Charles Johnson Learned Poker at American Legion Wins WSOPC Harrah’s Cherokee for $272K

The 2017 World Series of Poker Circuit Harrah’s Cherokee wrapped up in North Carolina on Monday. The stop’s $1,675 Main Event drew 957 entrances to create a $1,435,500 prize pool. After three days of play, 37-year-old Charles Johnson came out to win $272,744, his first gold ring, and a chair to the season-ending International Casino Championship.

Four decades back, Charles Johnson didn’t know what there was a big blind. Now, he’s a World Series of Poker Circuit Main Event winner. (Image: WSOP)


A contact centre manager from Atlanta, Georgia, Charles Johnson has been playing poker for four decades, with his main game being charity championships in the American Legion, where he met players like Cody Bundle and Hamid Izadi, winners ring.

“Four decades back, I didn’t know what a big blind was,” he told WSOP officials after the win. “A year ago, I didn’t know what a three-bet was. I had no clue. I needed to go and read, study, and all that great stuff. All of us gotta come from somewhere.”

After bricking the events, Johnson won his chair and jumped into a satellite for the Main Event. He finished Day 2 with the chip lead and ended Day 1 in processors with 159,500.

Eventually Johnson made it all the way to heads-up play against James Moon, and things came to a head in Level 34 (100k/200k/30k). On Hand #184 of the final table, Moon limped the button holding he 9♠9♥ and then called when Johnson moved all in with J♠10♦.

It was a reverse, and Moon held on the Q♣8♠5♥ flop. The A♦ turn was of no consequence, but the 9♦ river was as Moon made a set, but that also gave Johnson his gutshot straight. $ 168,700 accumulated for finishing in 2nd place.

“There are a lot of people who have been doing this for more than I have and haven’t been here,” Johnson continued. “I feel blessed. Just like… just blessed.”

Before the win, Johnson had only three small WSOP cashes, the best being $3,066 for finishing 96th in last year’s WSOP Circuit Harrah’s Cherokee Main Event.

Back to the Grind

Johnson doesn’t plan on letting his quarter-million-dollar score change him much. He intends to return to work.

“I’ve seen a great deal of people win a lot of cash, and the next thing you know, they are broke. I’m not trying to do that,” he said. “I am not going to do anything stupid. I’m going to keep on doing what I am doing. Grinding.”

Others to money the Main Event included Robert Hankins (18th for $14,226), former champ Brad Albrinck (21st for $11,857), Keven Stammen (37th for $5,010), and Susan Faber (52nd for $4,507).

Other noteworthy ring-winners in events at the Cherokee included TJ Shulman in the $365 NLHE Opening Event for $102,398, Yoon Kim in $365 Pot-Limit Omaha for $20,089.

David Jackson also placed 26th in the Main Event in $ 365 NLHE 8-Handed for 7th and $ 1,041 for $ 42,046, which gave him enough points to win the Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Championship title, and won a $ 580 No-Limit Hold ’em. Meaning that he joins Johnson as the stop’s qualifiers for the WSOP Global Casino Championship, which for the last coupe years has been held at Harrah’s Cherokee.

The WSOP Circuit stop of the year is happening now at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles. Williams Collins topped a field of 125 entries in Event #1, $365 NLHE Bounty to win a ring plus $ 7,000.

Final Table Results
1 Charles Johnson (Norcross, GA) $272,744
2 James Moon (Wilmington, NC) $168,700
3 John Whitlow (Martinsville, VA) $124,515
4 Edwin Yancey (N/A) $93,164
5 Krzysztof Stybaniewicz (Lakewood, CO) $70,584
6 Nathan Gentry (Fairburn, GA) $54,147
7 David Jackson (Jacksonville, FL) $42,046
8 Ryan Jones (Burlington, NC) $33,060
9 Trung Pham (Temple, TX) $26,298

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