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Previewing the 2011-2012 World Series of Poker Circuit Harrah's Tunica

Matthew Weber

For the last week, the World Series of Poker Circuit has called Harrah’s Tunica home. The 12-event stop kicked off on Feb. 2 and culminates with the Main Event, which kicked off on Saturday, Feb 11. Of course the PokerNews Live Reporting Team will be providing coverage of the Main Event, but we thought we’d set the stage with a look back at the preliminary events.

As many of you know, Tunica suffered a devastating flood last spring and all nine casinos temporarily shut down because over eight feet of water crept through the properties. Harrah’s Tunica was one of the hardest hit, but bounced back admirably. The latest WSOP Circuit is proof of this, as numbers have surpassed expectations in every event, including the opening event which drew an startling 1,128 players. That event was won by Chip Ervin of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, who took home $59,660 for his efforts.

Another impressive victory came a few days later when 24-year-old Matthew Weber of Sacramento, California, outlasted 359 players in Event #4: $345 No-Limit Hold’em to capture the $23,719 first-place prize. He eliminated poker veteran “Captain” Tom Franklin in eighth place when his pocket tens held against Franklin's {A-Clubs}{J-Diamonds}. Weber also eliminated Richard Ricardo, Jesse Jackson, and Steve Melton on his way to victory. In fact, Weber eliminated seven of his eight opponents at the final table. A remarkable feat indeed.

Here's a look at the WSOP Circuit Tunica events that have been completed thus far:

WSOP Circuit Harrah’s Tunica Ring Event #1: No-Limit Hold’em Re-Entry

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool
1Chip ErvinTuscaloosa, AL$59,660
2Willie LawrenceTallahassee, FL$36,848
3Eddie CarrollDayton, OH$27,381
4Travis EllerCookeville, TN$20,595
5AP PhahuratRogers, AR$15,681
6Thomas MosierBloomington, IN$12,082
7Terry KimOcean Springs, MS$9,418
8Rodney ShowsHattiesburg, MS$7,424
9Jesse MenleyHillsboro, MO$5,917

WSOP Circuit Harrah’s Tunica Ring Event #2: No-Limit Hold'em

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool
1Paul SokoloffToronto, ON$41,544
2Terry GriffithMagnolia, AR$25,705
3Jerry ArdMonticello, MS$18,854
4Gary LambertQuincy, IL$14,021
5Andrew BucaricBrentwood, TN$10,568
6Jeffrey OvertonHamilton, AL$8,071
7Bradford AlbrinckCincinnati, OH$6,245
8Jayaram KottimugalurColumbus, IN$4,896
9Randy RitterbushForsyth, MO$3,887

WSOP Circuit Harrah’s Tunica Event #3: No-Limit Hold’em

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool
1Andrew McilvainBrentwood, TN$27,552
2Justice LitleReno, NV$17,028
3Caufman TalleyLafayette, LA$12,393
4Patricia TillAvon, IN$9,165
5Chris SebenyBloomington, IL$6,884
6Richard HollidayLawrenceville, GA$5,251
7Michael SchneiderCovington, GA$4,066
8Houston WhiteMadison, TN$3,196
9Michael KaczmarekConcord, NC$2,549

WSOP Circuit Harrah’s Tunica Ring Event #4: No-Limit Hold’em

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool
1Matthew WeberSacramento, CA$23,719
2Steven WilliamsLittle Rock, AR$14,662
3Steven MeltonNoble, OK$10,697
4William BuckmasterAtlanta, GA$7,934
5Jesse JacksonCathage, NC$5,977
6George PerkinsKennesaw, GA$4,571
7Richard RicardoNA$3,547
8Tom FranklinGulfport, MS$2,792
9Brandon HortonAnderson, SC$2,229

WSOP Circuit Harrah’s Tunica Event #5: No-Limit Hold'em

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool
1Kasey StanfordOzark, MO$24,929
2Jennifer ParrishAlma, AR$15,404
3Jospeh HebdaSaint John, IN$11,256
4Michael KellyPainesville, OH$8,357
5Michael HiblerSpringfield, MO$6,302
6Danny RoutteLake Ozark, MO$4,823
7Russell IvyCarrizo Springs, TX$3,746
8Ronnie BoneHazelwood, MO$2,950
9Jonathan DahlbergSaint Charles, MO$2,357

WSOP Circuit Harrah’s Tunica Ring Event #6: No-Limit Hold’em Six Handed

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool
1Michael UrbaniakO Fallon, MO$22,714
2Benjamin KramerTerre Haute, IN$28,101
3Matthew WeberSacramento, CA$11,256
4William PhillipsMetairie, LA$7,598
5Frank SmithHazel Green, AL$6,302
6Charlie DawsonOwensboro, KY$4,823
7Jason IvieSt. Louis, MO$3,397
8Tim ColemanNashville, TN$2,674
9Christopher HewittBelleville, IL$2,135

WSOP Circuit Harrah’s Tunica Ring Event #7: No-Limit Hold’em

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool
1Andrew SmithSt. Louis, MO$27,426
2Steve MeltonNoble, OK$16,947
3Chris AshleyMartinez, GA$12,383
4David ClarkDallas, TX$9,194
5Drew DumanskiRichardson, TX$6,933
6Floyd ArnoldMarietta, GA$5,306
7Omar ZazayDallas, TX$4,121
8Tom LuceSharpsville, IN$3,246
9Joseph TysonChesterfield, VA$2,593

With several events yet to be determined, the race for the WSOP Harrah’s Tunica 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

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

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*

David Clark16517$56,209
Russell Ivy13007$72,703
Benjamin Kramer127.517$58,063
Daniel Lowery12005$238,921
Alexandru Masek117.515$125,015
Jeremy Burleson117.523$48,474
Robert Newman11514$45,619
Jennifer Parrish11509$38,531
Matthew Chang112.516$23,149
Justin Gardenhire11014$120,807

*Leading up to the WSOP Circuit Harrah’s Tunica 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

Circuit EventPalm Beach Kennel ClubFeb. 16 - 27, 2012
Circuit EventCaesars Atlantic CityMarch 1 - 12, 2012
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

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 Harrah’s Tunica.

*Photo courtesy of Eric Harkins and ImageMasters.

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