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Previewing the 2012-2013 World Series of Poker Circuit Harrah's Rincon

Alex Masek and friends

The eighth stop of the 2012/2013 World Series of Poker Circuit presented by Southern Comfort 100 Proof at Harrah’s Rincon kicked off on Dec. 6 with the first of 12 ring events. Many of those tournaments have concluded throughout the week, but the stop won’t climax until this weekend’s $1,675 Main Event, which you can follow by clicking here.

In the meantime, we thought we’d set the stage by taking a look at the preliminary events thus far, which included a historic performance by Alexandru Masek, who won his record-tying fifth gold ring in Event #1 $365 No-Limit Hold’em. The 27-year-old law school graduate from San Diego moved into a three-way tie alongside Mark “Pegausus” Smith and Kyle Cartwright.

“I feel really good. I feel like I'm on cloud nine right now,” Masek told WSOP officials shortly after his win. “I feel like I got close quite a few times (to winning the fifth), and that's tournament poker. Now, it's great to finally get number five to come out.”

Masek navigated a field of 205 players to make the final table, which turned out to be a nine-hour affair. What’s more, the winner of the same event the previous year, Randy Paguio, was also at the final table. Fittingly, the two experienced players made it to heads-up play. That meant WSOP Circuit history would be made because either Masek would win ring number five, or Paguio would go back-to-back. As fate would have it, lady luck favored Masek, who took home $15,989 for the win.

“When I won before, I don't think back then I realized how hard it is to win,” Masek said. “[The drought of not winning] made me realize just how good I ran when I was winning.”

Check out Masek’s postvictory interview with the WSOP’s Nolan Dalla:

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

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

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool

Alex Masek, winner of Event #1.
Alex Masek, winner of Event #1.

1Alexandru MasekSan Diego, CA$15,989
2Randy PaguioSan Diego, CA$9,878
3Kevin SwadBloomington, IN$7,132
4Keith MorganEncinitas, CA$5,238
5Kevin KrickhahnEl Cajon, CA$3,913
6Lance MartinezMukilteo, WA$2,974
7Titan LeardSan Clemente, CA$2,297
8Kenton TaylorEl Centro, CA$1,804
9Robert HoagSan Diego, CA$1,439

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

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool

Mike Souza, winner of event #2.
Mike Souza, winner of event #2.

1Mike SouzaSan Diego, CA$12,718
2Robert PagcaliwaganOceanside, CA$7,859
3Thomas RogersMilwaukee, WI$5,657
4Charles DeetsOceanside, CA$4,146
5Paul HendeeRedwood, Valley, CA$3,093
6Neil ScottMammoth Lakes, CA$2,347
7Michelle OwenSurrey, British Columbia, Canada$1,811
8Joseph HurvitzSan Diego, CA$1,421
9Mary Anne MadrugaSan Diego, CA$1,133

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

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool

Matthew Schultz, winner of Event #3.
Matthew Schultz, winner of Event #3.

1Matthew SchultzSan Diego, CA$7,241
2Frank LinLos Angeles, CA$4,481
3Jeff MyersLos Angeles, CA$2,950
4Fernando OrtizSan Diego, CA$2,065
5Kenneth LefloreEl Cajon, CA$1,530
6Henry FergusonLos Angeles, CA$1,197
7Alexander LeeSan Diego, CA$985
8Kevin KrickhahnEl Cajon, CA$851

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

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool

Michael Wynn, winner of Event #4.
Michael Wynn, winner of Event #4.

1Michael WynnLas Vegas, NV$26,405
2Carter MyersBreckenridge, MI$16,314
3Gary FessiaChula Vista, CA$11,921
4Darius JohnsonVallejo, CA$8,851
5Dave ParaLa Mesa, CA$6,674
6Shawn DanielsWayne, PA$5,108
7Sean YuIrvine, CA$3,967
8David ClarkDallas, TX$3,125
9Lucien BreaultEwa Beach, HI$2,496

WSOP Circuit Harrah’s Rincon Ring Event #5 No-Limit Hold’em

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool

Donna Delfin, winner of Event #5.
Donna Delfin, winner of Event #5.

1Donna DelfinFolsom, CA$11,844
2Todd DavisJacksonville, FL$7,320
3John MeekhaelAnaheim, CA$5,284
4Raymond PadgettSanta Paula, CA$3,883
5Connor CronkhiteErie, PA$2,903
6Jack ConverseYorba Linda, CA$2,207
7Adam LaskeyFargo, ND$1,706
8Chad ThyzelTemecula, CA$1,340
9Eric RevakSantee, CA$1,070

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

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool

Jimmy Nguyen, winner of Event #6.
Jimmy Nguyen, winner of Event #6.

1Jimmy NguyenSan Diego, CA$11,341
2Saul FrankEscondido, CA$7,009
3Thomas JohnsonMansfield, TX$5,059
4Ivan MahoodMaple Ridge, BC, Canada$3,717
5Peter ZaferisTemecula, CA$2,779
6Sam AshleySouthlake, TX$2,113
7Daniel RinconesCullacan, Mexico$1,633
8Tavish MargersSantee, CA$1,283
9Chris RubyTemecula, CA$1,024

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

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool

Valentin Vornicu, winner of Event #7.
Valentin Vornicu, winner of Event #7.

1Valentin VornicuSan Diego, CA$10,858
2Eddy AsadySan Diego, CA$6,712
3Casey StewartCanyon Country, CA$4,838
4Jason TangEl Cajon, CA$3,501
5Dwight EnglekirkZephyr Cove, NV$2,543
6Brian CoanRiverside, CA$1,854
7William Ellis IIBlue Springs, MO$1,356
8Jarod LudemannWells, MN$1,356
9Jack ConverseYorba Linda, CA$995

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

Buy-inEntrantsPrize Pool

Nancy Birnbaum, winner of Event #8
Nancy Birnbaum, winner of Event #8

1Nancy BirnbaumAtlanta, GA$13,122
2David AndersonMurrieta, CA$8,109
3Brent CarterOak Park, IL$5,837
4Chad WassmuthLewiston, ID$4,278
5Jonathan ChehanskeBrigantine, NJ$3,191
6Misato BlackLas Vegas, NV$2,422
7Daniel RinconesCuliacan, Mexico$1,869
8John KralSan Diego, CA$1,465
9Glenn CastensCarlsbad, CA$1,169

With several events yet to be determined, the race for the WSOP Circuit Harrah’s Rincon Champion is undetermined. 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

Adam TeasdaleHarrah’s Atlantic City Main Event Champion
Brandon FishHarrah’s Atlantic City Casino Champion
Cary MarshallHarveys Lake Tahoe Main Event Champion
Daniel GilmerHarveys Lake Tahoe Casino Champion
John CrncicRiver Rock (Vancouver) Main Event Winner
Sandra WongRiver Rock (Vancouver) Casino Champion
Josh WilliamsHorseshoe Horseshoe Hammond Main Event Winner
Mike LeahHorseshoe Hammond Casino Champion
Dan HeimillerHorseshoe Southern Indiana Main Event Winner
Jonathan TaylorHorseshoe Southern Indiana Casino Champion
Quan NguyenBossier City Casino Champion
Jeff GibralterBossier City Main Event Champion
Kyle CartwrightIP Biloxi Main Event Winner
Cory WoodIP Biloxi Casino Champion

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*

Yossi Azulay165012$79,218
Charles “Woody” Moore15007$46,997
Rex Clinkscales14506$35,499
Caufman Talley142.525$82,963
Aaron Massey142.515$55,252
Carter Myers12516$49,713
Donna Delfin112.513$26,908
Ashly Butler112.514$25,415
Ari Engel10514$68,762
Trevor Deeter10516$33,098

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

Here's a look at the remaining schedule for the 2012-13 WSOP Circuit:

DateEvent Location
Jan. 3-14, 2013The Bicycle Casino (Los Angeles)
Jan. 10-21, 2013Choctaw Durant (Dallas/Oklahoma)
Jan. 24 - Feb. 4, 2013Harrah’s Tunica (Mississippi)
Feb. 7-18, 2013Caesars Palace (Las Vegas)
Feb. 14-25, 2013Palm Beach Kennel Club (Florida)
Feb. 28 - March 11, 2013Caesars Atlantic City
March 14-25, 2013Horseshoe Cleveland
March 27 - April 8, 2013Foxwoods (Connecticut)
April 4-15, 2012Harrah’s Cherokee (North Carolina)
April 11-April 22, 2013Horseshoe Council Bluffs (Iowa)
April 25 - May 6, 2013Harrah’s Philadelphia
May 9 - May 20, 2013Harrah’s New Orleans
May 21-23, 2013Harrah’s New Orleans (National Championship)

For more information on the 2012-13 WSOP Circuit season, visit WSOP.com. Also, be sure to follow our live updates from the WSOP Circuit Harrah’s Atlantic City in our Live Reporting Section.

*Photos courtesy of WSOP.com.

Follow the WSOP Circuit Harrah's Rincon Main Event by clicking here.

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