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Previewing the 2011-2012 World Series of Poker Circuit Harrah's St. Louis

Roy Riley

The 2011/2012 World Series of Poker Circuit is slowly winding down and will culminate in the National Championship this summer; however, before then there are a few stops to be held, including the one at Harrah’s St. Louis which began on April 12. That stop’s Main Event begins on Saturday, April 21, so we thought it’d be a good idea to recap the WSOP Circuit Harrah’s St. Louis action thus far, which included the largest tournament in Missouri history.

That tournament was actually Event #4: $355 No Limit Hold’em Re-Entry, which attracted 1,066 players, creating a prize pool of $310,206 and surpassed last year’s field of 843 entries. It took four long days for action to be completed, including a 15-hour final table.

It was there that Roy Riley squared off against Javier Zarco in heads-up action. The two started nearly even in chips, but Riley pulled out to a 3-to-1 chip lead in the first hour of heads-up play. It was at that point that Zarco, a 27-year-old student from Madrid, Spain studying in the U.S., moved all in with {6-Hearts}{4-Hearts} on an {8-Hearts}{7-Clubs}{4-Spades} flop. Riley made the call with a pair of sevens and held as the {Q-Spades} appeared on the turn followed by the {3-Clubs} on the river.

Zarco finished as runner-up for $35,327, while Riley became the champ and took down the $57,139 top prize. “I have the perfect life right now,” the 26-year-old physical education teacher and star of NBC’s “Ironman World Championship” reality show said after his win. “This was a great victory.”

“I am going to give it a shot,” Riley said of his poker career. “I planned to do this before I won this event. But now, I really think I am ready to take the next step . . . I love poker. I really love to play the game. But to me, it’s important to do something that’s really important and help other people. I love my job just as much.”

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

Shain Matthews, winner of Event #1
Shain Matthews, winner of Event #1

WSOP Circuit Harrah’s St. Louis Ring Event #1: No-Limit Hold’em

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool
$300+$55473$137,643
PlacePlayerHometownPrize
1Shain MatthewsMarysville, CA$29,306
2Scott SharpeLeawood, KS$18,117
3Patrick FoglemanSpringfield, IL$13,235
4John FaggTerre Haute, IN$9,812
5Michael SouzaSan Diego, CA$7,379
6Nikolas StoneAuburndale, WI$5,629
7James BeetzFriendswood, TX$4,355
8David FinchPeoria, IL$3,417
9Michael TrippletCharlotte, MI$2,719

Jerry Ard, winner of Event #2
Jerry Ard, winner of Event #2

WSOP Circuit Harrah’s St. Louis Event #2: No-Limit Hold'em

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool
$500+$65279$135,315
PlacePlayerHometownPrize
1Jerry ArdMonticello, MS$32,147
2William ArnoldTeutopolis, IL$19,870
3Ruth HagenTroy, IL$14,417
4Royce CohenBensalem, PA$10,637
5Dylan ThomassieChampaign, IL$7,978
6Kevin AzzaritiAntioch, TN$6,079
7James ChoquetteAustin, TX$4,705
8Richard HashMaryville, TN$3,697
9Gerald PaskertCaseyville, IL$2,950

Kevin Balsman, winner of Event #3
Kevin Balsman, winner of Event #3

WSOP Circuit Harrah’s St. Louis Event #3: Pot-Limit Omaha

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool
$300+$55150$43,650
PlacePlayerHometownPrize
1Kevin BalsmanSt. Louis, MO$11,844
2Cory SargentTerre Haute, IN$7,320
3Gordon BrownElizabeth, NJ$5,284
4Robert QuickBelton, MO$3,883
5William MatulaBallwin, MO$2,903
6Joseph HebdaSaint John, IN$2,207
7Nicholas AlumbaughIndianapolis, IN$1,706
8Ryan GentryLa Jolla, CA$1,340
9Gary MenardWellsville, MO$1,070

Roy Riley, winner of Event #4
Roy Riley, winner of Event #4

WSOP Circuit Harrah’s St. Louis Ring Event #4: No Limit Hold’em Re-entry

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool
$300+$551,066$310,206
PlacePlayerHometownPrize
1Roy RileySavoy, IL$57,139
2Javier ZarcoGodfrey, IL$35,327
3Tripp KirkAtlanta, GA$26,253
4Douglas CampbellHighland, IL$19,736
5Aaron WilsonBallwin, MO$15,007
6Matt LawrenceTulsa, OK$11,545
7William DiepenbrockColumbia, IL$8,985
8Bradley LipseyFranklin, TN$7,073
9Matthew ClerkDe Soto, IL$5,634

William Byrnes, winner of Event #5
William Byrnes, winner of Event #5

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

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool
$300+$55277$80,607
PlacePlayerHometownPrize
1William ByrnesSaint Charles, MO$19,025
2Christopher CampbellRomeoville, IL$11,755
3Aaron DuczakKamploops, BC, Canada$8,530
4Eli LoewenthalCarmel, IN$6,253
5Sean BursonHidden Valley Lake, CA$5,909
6Aaron MasseyChicago, IL$4,520
7Daniel MaassenFlorissant, MO$2,784
8Pradeep BuddharajuHouston, TX$2,187
9Karl PirkopfDenver, CO$1,745

Adam Laskey, winner of Event #6
Adam Laskey, winner of Event #6

WSOP Circuit Harrah’s St. Louis Ring Event #6: No-Limit Hold’em

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool
$300+$55355$103,305
PlacePlayerHometownPrize
1Adam LaskeyFargo, ND$23,449
2Chip ErvinTuscaloosa, AL$14,497
3Drew WoodkeOmaha, NE$10,576
4Charlie UsseryLees Summitt, MO$7,844
5Paul FehligSt. Louis, MO$5,909
6David HortonSaint Charles, MO$4,520
7Andrew WrightUnion, MO$3,507
8Jeffrey GainesGodfrey, IL$2,761
9Boulos EstafanousDarien, IL$2,204

Nik Stone, winner of Event #7
Nik Stone, winner of Event #7

WSOP Circuit Harrah’s St. Louis Ring Event #7: No Limit Hold’em Six Handed

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool
$300+$55323$93,993
PlacePlayerHometownPrize
1Nikolas StoneAuburndale, WI$21,770
2Adam GeigerRegina, SK, Canada$13,461
3Scott HallMaryland Heights, MO$9,777
4Jennifer ReelDu Quoin, IL$7,222
5Adam ZschauBloomington, IL$5,421
6Sam BarnhartLittle Rock, AR$4,135
7Stephanie BelkMidland, TX$3,203
8Se Bom KimWarrensburg, MO$2,518
9Rafiq MohammedChicago, IL$2,009

Stephen Friedel, winner of Event #8
Stephen Friedel, winner of Event #8

WSOP Circuit Harrah’s St. Louis Ring Event #8: No Limit Hold’em

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool
$500+$65292$141,620
PlacePlayerHometownPrize
1Stephen FriedelVandalia, IL$33,664
2Michael SandersLondon, AR$20,805
3Steven SkowronskiHammond, IN$15,096
4Drew WoodkeOmaha, NE$11,137
5Ben SmithViola, WI$8,353
6Jae ChangAustin, TX$6,365
7Dennis PhillipsCottage Hills, IL$4,926
8Christopher ParrFort Worth, TX$3,871
9William StoneAuburndale, WI$3,089

Eddie Smurzynski, winner of Event #9
Eddie Smurzynski, winner of Event #9

WSOP Circuit Harrah’s St. Louis Ring Event #9: No Limit Hold’em

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool
$300+$55425$123,675
PlacePlayerHometownPrize
1Edward SmurzynskiMidlothian, IL$27,212
2Michael SmithMagnolia, MS$16,814
3Stewart YancikBlue Springs, MO$12,286
4Gary CatensSt. Louis, MO$9,122
5Jason RatcliffWright City, MO$6,879
6Ahmad RaghebiSt. Louis, MO$5,265
7Ryan GentryLa Jolla, CA$4,089
8Scot BradyEvansville, IN$3,220
9William CorvaiaKeokuk, IA$2,572

With several events yet to be determined, the race for the WSOP Circuit Harrah’s St. Louis 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. Here's a look at the players who 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
Joseph KuetherHarrah’s Rincon Main Event Winner
Jonas MackoffHarrah’s Rincon Casino Champ
Scott StankoCouncil Bluffs Main Event Winner
Michael NellisCouncil Bluffs 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
Alexandru Masek167.519$138,169
Daniel Blakeman16017$143,777
Stephen Kats160111$57,506
Mark “P0ker H0” Kroon157.517$62,973
Michael Cooper15509$57,051
Chris Parsons15007$74,942
Benjamin Kramer150110$52,354
Daniel Lowery13508$243,008
Dan Natarelli13516$44,646

*Leading up to the WSOP Circuit Harrah’s St. Louis stop.

Don’t miss your chance to qualify for the National Championship. There are only a couple of remaining stops on the WSOP Circuit schedule:

Remaining 2011-2012 WSOPC Schedule

EventLocationDates
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 the Harrah’s St. Louis.

*Photos courtesy of Eric Harkins and ImageMasters.

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