The 2011-2012 World Series of Poker Circuit begins in just a few days in Bossier City, Louisiana, for the first of 16 stops. Last season, the WSOP Circuit was completely revamped and the results were great with more players, more events, new stops and plenty of new faces. With the new season right around the corner, here’s a look at the top stories from last season.
10. Johnson conquers Caesars Las Vegas final table in under three hours – One of the larger and more elite Main Events of the season was Caesars Las Vegas. Chris Johnson entered the final table with the chip lead and made short work of everyone in his path. The final table was ten-handed and Johnson won in under three hours.
9. First Regional Championship delivers – The third stop of the season, Horseshoe Hammond, was the first of four Regional Championship events. Plenty of notables were in action and the field grew to 226 players, all paying the $10,000 buy-in. The final table held plenty of big names including Brandon Adams, Shannon Shorr, David Sands and Bernard Lee. James Anderson went on to win the event for $525,449.
8. Choctaw Tops 800 – In January, the WSOP Circuit stopped at the Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant, Oklahoma. The Main Event brought 808 entrants. Huy Nguyen outlasted the field and took home $232,706.
7. Waxman on fire in Atlantic City. Matt Waxman has been a tournament regular for a few years. He holds nearly $1 million in live tournament earnings and was able to notch the largest win of his career by taking down the Harrah’s Atlantic City Main Event. Just a few days later, Waxman went on to finish 10th in the $10,000 Regional Championship at the same stop.
6. Hammond stop nears 900 entrants. The Horseshoe Hammond stop was the third of the season and the $1,600 Main Event numbers shot through the roof. When registration closed, the event had attracted a whopping 872 players. The biggest beneficiary was Kurt Jewell, who took down the event and walked away with the $242,909 first-place prize.
5. Calenzo and Moore final-table first two stops. Both Kevin Calenzo and Charles “Woody” Moore made the final table of the first two stops — Horseshoe Council Bluffs and Hoseshoe Southern Indiana. Calenzo finished ninth and second, respectively, while Moore finished fifth at the first one and then defeated Calenzo heads up at the second. Calenzo tried to make it three for three when he ran very deep at the third stop in Hammond, but fell short of the final table in 21st place.
4. Bell and Eslami net big wins. Long-time pros, Chris Bell and Ali Eslami both won Regional Championship events during the 2010-2011 season. Bell won in Atlantic City for $358,295 and Eslami won in Rincon for $282,242. Eslami’s win was the first big tournament win of his career.
3. 19-year-old Riordan wins in Palm Beach. John Riordan became the first player under the age of 21 to win a WSOP Circuit gold ring after conquering the newly added Palm Beach stop. Riordan earned $210,180 for his victory.
2. Cartwright wins three gold rings – Last season, Kyle Cartwright took the WSOP Circuit by storm. He claimed three gold rings on the tour, including a Main Event win at the St. Louis stop for $142,290. His other two rings came at the same stop in Tunica, where he won Event #20 $345 No-Limit Hold’em for $25,678 and Event #44 $345 No-Limit Hold’em for $31,111.
1. Barnhart wins Tunica Main Event and National Championship. One hundred players qualified for the $1,000,000 National Championship last season and a good amount of them were big names, but none of those big names walked away with the bracelet. Sam Barnhart was the player who won the National Championship and $300,000 in prize money. Barnhart earned his way into the National Championship by winning the Harrah’s Tunica Main Event for $148,612, making for quite a year on the tour.
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