The final stop of the 2012/2013 World Series of Poker Circuit kicked off at Harrah's New Orleans on Thursday, May 9, and in yesterday's Everything You Need to Know About the WSOP Circuit Harrah's New Orleans Part I, we recapped the first four ring events from that stop. Now we'll take a look at the rest of the completed ring events leading up to this weekend's WSOP Circuit Harrah's New Orleans $1,675 Main Event, which the the PokerNews Live Reporting Team is live reporting right now.
Harrah's New Orleans has been the last stop on the schedule every season dating to 2005, and it’s no surprise to see pros and amateurs turn out in full force to chase last-minute points toward the National Championship. Here's a look at some of the highlights so far.
Birnbaum Ties La Sengphet for Most WSOP Circuit Wins by a Female
On Sunday, May 12, Nancy Birnbaum made history when she won her third ring in Event #5 $365 No-Limit Hold’em at Harrah’s New Orleans, a tournament that attracted 276 players and created a prize pool of $82,800. The victory tied her with La Sengphet for most WSOP Circuit wins ever by a woman.
Birnbaum, who previously lived in Atlanta and worked in BMW sales but now lives in Las Vegas and plays poker full time, won her first ring in New Orleans in 2009 and then took down her second at Harrah’s Rincon in December. She also has two runner-up finishes.
In addition to the ring, Birnbaum took home $19,875 in prize money and established herself as the top female player of the 2012-2013 season.
“I’m thrilled to win this,” said Birnbaum, who battled back from an extreme short stack five handed. “I really dedicated myself to playing well. I was so low on chips at one point that I didn’t think it would happen. But this shows you what’s possible if you stay focused and never give up.”
WSOP Circuit Harrah’s New Orleans Ring Event #5 No-Limit Hold’em
|1||Nancy Birnbaum||Atlanta, GA||$19,875|
|2||Kevin Choe||Burke, VA||$12,281|
|3||Drennon Rackley||Dalton, GA||$8,911|
|4||Shawn Trahan||Youngsville, LA||$6,574|
|5||Wade Woelfel||Mankato, MN||$4,931|
|6||Oran Haynes||Grambling, LA||$3,757|
|7||Brennan Benglis||Lake Charles, LA||$2,908|
|8||Mihail Karasoulis||Metairie, LA||$2,285|
|9||Derrick Evangelista||Stafford, TX||$1,823|
Lowery Gets Long-Awaited First Gold Ring in Event #6 $365 NLHE
Daniel Lowery is a regular on the tournament circuit, but up until a few days ago a victory had eluded him. That all changed Tuesday night when he emerged victorious over a 325-player field in Event #6 No-Limit Hold’em to capture a $22,912 first-place prize and his long overdue first gold ring.
Lowery, a 39-year-old owner of a sawmill from Peter Pender, Arkansas, had previously made three WSOP Circuit final tables, including a fourth-place finish in the New Orleans Main Event last year and second in the 2011/2012 WSOP Circuit Choctaw Main Event. He was, no doubt, worried about falling short once again but managed to ride his final table chip lead through to the final table, which included tough players like circuit regular Preston Derden, two-time gold ring winner James Henson and Charles “Woody” Moore, who has 24 WSOP Circuit cashes for $412,272.
Other ring winners that cashed in the event included Joshua Pender, “Captain” Tom Franklin, Paul Sokoloff and Kat Bowen.
WSOP Circuit Harrah’s New Orleans Ring Event #6 No-Limit Hold’em
|1||Daniel Lowery||Peter Pender, AR||$22,912|
|2||Michael Horchoff||River Ridge, LA||$14,167|
|3||Thomas Tyra||Bossier City, LA||$10,289|
|4||Eric Sampa||New York, NY||$7,600|
|5||James Henson||Lake Jackson, TX||$5,706|
|6||Charles “Woody” Moore||Las Vegas, NV||$4,351|
|7||Mark Nichols||Birmingham, AL||$3,371|
|8||Davidson Matthew||Las Vegas, NV||$2,650|
|9||Preston Derden||Houston, TX||$2,115|
Local New Orleans Musician Captures Ring in Event #7
On Wednesday, May 15, Harrah’s New Orleans Event #7 $365 No-Limit Hold’em came to an end after two long days of play. The tournament attracted 350 players and created a prize pool of $105,000, but after all was said and done it was 35-year-old New Orleans musician Trey Brabham who emerged victorious to capture his first ring and the accompanying $24,147 first-place prize.
“This is so great,” Brabham said after his win. “I came so close a few times here before in New Orleans. This time, I just said I was going to play to win and not worry about moving up in prize money, that that strategy worked.”
It wasn’t easy for Brabham, who had previously made three final tables at the Harrah’s New Orleans property, because he entered Day 2 last in chips among the 14 returning players. Fortunately, lady luck favored him, and he managed to overcome the hurdle, not too mention two three-time ring winners at the final table, Robert Castoire and Maurice Hawkins, who finish in fifth and third respectively.
WSOP Circuit Harrah’s New Orleans Ring Event #7 No-Limit Hold’em
|1||Trey Brabham||McComb, MS||$24,147|
|2||Rob Georato||Naples, FL||$14,930|
|3||Maurice Hawkins||Coral Springs, FL||$10,892|
|4||Rogelio Salinas||San Antonio, TX||$8,079|
|5||Robert Castoire||Cecelia, KY||$6,086|
|6||Barron Whipple||Houma, LA||$4,655|
|7||Mark Kehrees||Alexander, AR||$3,612|
|8||Corey Harrison||Birmingham, AL||$2,843|
|9||James Mouch||Houston, TX||$2,270|
Fields Claims Victory in his Second WSOP Circuit Event
New Orleans is known as the “Big Easy,” and things seem to be just that for 22-year-old Eric Fields of Greensboro, North Carolina. The recent University of Alabama graduate came to New Orleans with his friends to celebrate, promptly won $5,000 playing in a pot-limit Omaha cash game (his biggest win ever up to that point) and then entered Event #8 $365 No-Limit Hold’em, just the second WSOP Circuit event and fourth overall tournament he’s played.
The tournament attracted 333 runners and created a prize pool of $99,900, and the final table ended up being a star-studded affair. Fields’ fellow University of Alabama Class of 2013 graduate and travel buddy, Matthew Keeton, ended up finishing in seventh, while Charles “Woody” Moore made his second final table of the stop. Perhaps Fields’ toughest competition was no doubt Joseph McKeehen, who won Harrah’s New Orleans Event #1 $365 NLHE last week and the Caesars Atlantic City Main Event back in March. McKeehen was seeking his third gold ring, but Fields managed to pull out the upset to win his first gold ring and $22,980 in prize money.
Despite not getting the win, McKeehen’s runner-up finish gave him the lead in the Harrah’s New Orleans Casino Championship race. Since he already has a spot locked up in the National Championship, a Casino Championship win by McKeehen would open up another at-large seat in the National Leaderboard race.
WSOP Circuit Harrah’s New Orleans Ring Event #8 No-Limit Hold’em
|1||Eric Fields||Greensboro NC||$22,980|
|2||Joseph McKeehen||North Wales, PA||$14,205|
|3||Timothy Thomasson||River Ridge, LA||$10,363|
|4||Mark Maletic||Canton, MI||$7,686|
|5||Leroy Spires||Las Cruces, NM||$5,790|
|6||Marc Lowe||Tampa, FL||$4,429|
|7||Matthew Keeton||Hampton Cove, AL||$3,437|
|8||Charles Moore||Las Vegas, NV||$2,705|
|9||Sokchheka Pho||Memphis, TN||$2,160|
Follow the Action from the WSOP Circuit Harrah's New Orleans
Don't forget, the PokerNews Live Reporting Team will is on hand to bring you all the live updates from the WSOP Circuit Harrah's New Orleans $1,675 Main Event. You can follow the action right now. Then starting on Wednesday, May 22, we'll be covering the prestigious National Championship!
*Lead photo courtesy of Harrah's New Orleans.