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Bernard Lee Captures First WSOP Circuit Gold Ring; Denies Alex Masek Ninth

Bernard Lee

On Thursday, May 1, 2014, long-time poker professional Bernard Lee captured his first World Series of Poker Circuit gold ring, defeating Alex Masek in heads-up play and denying the young star a record ninth ring.

Not only did Lee best Masek, but he defeated a final table that included five WSOP Circuit ring winners.

Final Table Results

1Bernard Lee$14,500
2Alex Masek$8,960
3Michael Sanders$6,450
4Andrew Sandomire$4,727
5Justin Johnson$3,526
6Cory Waaland$2,676
7Krzystof Stybaniewicz$2,065
8TJ Thondup$1,620
9Aaron Frei$1,292

Event 9: $365 Turbo No-Limit Hold'em at the Lodge Casino in Colorado attracted a field of 179 entries. With the top 18 spots being paid and some very stiff competition in the event, Lee's feat was no easy task. Coming into the event, Lee's record featured four top-three finishes in WSOP Circuit events, but he was previously never able to walk away with the jewelry.

"It feels fantastic to get the monkey off my back. I had been so close recently, but I felt I was playing well and it would just be a matter of time," Lee told PokerNews. "Also, I had just won the RunGoodGear.com series main event in March, so to win another title so quickly feels awesome. Finally, my daughter, Maya, turned nine years old last Monday and she always wishes me luck before every event. I dedicated the win to my little sweetheart."

Lee's heads-up opponent was the most decorated man in WSOP Circuit history, Masek. With eight gold rings, Masek rarely makes it to heads-up play and loses. In fact, prior to this event, Masek had won eight out of nine times he advanced to the final duo. This was only his second loss in a WSOP Circuit gold ring event when making it to heads-up play.

"To win my first WSOP ring against such an incredible player like Alex makes this even more special," said Lee. "Alex and I have become good friends as we discuss a lot of hands throughout the year. Ironically, he recently came on my radio show to discuss strategy on winning WSOP Circuit events. Maybe I learned too much from him (laughs)."

"Overall, we were fairly short stacked as it was a turbo event. By the last levels, the average stack was below 20 big blinds, so it was hard to see flops. I decided to make sure that when I went with a hand, I was prepared to potentially go all the way. Fortunately, I was ahead on most of the all ins (I did win a huge flip with ace-five versus his {3-}{3-} when an ace hit on the turn) and my hands held up."

Lee, who is a regular in WSOP Circuit events, played the first event ever back in 2005 in Atlantic City. "I flew in that morning from Boston and barely got into the event. The line was so long that I was one of the last alternates. I cashed something like 20th place."

"Ever since then, I have enjoyed the events especially since they have improved their structure," Lee added. "Also, the WSOP National Championship is such a great opportunity with the smaller field to win a bracelet, which is obviously one of my top poker goals."

Lee's first big poker splash came in 2005 when he took 13th in the WSOP Main Event for $400,000. He is recognized as “the voice of poker in New England" and known worldwide as a poker media personality.

Host of the Bernard Lee Poker Show, which began in May of 2007, Lee regularly interviews poker players and prominent industry personnel with poker news and tips. Previous guests have included WSOP champions Doyle Brunson, Chris Moneymaker, Joe Hachem, Greg Raymer, Jonathan Duhamel and Greg Merson; the World Poker Tour's Mike Sexton and Lynn Gilmartin; ESPN commentators Norman Chad and Lon McEachern; poker superstars Daniel Negreanu, Erik Seidel, Dennis Phillips, and Jason Mercier; and members of the 2008 through 2013 WSOP November Nine.

You can visit Lee's website at www.bernardleepoker.com or follow him on Twitter at @BernardLeePoker.

Photo courtesy of the WSOP.

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