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Previewing the World Series of Poker Circuit Harrah's St. Louis

World Series of Poker Circuit

The World Series of Poker Circuit recently began its stop at Harrah’s St. Louis with the first of ten ring events. Action has been under way for a few days now, and the PokerNews Live Reporting Team will be making their way to the venue this weekend to provide coverage of the Main Event. As such, we thought it might be fun to take a look at the St. Louis stop and the WSOP-Circuit as a whole in a bit more detail.

First Ring Event of the Stop

The first ring event of the WSOP-Circuit in St. Louis got off to a bang with 843 players registering and subsequently setting the record for the largest poker tournament ever held in Missouri (beating last year’s first ring event that drew 675 players). Fittingly, St. Louis native and 2008 WSOP Main Event third-place finish, Dennis Phillips, was on hand to kick things off with the ceremonial “Shuffle up and deal!”

It took two days for the field to narrow down to the final table, with two-time WSOP-Circuit ring winner Eric Crain leading the way. Unfortunately, a bad run of cards ensured that he wouldn’t be adding a third, and he was eliminated in seventh place. In the end, Mark Pearse of Taylorville, Illinois, took down the title and $47,096 first-place prize. Pearse, a 41-year-old corrections officer and father of four, said simply, “This is unbelievable.”

His victory came on the first hand of heads-up play when he and Charlie Dawson were practically even in chips. The two got it in with Pearse holding {3-}{3-} against the {A-Hearts}{10-Hearts} of Dawson. The board ran out {5-Spades}{K-Spades}{4-Spades}{5-Hearts}{J-Clubs} and Pearse took the title and an early lead in the WSOP-Circuit St. Louis Casino Championship Leaderboard with 50 points.

WSOP-Circuit St. Louis Ring Event #1

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool
1Mark PearseTaylorville, IL$47,096
2Charlie DawsonOwensboro, KY$29,102
3Hugh DrummondVancouver, BC, Canada$21,436
4Phil StelzerColumbia, MO$15,998
5George CahillSaint Peters, MO$12,095
6Frank AustinDeForest, WI$9,262
7Eric CrainMurphysboro, IL$7,183
8Bryan TestinHawthorn Woods, GB$5,639
9Wyatt DenisFenton, MO$4,482

Notable Players in Ring Event #2

The second ring event of the stop drew 709 players and generated a prize pool of $202,906. Among the entrants were some surprise names such as Grammy award-winning hip-hop artist and avid poker player, Nelly, and 1972 WSOP Champion and poker legend, Amarillo Slim Preston. The 82-year-old, four-time WSOP bracelet winner said: “I got a call from one of my cowboys to come up and play last week. I wasn’t doing anything so I decided to come on up.”

Unfortunately, neither Nelly nor Preston could get much done and the ring eventually went to 23-year-old Dan Sztenderowicz of Philadelphia, Pa.

WSOP-Circuit St. Louis Ring Event #2

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool
1Dan SztenderowiczPhiladelphia, PA$41,589
2Mark KoelnSt. Louis, MO$25,739
3Paul JepsenRolla, MO$18,878
4Donald SwentikFort Worth, TX$14,039
5Ryan HillAcworth, GA$10,582
6Christopher FeinerDenver, CO$8,082
7Darrell SwentikVernon, TX$6,254
8Brett BalberSt. Louis, MO$4,902
9Jared SpeckmeyerO Fallon, MO$3,892

With two ring events down, eight remain on the schedule that culminates in the $1,500+$100 Main Event this weekend. The winner of that event, along with the player who earns the most points during the WSOP-Circuit stop in St. Louis, will become the two newest qualifiers for the National Championship $1 Million Freeroll that will take place at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas from May 27 to 29, 2011, and will be televised nationally on the Versus network. Thus far, 48 spots have been locked up for the National Championship. Here is a look at those who have already qualified and how they got there.

WSOP-C Qualified for National Championship

James AndersonMidwest Regional Champion50011$525,449
Chris BellEastern Regional Champion50011$358,295
Ali EslamiWest Regional Champion50011$282,242
Chris KlodnickiEastern Regional Final Table47502$253,757
Gabe PatgorskiMidwest Regional Final Table37501$324,770
Tim WestWest Regional Final Table37501$174,443
Bernard LeeMidwest Regional Final Table32002$242,950
Ketan PandyaEastern Regional Final Table30001$159,851
Duane BlanchardWest Regional Final Table30001$124,204
Curt KohlbergMidwest Regional Final Table27501$174,807
Micah RaskinEastern Regional Final Table27501$117,457
Steve BrecherWest Regional Final Table27501$90,223
Dwyte PilgrimWest Regional Final Table26503$81,466
Dave “Doc” SandsMidwest Regional Final Table25001$131,299
Todd TerryEastern Regional Final Table25001$87,808
David Peters (CA)West Regional Final Table25001$66,834
Shannon ShorrMidwest Regional Final Table22501$100,151
Andy FrankenbergerEastern Regional Final Table22501$66,758
Dana KellstromWest Regional Final Table22501$50,455
Charles “Woody” MooreS. Indiana Main Event Champ207.516$144,530
Matthew WaxmanHarrah’s AC Main Event Champ20012$144,029
Brandon AdamsMidwest Regional Final Table20001$77,556
Jason BurtEastern Regional Final Table20001$51,607
Kurt JewellHammond Main Event Champ192.515$272,172
Miller DaoWest Regional Final Table18002$33,532
Anthony HartmannMidwest Regional Final Table17501$60,952
Nicholas MitchellEastern Regional Final Table17501$40,538
Dylan WilkersonWest Regional Final Table17501$30,397
Mstr LynchRincon Casino Champion16023$151,897
Mark OwensMidwest Regional Final Table15001$48,615
Seth FischerEastern Regional Final Table15001$32,362
Ian WileyHammond Casino Champ132.514$64,360
Brian AliCaesars AC Main Event Champion13012$158,911
Seneca EasleyRincon Main Event Champion12514$76,509
Stanley QuinnLake Tahoe Main Event Champ11012$88,438
Samuel BarnhartTunica Main Event Champion107.513$151,722
Robert GeoratoCouncil Bluffs Casino Champ107.516$33,696
Kyle CartwrightTunica Casino Champion102.523$57,540
Huy NguyenChoctaw Main Event Champ10011$232,706
Travis LutesIP Biloxi Main Event Champ10011$95,253
Blair HinkleCouncil Bluffs Main Event Champ10011$88,555
Jesus CabreraHarrah’s AC Casino Champ9502$77,440
Bobbie TalbotIP Biloxi Casino Champ87.503$47,764
Mun NguyenCaesars AC Casino Champion87.512$33,831
Kevin ManleyS. Indiana Casino Champ87.512$25,498
Andrew BarberLake Tahoe Casino Champ77.503$19,527
Traci BrownChoctaw Casino Champ7501$143,426
Mike MortonPalm Beach Casino Champion7501$130,057

In addition to the qualifiers, 34 spots will be awarded to the corresponding point-earners on the National Leaderboard at the end of the season. Here is a look at that leaderboard:

WSOP-C National Leaderboard Top Ten*

Brett Schwertley17527$114,652
Kevin Calenzo17008$94,586
Jeremy Schwartz162.514$75,238
Shiva Dudani152.515$73,799
Mark Sykes12004$68,967
Will Souther12014$64,312
Drazen Ilich11513$66,646
Tom Franklin112.505$29,818
Nick Jivkov11013$88,305
Dennis Summers11013$39,317

*Points entering the WSOP-Circuit Harrah’s St. Louis stop.

Don’t miss your chance to qualify for the National Championship and your shot at the $1 million freeroll. There are still plenty of opportunities to play, including any of the remaining stops on the WSOP-Circuit schedule.

Remaining 2010/2011 WSOP-C Schedule

Circuit EventHarrah’s St. LouisMarch 31-April 13, 2011
Circuit EventCaesars Palace (Las Vegas)April 14-30, 2011
Circuit EventHarrah’s ChesterApril 27-May 9, 2011
Regional ChampionshipHarrah’s New OrleansMay 9-May 22, 2011

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

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