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

Dean Buchanan

Harrah’s Rincon is one of the most popular World Series of Poker Circuit stops each and every year. The California poker crowd is apt to make the trip to the 662-room property north of San Diego, and Las Vegas locals often make the four-hour drive.

This year, Rincon marked the 14th out of 17 stops of the 2011-2012 World Series of Poker Circuit season and began on March 15. With 12 rings up for grabs and two spots being awarded to the $1 million WSOP Circuit National Championship (July 6 through 7 with the final table being played out July 11), not to mention the 100 guaranteed seats reserved for the top 100 point earners on the Circuit, Rincon was generating a lot of excitement, especially during Event #2: $565 No-Limit Hold’em.

That event drew 155 players and created a prize pool of $75,175, but it wasn’t until the last day of play, which began with 12 players, that all eyes turned to Alexandru Masek, a local part-time poker player from San Diego who was making a push for the final table. The four-time WSOP Circuit ring winner was looking to capture his record-tying fifth ring. Masek, a 27-year-old law school graduate, made the unofficial final table of ten with an above-average count, but the deck soon turned against him and he was eliminated in tenth place.

One man who did have some luck was Dean Buchanan, a 22-year-old professional poker player from Kirkland, Washington. The young pro navigated the final table all the way down to heads-up play where he ran into John Piotrowski. Their battle lasted three hours, but when the final hand fell, Buchanan ended up with all the chips and took home $19,934.

Here's a look at the WSOP Circuit Harrah’s Rincon events completed thus far:

Randy Paquio, winner of Event #1
Randy Paquio, winner of Event #1

WSOP Circuit Harrah’s Rincon Ring Event #1: No-Limit Hold’em

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool
$300+$55331$96,321
PlacePlayerHometownPrize
1Randy PaquioSan Diego, CA$21,844
2Rex ClinkscalesLas Vegas, NV$13,504
3Randy ReyesGardena, CA$9,851
4Andrew SapiroAlamo, CA$7,307
5Steve CrockettCosta Mesa, CA$5,505
6Jason JacinthoSan Diego, CA$4,210
7Christopher DanielTempe, AZ$3,267
8Dan NatarelliSimi Valley, CA$2,572
9Mark AustriaMoreno Valley, CA$2,053

Dean Buchanan, winner of Event #2
Dean Buchanan, winner of Event #2

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

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool
$500+$65155$75,175
PlacePlayerHometownPrize
1Dean BuchananKirkland, WA$19,934
2John PiotrowskiTucson, AZ$12,318
3Ronald PhippsValencia, CA$8,867
4Mohammad SotoudehSan Diego, CA$6,499
5Richard LanesEl Cajon, CA$4,847
6Chris BackVancouver, BC$3,679
7Tom LeachThousand Oaks, CA$2,839
8Stuart PfeiferLos Angeles, CA$2,227
9Jason DeWittDecatur, GA$1,776

Patrick Schulze, winner of Event #3
Patrick Schulze, winner of Event #3

WSOP Circuit Harrah’s Rincon Event #3: H.O.R.S.E.

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool
$300+$55155$75,175
PlacePlayerHometownPrize
1Patrick SchulzeGlendora, CA$8,324
2Sirous BaghchehsaraieCerritos, CA$5,145
3Roderick PahlMissoula, MT$3,664
4Justin DowningSan Diego, CA$2,661
5Brent CarterOak Park, IL$1,971
6Kenneth MoreySan Diego, CA$1,488
7Steven PineaultPoway, CA$1,145
8Matthew ArdoSan Diego, CA$897
9Brian AliBrooklyn, NY$2,751

Dan Natarelli, winner of Event #4
Dan Natarelli, winner of Event #4

WSOP Circuit Harrah’s Rincon Ring Event #4: No-Limit Hold’em Re-Entry

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool
$300+$55487$141,717
PlacePlayerHometownPrize
1Dan NatarelliSimi Valley, CA$30,182
2David ClarkDallas, TX$18,659
3Grant FosterSan Diego, CA$13,631
4Michael DegrootMarina, CA$10,105
5Rene LunaTepic, Mexico$7,599
6Sean BursonHidden Valley Lake, CA$5,797
7Adrian LopezSylmar, CA$4,485
8Christopher ShadronSan Diego, CA$3,519
9Connor CronkhiteErie, PA$2,800

Delbert Ramos, winner of Event #5
Delbert Ramos, winner of Event #5

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

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool
$300+$55159$46,269
PlacePlayerHometownPrize
1Delbert RamosMontebello, CA$12,130
2Katrina LimLas Vegas, NV$7,495
3Josh RobertsJackson, CA$5,395
4George HanoldCosta Mesa, CA$3,954
5Jack ConverseYorba Linda, CA$2,949
6James PartickaChula Vista, CA$2,238
7John LeonMiddletown, DE$1,728
8Alex RamosSan Diego, CA$1,355
9Eddy SabatLancaster, CA$1,081

Jonas Mackoff, winner of Event #6
Jonas Mackoff, winner of Event #6

WSOP Circuit Harrah’s Rincon Ring Event #6: No-Limit Hold’em

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool
$300+$55197$57,327
PlacePlayerHometownPrize
1Jonas MackoffVancouver, BC$14,555
2Scott BelanderEl Cajon, CA$8,990
3Patrick WilmesMoreno Valley, CA$6,492
4Everett CarltonSt. Paul, MN$4,768
5Jeffrey CoddingtonConcord, CA$3,562
6Gary BousquetSan Diego, CA$2,706
7Alan HoSan Diego, CA$2,091
8Michael SouzaSan Diego, CA$1,642
9Habib KhanisSan Diego, CA$1,310

Josh Evans, winner of Event #7
Josh Evans, winner of Event #7

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

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool
$300+$55164$47,724
PlacePlayerHometownPrize
1Joshua EvansPlano, TX$12,519
2Matthew LeweyAlton, IL$7,738
3Bryan DevonshireHenderson, NV$5,570
4Joshua SaewitzLakeside, CA$4,082
5Tom BrabandLas Vegas, NV$3,045
6Shamus CreanLa Jolla, CA$2,311
7Robert WilkinsonEl Segundo, CA$1,784
8Wade HamiltonJamul, CA$1,399
9Katie DozierLas Vegas, NV$1,116

Corey Cutrell, winner of Event 8
Corey Cutrell, winner of Event 8

WSOP Circuit Harrah’s Rincon Ring Event #8: No-Limit Hold’em

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool
$500+$65139$67,415
PlacePlayerHometownPrize
1Corey CutrellSeattle, WA$18,500
2William BermanCarlsbad, CA$11,433
3Branden RuppLas Vegas, NV$8,253
4Andrew RowlandSan Diego, CA$6,064
5John LeeSuwanee, GA$4,533
6Jonas MackoffVancouver, BC$3,447
7Brian MintzCloverdale, CA$2,664
8Chris ParsonsMentor, OH$2,093
9Leroy SpiresLas Cruces, NM$1,671

John C. Harris, winner of Event #9
John C. Harris, winner of Event #9

WSOP Circuit Harrah’s Rincon Ring Event #9: No-Limit Hold’em

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool
$300+$55220$64,020
PlacePlayerHometownPrize
1John HarrisDallas, TX$16,004
2Christopher CroninGilbert, AZ$9,892
3Stephen BuellGreen Bay, WI$7,200
4Casey StewartCanyon Country, CA$5,325
5Alexandru MasekSan Diego, CA$3,999
6Emmanuel DesmaraisMontreal QB$3,051
7Dale DacruzWarwick, RI$2,362
8Anthony DitomasoEl Cajon, CA$1,857
9Marcnelson DimlaCorona, CA$1,481

Brandon Cantu, winner of Event #10
Brandon Cantu, winner of Event #10

WSOP Circuit Harrah’s Rincon Ring Event #10: No-Limit Hold’em

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool
$1,000+$9087$84,730
PlacePlayerHometownPrize
1Brandon CantuLas Vegas, NV$27,004
2Rocky BernardoVienna, VA$16,690
3Ashley JarunponSacramento, CA$11,683
4Gavin SmithGuelph, ON$8,510
5Dan CasettaLos Gatos, CA$6,261
6Isaac HagerlingChicago, IL$4,677
7Andrew YehLas Vegas, NV$3,751
8Matthew CrooksSan Francisco, CA$3,127
9Gavin GriffinLadera Ranch, CA$2,687

With several events yet to be determined, the race for the WSOP Circuit Harrah’s Rincon 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
Tuan PhanHarrah’s AC Main Event Winner
Hao LeHarrah’s AC Casino Champ

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 Clark202.518$74,868
Mark “P0ker H0” Kroon137.516$61,156
Rex Clinkscales13509$39,780
Daniel Blakeman132.515$139,308
Chris Parsons132.506$72,849
Russell Ivy13007$72,703
Benjamin Kramer13018$58,600
Michael Cooper13007$55,092
Alexandru Masek127.516$126,454
Roman Valerstein12505$116,282

*Leading up to the WSOP Circuit Harrah’s Rincon 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 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 Harrah’s Rincon.

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