Minnesota man wins WSOPC Harrah's Rincon

Michael Pickett
Michael Pickett

Michael "Mickey" Pickett, a 23-year-old from Little Canada, Minn., is the latest winner of a main even ton the World Series of Poker Circuit.

The newly turned pro took down the main event of the WSOPC Harrah's Rincon Thursday to win more than $200,000. To get there, he outlasted a field of 148 players and then came from behind at the final table, which included pros Michael Banducci, Allen Kessler, Alex Jacob, Vanessa Rousso, Travis Erdman, and Chad Brown.

The players to make it to the final nine were:

  • Gavin Smith
  • David Peters
  • Damien "Damo" Oborne
  • Jon Eaton
  • Kenny Bedoya
  • Mickey Pickett
  • Edward Sabat
  • Cristian Avendano
  • Lee Watkinson


About 30 minutes into the final table, the first casualty headed to the rail. Jon Eaton was the short-stack coming in and he ended up moving all-in with A-J up against David Peters with K-J.

However, the board came Q-8-5-T-A to give Peters the straight and Eaton the boot.

Next out was Damien Oborne, who'd traveled from Australia to watch the Super Bowl and ended up trying his hand in the WSOPC event. Unlike his favorite team, the Giants, he couldn't pull off the win though.

He was all-in with A-5 against Peters' K-T. A ten hit the flop, and Oborne couldn't catch anything on the turn or river to improve.

Gold bracelet winner Lee Watkinson was next on the chopping block. From the cutoff position, Watkinson moved all-in with pocket fours with Gavin Smith insta-calling with pocket tens. His higher pair held up to send Watkinson packing in seventh place.

Smith didn't last much longer after that though. He ended up going all-in with Q-T and was called by Kenny Bedoya, who was holding A-J. Smith couldn't improve and finished in sixth, one place better than his seventh-place finish in the same event last year.

Fifth place went to Christian Avendano about three hours into final-table play. He moved all-in with pocket sevens to run into Bedoya's pocket eights.

Despite taking out Smith and then Avendano, Bedoya met his match to end up in fourth place. Bedoya was holding A-Q on a board showing Q-7-6-5. He bet, Mickey Picket raised, and Bedoya went all-in.

Pickett called, revealing 8-4 for a straight, leaving Bedoya drawing dead.

A few hands later, Edward Sabat followed Bedoya to the rail. He moved all-in from the big blind with A-9, and Peters called with pocket eights. Neither player improved when the board played out, leaving Sabat out in third.

Then there were two - Pickett and Peter - to battle for the title. The played for 90 minutes before it was finally decided.

The final hand was dealt when Peters had J-9 and was all-in as the board showed A-9-3-7-J. However, Pickett had T-8 to make a straight and take the title.

"When we were at nine-handed, I was trying to stay out of the way of the bigger stacks and concentrate on the middle of the field," Pickett explained when asked about his early strategy.

"(Then) I made an adjustment about midway through the finale table. I started to watch what the other players were doing and began to play off of them."

Pickett said he plans to play in a few major tournaments in the coming months. But he will also prepare himself emotionally and financially for the biggest prize, which will come later this year at the Rio in Las Vegas.

"I love playing at these Harrah's Circuit events. They are really great for poker," Pickett said. "But every poker player's dream is to play in and win the World Series of Poker."

For a rundown of the final table and other days of the tournament, visit the PokerListings.com Live Tournaments section.

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