Hoyt Corkins Wins WPT Southern Poker Championship

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With his win in the World Poker Tour’s (WPT) Southern Poker Championship, “The Alabama Cowboy” Hoyt Corkins claimed his second WPT title. The DoylesRoom pro banked $739,000 for his efforts at the Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Donning an all-black outfit with a bright green DoylesRoom patch, Corkins told WPT Live Updates Hostess Amanda Leatherman following the win in the Deep South, “It’s been so frustrating. I’ve finished second twice, third once. It is frustrating to get down there and finish second or third.” Corkins’ last WPT title came during Season 2, when he brought home the bacon in the Foxwoods World Poker Finals for $1.1 million. He was the runner-up in the Season 2 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure and Season 6 Gold Strike World Poker Open.

Tyler “Tydean” Smith was the first casualty of the WPT Southern Poker Championship final table. After doubling up Jonathan Kantor, Smith committed the rest of his chips with J-3 and was up against Jonathan Jaffee’s A-Q. With the hometown favorite on the cusp of elimination, the crowd watched as the flop fell K-10-6, keeping Jaffee out in front. The turn came a four and, needing to catch a three on the river, Smith saw a six instead fall. He earned $86,000 for his second straight final table appearance in the $10,000 buy-in tournament. Smith lives ten minutes from the casino, an easy commute.

James Reed hit the skids in fifth place for $106,000. Reed shoved with 7-5 pre-flop and received a call from Jaffee, who held pocket eights. The flop of A-Q-5 paired Reed, but a running 6-4 sent him packing. Jaffee pushed his way to third in chips as a result, with Corkins, who had entered as a massive chip leader, continuing to pace the field. The WPT Southern Poker Championship marked Reed’s first WPT in the money finish.

Twenty-two hands later, Jaffee was eliminated in fourth place. Jaffee pushed with K-Q pre-flop over the top of a raise by Corkins, who came along with pocket jacks to set up a race. The flop came a benign 7-6-3, while a four on the turn left Jaffee calling for a king or queen on the river to stay alive. However, the final card was a nine, dashing his WPT Southern Poker Championship title hopes.

In a key pot three-handed, Corkins doubled up with A-J against Jerry Vanstrydonck’s pocket kings. The board of 9-8-8-5 was looking grim until Corkins spiked a three-outer on the river to stay alive and the pot once again made him the chip leader. Vanstrydonck could not withstand the blow to his stack and was ousted shortly thereafter. Vanstrydonck’s 9-8 was up against Corkins’ K-Q pre-flop and the board blanked out for both players. Corkins was a 3:2 chip leader entering heads-up play against Kantor.

Kantor battled to even after shoving on the river on a board reading 8-5-3-4-3. Corkins tanked before folding and Kantor turned over 10-6 for “nuclear squadoosh,” as the legendary ESPN announcer Norman Chad would say. Corkins then won a 1.7-million chip pot before the final hand of the WPT Southern Poker Championship occurred. Kantor pushed with K-10 and Corkins made the call with A-7. The flop came ace-high, preserving Corkins’ lead in the hand. By the river, Kantor was rooting for a club to remain in the hunt for the $739,000 first place prize, but the five of hearts hit to give Corkins his second WPT title. Here are the payouts from the final table in Biloxi:

1. Hoyt Corkins – $739,486
2. Jonathan Kantor – $366,643
3. Jerry Vanstrydonck – $196,829
4. Jared Jaffee – $135,079
5. James Reed – $106,134
6. Tyler Smith – $86,837

The WPT Southern Poker Championship will air as part of Season 8 on Fox Sports Net. Next up for the WPT is a cross-country flight to Los Angeles, site of the WPT Celebrity Invitational and L.A. Poker Classic. The tournaments kick off on February 20th and 26th, respectively, from the Commerce Casino.

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