2nd Tim Killday $118,119
3rd Chris Conrad $86,372
4th Charles “Woody” Moore $64,093
5th Gannesh Letchumanan $48,224
6th Bradley Lipsey $36,784
7th Jeff Fitzgerald $28,445
8th James Russell $22,298
9th Jerry Milanos $17,715

That does it for PokerNews’ coverage from the WSOP Circuit Harrah’s St. Louis. Next stop? Harrah’s Chester near Philadelphia that runs from April 26 through May 7, 2012. Join the PokerNews Live Reporting Team the for all the action from the 2011-2012 WSOP Circuit’s second-to-last stop.

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