For Lytle Allen of Nashville, the four-hour drive to Tunica, Mississippi turned out to be a trip
well worth taking. That’s because on Monday Allen topped a 491-entry field to win the World
Series of Poker Circuit Tunica Main Event and $144,313 first prize.
Allen beat stacked final table for first Circuit ring
“It means a lot to me,” Allen told WSOP.com after the win. “I’ve been working hard to get to this
point, and to beat the field that I was playing with [and] the final six… they were tough, really
good players, so I feel really good about it.”
The victory in the $1,700 buy-in event earned Allen his first WSOP Circuit ring and the largest
portion of the tournament’s $743,865 prize pool. As Allen notes, he had to contend with some
talented competition among those who made the third and final day.
Five-time WSOP Circuit ring winner Scott Stewart was the first to fall in sixth, followed by
James Todd Osborne of Ooltewah, Tennessee in fifth and another multiple ring winner in
fourth, two-time champ Matthew Higgins.
That left two World Series of Poker bracelet winners for Allen to contend with, Bryan Piccioli
and fellow Tennessean Kyle Cartwright. Hailing from Bartlett, Cartwright was attempting to
defend his title after having won the same WSOP Circuit Tunica Main Event one year ago.
Stewart and Piccioli on a WSOP hot streak
Both Piccioli and Stewart made their second-straight WSOP Circuit Main Event final tables,
having finished ninth and fourth, respectively, at the WSOP Circuit Thunder Valley Main
Event in Lincoln, California just a week before. Those two have made a habit of making deep
runs together, most notably at the WSOP Main Event in 2017 when Piccioli finished sixth and
The tournament culminated in dramatic fashion as Allen watched Piccioli knock out Cartwright
in third, then on the very first hand of heads-up play Allen busted Piccioli to win the title.
It was a satisfying finish for Allen who had started the final day fifth out of sixth in chips. After
doubling up with pocket aces on the day’s first hand, Allen had pocket kings on the last one to
provide a perfect bookend to a fantastic finale.
Allen plans to log plenty of poker hours before the 2020 WSOP
“My strategy was to come in and just play my game,” said Allen. “I figured I was the underdog,
so I just wanted to get it in with some good cards and they held up. Everything just worked out
for me… everything was going my way.”
The cash pushed Allen’s career tournament earnings close to $650,000 and was his second-
largest score ever, only bested by a $161,838 score for finish third in the WSOP Circuit
Hammond Main Event in 2015.
For the next few months, Allen says his plan is to continue playing events nearby, although he
also foresees a longer poker-related trip in his future.
“Definitely going to be in Vegas for the summer,” he said. “But I’ll try to stay in this area where I
can drive to events.”
The win also earns Allen a seat in the $1 million Global Casino Championship in August 2020,
conveniently located for him in nearby at Harrah’s Cherokee just over the North Carolina
Final table results:
1st: Lytle Allen – $144,313
2nd: Bryan Piccioli – $89,191
3rd: Kyle Cartwright – $65,574
4th: Matthew Higgins – $48,840
5th: James Todd Osborne – $36,857
6th: Scott Stewart – $28,187
7th: Blake Barousse – $21,849
8th: Greg Jennings – $17,170
9th: Hyun Lee – $13,681