Darin Utley Claims Gold in WSOP Circuit Choctaw $400 Multi-Flight Event

Darin Utley took down Event #3 on the schedule of the onging WSOP Circuit Choctaw for first gold ring and just over $50,000

Darin Utley, a former boxer from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, came to Choctaw Casino in Durant to play cash games but ended up claiming his first WSOP Circuit title. The player, who quit his daily job about a year ago and now plays poker for a living, took down Saturday night the $400 No-Limit Hold’em Multi-Flight for a gold ring and $50,557 in prize money.

The tournament drew 766 entries through two starting flights. That generated a prize pool of $252,780. The money was distributed in payouts for the top 81 finishers, with min-cashes being worth $419.

Utley entered the $400 buy-in through Flight A. The player had an excellent start and quickly gained momentum. He had emerged as the chip leader with 264,500 by the end of that first starting flight. He was surpassed by a couple of players who joined the field through Flight B, but the eventual champion still had a comfortable stack into Day 2 of the tournament.

Despite his good run on Day 1, Utley’s ride on Day 2 was not as easy and effortless as he might have hoped. The player quickly began losing chips until he found himself to be among the short stacks. He managed to navigate his way to the unofficial final table, but he was still short-stacked when that concluding stage of the event began.

Final Table Highlights

Once there were just ten players left at the tables of the host casino, they were moved to a single table to contimue their hunt for the title. Eric Bunch, a player with nearly $200,000 in WSOP earnings, led the ten finalists into the closing stage of the tournament with 2.275 million. Trailing not far behind was Lance Hendricks with 2.22 million.

As for Utley, he was second to last in the temporary leaderboard at the time with a chip stack of 345,000. Commenting on how things went for him on Day 2, the player said that “it felt good coming into Day 2” because he had some chips, but things just did not go his way, or at least not initially.

Over the course of the final table, Utley managed to jab his way back into the race and captured the momentum he gained to eventually take down the tournament. A winning hand of [8d][5d] against Hendricks secured him with his first WSOP Circuit gold ring and his first payout from the series. Hendrick himself scooped his first-ever WSOP Circuit cash. The player collected $31,168 for his deep run into the Multi-Flight event.

Utley revealed that he began playing poker for a living about a year ago. He usually plays cash games and Big O is his preferred poker format. As it can be seen, the player certainy has some Hold’em skills, as well.

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