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Previewing the 2011-2012 World Series of Poker Circuit Caesars Atlantic City

Brandon Croft

March 1 marked the start of the World Series of Poker Circuit’s latest stop, which is happening at Caesars Atlantic City. The 12-ring event stop, which runs through March 12, is among the most anticipated tournament series on the East Coast, as evidenced by attractive numbers in the preliminary events.

The stop will culminate in the $1,600 Main Event beginning on March 10, but there were a number of motivating stories that developed throughout the prelims, though none more interesting than that of Brandon Croft, a 31-year-old recreational player from Sumter, South Carolina.

Croft’s story began in Event #3: $555 No-Limit Hold’em, which attracted 253 players and created a prize pool of $122,705. Croft managed to navigate the field and captured his first WSOP Circuit ring, not to mention the $30,062 first-place prize.

A few days later in Event #5: $555 NLHE, which drew 263 entrants and created a prize pool of $127,555. Croft was at it again. He certainly had momentum and experience as the event was the same buy-in and nearly the same size as his previous win, so watching him capture the gold ring was basically déjà vu.

That win made Croft an early favorite, if not a virtual lock, to claim the Caesars Atlantic City Casino Championship, which would qualify him for the National Championship along with the eventual winner of the Main Event.

Here's a look at the WSOP Circuit Caesars Atlantic City events completed thus far:

Michael McGuinness, winner of Event #1
Michael McGuinness, winner of Event #1

WSOP Circuit Caesars Atlantic City Ring Event #1: No-Limit Hold’em

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool
$300+$45667$194,097
PlacePlayerHometownPrize
1Michael McGuinnessToms River, NJ$39,790
2Riley HiltonClintonville, WI$24,621
3Norman RodriguezNew York, NY$18,059
4David KimFlushing, NY$13,430
5Kevin MiltonStewartstown, PA$10,122
6Anthony ErekatLodi, NJ$7,731
7Matt IlesAtco, NJ$5,982
8Peter LuoNew York, NY$4,689
9John ErnstOakhurst, NJ$3,723

Sarah Dygert, winner of Event #2
Sarah Dygert, winner of Event #2

WSOP Circuit Caesars Atlantic City Ring Event #2: No-Limit Hold'em Re-Entry

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool
$300+$45887$258,121
PlacePlayerHometownPrize
1Sarah DygertAlfred, NY$50,333
2John DelrossiMantua, NJ$31,103
3Russell PittmanRoanoke, VA$22,910
4Michael GreenBaltimore, MD$17,098
5Rex ClinkscalesLas Vegas, NV$12,926
6Stephen ScalesRed Bank, NJ$9,899
7Chris HobackAlexandria, VA$7,676
8Caroline WengForest Hills, NY$6,027
9Yevgeniy SorkinRockville, MD$4,791

Brandon Croft, winner of Event #3
Brandon Croft, winner of Event #3

WSOP Circuit Caesars Atlantic City Event #3: No-Limit Hold’em

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool
$500+$55253$122,705
PlacePlayerHometownPrize
1Brandon CroftSumter, SC$30,062
2Joseph StuckeyHicksville, NY$18,575
3Michael MuscatelloSeaford, NY$13,420
4Samuel ElderfieldNanaimo, BC$9,876
5Jonathan SorscherLynbrook, NY$7,399
6James GovernaRichboro, PA$5,638
7Abraham FaroniPenn Valley, PA$4,368
8Alex RochaS. Setuaket, NY$3,439
9Brian AliBrooklyn, NY$2,751

Ali Navid, winner of Event #4
Ali Navid, winner of Event #4

WSOP Circuit Caesars Atlantic City Ring Event #4: No Limit Hold’em

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool
$300+$45495$144,045
PlacePlayerHometownPrize
1Ali NavidCentreville, VA$30,969
2Rexford McCaffreyMillville, NJ$19,147
3Todd BrennTallmadge, OH$13,988
4Brian GrzywaczewskiMontgomery, NY$10,969
5Edward ShadeHurricane, WV$7,799
6Robert CochraneHagerstown, MD$5,949
7Rajiv KhannaFloral Park, NY$4,602
8Chris ReslockAtlantic City, NJ$3,611
9Thomas SavitskyRandolph, NJ$2,873

Brandon Croft, winner of Event #5
Brandon Croft, winner of Event #5

WSOP Circuit Caesars Atlantic City Event #5: No-Limit Hold'em

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool
$500+$55263$127,555
PlacePlayerHometownPrize
1Brandon CroftSumter, SC$31,251
2Thomas RossBrooklyn, NY$19,309
3Timothy LittleCheverly, MD$13,951
4Stephen ScalesRed Bank, NJ$10,267
5Benjamin CarliAlliance, OH$7,692
6Jesse MercadoBrooklyn, NY$5,861
7Michael O’DeaMt. Airy$4,540
8Wesley IsmayTempe, AZ$3,575
9Heather Sue MercerNew York, NY$2,859

Keith Binder, winner of Event #6
Keith Binder, winner of Event #6

WSOP Circuit Caesars Atlantic City Ring Event #6: No-Limit Hold’em Six Handed

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool
$300+$45369$107,379
PlacePlayerHometownPrize
1Keith BinderHighland Mills, NY$23,623
2Dave FoxCoram, NY$14,598
3Dejuante AlexanderHouston, TX$10,667
4Arkadiy TsinisLas Vegas, NV$7,920
5Rusian DykshteynBrooklyn, NY$5,972
6Anthony PesceSaint James, NY$4,571

Abraham Araya, winner of Event #7
Abraham Araya, winner of Event #7

WSOP Circuit Caesars Atlantic City Ring Event #7: No-Limit Hold’em

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool
$500+$55286$138,710
PlacePlayerHometownPrize
1Abraham ArayaCarrollton, TX$33,290
2Wooyang LinMorristown, NJ$20,573
3Michael WolfStaten Island, NY$14,928
4Amanda MusumeciPhiladelphia, PA$11,014
5Joseph DesantoNew York, NY$8,260
6Austen JohnsonWoodsboro, MD$6,295
7Justin TurnerManassas, VA$4,871
8Christopher HalkitisSt. Louis, MO$3,828
9Leo WhittLouisville, KY$3,054

David Key, winner of Event #8
David Key, winner of Event #8

WSOP Circuit Caesars Atlantic City Ring Event #8: Limit Omaha Eight or Better

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool
$300+$45160$46,560
PlacePlayerHometownPrize
1David KeyBaton Rouge, LA$12,571
2Chris ReslockAtlantic City, NJ$7,769
3Dale BeaudoinBar Harbor, ME$5,592
4Gregory LawMount Laurel, NJ$4,099
5James TothLeesburg, VA$3,057
6Robert GrayAtlantic City, NJ$2,320
7Zachary KramerSyosset, NY$1,791
8Charles LevinsohnMonmouth Beach, NJ$1,405
9Laurence GoldsteinCommack, NY$1,120

Daniel Blakeman, winner of Event #9
Daniel Blakeman, winner of Event #9

WSOP Circuit Caesars Atlantic City Ring Event #9 No-Limit Hold’em

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool
$1,000+$80145$140,650
PlacePlayerHometownPrize
1Daniel BlakemanHouston, TX$39,382
2Josh BrikisPittsburgh, PA$24,341
3Todd BrickScarsdale, NY$17,570
4Sean MillerRockville, MD$12,910
5Arkadiy TsinisLas Vegas, NV$9,651
6Oliver JenkinsFort Lauderdale, FL$3,557
7Bradley WhitesideLittle Orleans, MD$5,672
8Eracles PanayiotouToms River, NJ$4,456
9Anthony IbrahimAnnadale, VA$3,557

With several events yet to be determined, the race for the WSOP Circuit Caesars Atlantic City Casino Champion is undecided. Whoever captures that title, along with the eventual winner of the Main Event, will automatically qualify for the Second Annual $1 Million National Championship. That event is limited to 100 players, and so far only a handful of players have qualified:

National Championship Qualifiers

PlayerQualified
David NicholsonHorseshoe Bossier City Main Event Winner
Chris GamboaHorseshoe Bossier City Casino Champion
Robert CastoireHorseshoe Southern Indiana Main Event Winner
Mark “Pegasus” SmithHorseshoe Southern Indiana Casino Champion
Bob ChowHorseshoe Hammond Main Event Winner
Drazen IlichHorseshoe Hammond Casino Champion
Gene DudekIP Biloxi Casino Champion
Jerry MonroeIP Biloxi Main Event Winner
Michael RosenbachLake Tahoe Casino Champ
Bryan SchultzLake Tahoe Main Event Champion
Tuan PhanHarrah’s AC Main Event Winner
Hao LeHarrah’s AC Casino Champ
Freddy DeebBicycle Casino Main Event Winner
Huy QuachBicycle Casino Champ
Raja KattamuriChoctaw Casino Champ
Abraham ArayaChoctaw Main Event Champion
Gary BoldenCaesars Palace Casino Champ
Kevin CalenzoCaesars Palace Main Event Winner
Matthew WeberHarrah’s Tunica Casino Champ
Kurt JewellHarrah’s Tunica Main Event Winner
Charles FlettPalm Beach Casino Champ
James HarndenPalm Beach Main Event Winner

In addition to the qualifiers, players who earn enough points on the National Leaderboard will be able to buy-in to the National Championship:

WSOPC National Leaderboard Top Ten*

PlayerPointsRingsCashedEarnings
David Clark16517$56,209
Mark “P0ker H0” Kroon137.516$61,156
Chris Parsons132.506$72,849
Russell Ivy13007$72,703
Benjamin Kramer13018$58,600
Michael Cooper13007$55,092
Roman Valerstein12505$116,282
Chris Tryba12507$31,673
Daniel Lowery122.506$240,522
Matthew Chang122.517$25,468

*Leading up to the WSOP Circuit Caesars Atlantic City stop.

Don’t miss your chance to qualify for the National Championship. There are still plenty of opportunities to play, including any of the remaining stops on the WSOP Circuit schedule.

Remaining 2011-2012 WSOPC Schedule

EventLocationDates
Circuit EventHarrah’s RinconMarch 15 - 26, 2012
Circuit EventHorseshoe Council BluffsMarch 29 - April 9, 2012
Circuit EventHarrah’s St. LouisApril 12 - 23, 2012
Circuit EventHarrah’s ChesterApril 26 - May 7, 2012
Circuit EventHarrah’s New OrleansMay 10 - 21, 2012

*Photos courtesy of Eric Harkins and ImageMasters.

Get all the latest PokerNews updates on your social media outlets. Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook today! In the meantime, see who qualifies for the National Championship this week by following our Live Reporting Team’s coverage from the Caesars Atlantic City.

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