August 22, 2012 06:34 ET

Inaugural 31-Event Card Player Poker Tour Busts All Guarantees, Exceeds Expectations

Choctaw Casino Resort, Durant, Oklahoma Sees 6,261 Entrants Play Poker Over 12-Days

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA--(Marketwire - Aug. 22, 2012) -

Editors Note: There is a photo accompanying this press release.

In late July, the inaugural stop on the Card Player Poker Tour kicked off at the Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant, Oklahoma and by all accounts, it was a remarkable success. The 12-day series drew huge crowds and paid out seven figures in total prize money.

A Successful Series

There were 31 different tournaments that took place at the Center Stage room at Choctaw, awarding a total of $1,841,411. An incredible 6,261 entrants took part in the series, allowing the property to surpass each and every posted guarantee. The tournaments were so successful, that the on-site hotel was actually sold out of rooms for most of the series.

"The guarantees bring the players out," said Choctaw Director of Poker Operations Ken Lambert. "The players know that if the casino is willing to put a lot of money on the line, it makes it worth heading out there and perhaps even taking an extra day off of work. The players were promised big money and we delivered."

The first event of the series proved to be the most popular, drawing 936 entrants for the $235 tournament, creating a prize pool of $181,584 and nearly doubling the posted $100,000 guarantee.

The CPPT series featured a mix of affordable buy-in no-limit hold'em, Omaha eight-or-better and pot-limit Omaha tournaments that ran each day and night alongside round-the-clock satellites that fed players into the bigger buy-in events.

The Main Event Draws 800 Players

The $1,000 main event alone, which boasted a $500,000 guarantee, shattered expectations by attracting a field of 800, becoming the second largest tournament ever held on the property. A total of 81 players were paid at least $1,892 from the $760,000 overall prize pool.

"It's more than we expected, more than we could have asked for," said Tournament Director Bill Bruce. "The entire series has been great. The players are happy and everyone has been impressed with the turnout."

The main event featured a number of notable players, such as Card Player's own Barry Shulman, as well as Adam Geyer, Jimmy Tran, Grant Hinkle, Seneca Easley, A.P. Phahurat, Richard Lee, Allyn Jaffrey Shulman and Clint Tolbert.

Perhaps the most notable finisher was NBA point guard Eric Maynor, who plays for the local Oklahoma City Thunder. Maynor admitted that he was a relative newcomer to the game, but that didn't stop him from finishing in 40th place, good for $2,736. Other notable finishes included T.J. Cloutier (16th), Gregg Merkow (34th), Dennis Phillips (66th) and Berry Johnston (71st).

The main event final table was broadcasted live on to thousands of onlookers. In the end, it was poker pro Maxx Dansky who took home the title, after tearing through his formidable opponents with relative ease.

A Look At The Main Event Winner

Dansky was on his way back home to Nashville when he decided to stop off for some poker at the Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant, Oklahoma. After four days of battling it out in the $1,000 main event, the 25-year-old poker pro emerged victorious, taking home the $152,008 payday.

Dansky spent his summer and the better part of the last year, trying to make it work as a live player in Las Vegas. After several close calls, he and some buddies decided to make a drastic move so that they could continue playing online poker.

Though he's happy to be getting back on the virtual felt, Dansky said that his win in the live arena gave him the ultimate sense of satisfaction.

"There were just so many opportunities that I had in the last few months," he said. "I'm just happy that everything went my way this time and I can let go of all that other frustration."

Dansky defeated Miguel Hernandez during a quick heads-up match. Hernandez, a 28-year-old barber from nearby Dallas, Texas, earned $93,708 for his runner-up finish.

The Main Event Final Table Results

1. Maxx Dansky -- $152,008
2. Miguel Hernandez -- $93,708
3. Michael Newport -- $69,084
4. Carlos Valdivieso -- $51,490
5. Keith Carter -- $38,889
6. Jason Brewer -- $29,754
7. Travis Riffle -- $23,051
8. Ricky Green -- $18,080
9. Tana Karnchanakphan -- $14,356

Note to editors:

If you would like more information about the Card Player Poker Tour or would like to make your casino property the next stop on tour, call or email Trey Aldridge. For interview and media requests, please email or call Julio Rodriguez.

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