While all eyes have been on the Main Event today, the final event of the stop was playing out nearby in the Whiskey Roadhouse. Event 12 $365 No-Limit Hold’em saw 14 players return, including the all-time WSOP Circuit ring winner Alex Masek who started fourth in chips. Unfortunately he couldn't snag number seven.
We turn to the WSOP's Lukas Willems for details on that event:
Pejman “Premo” Niyati won the 12th and final ring event Monday night at Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs. Event 12, a $365 No-Limit Hold’em tournament, played out in the shadow of the Main Event, a tournament Niyati finished 8th in last year. He was, of course, just a spectator of the championship tournament this year, but he had a good seat — the two seat at table 26.
The Event 12 finale began with Alexandru Masek in the spotlight. The 28-year-old pro is the winningest player in WSOP Circuit history with a total of six gold rings and was within reach of number seven Monday, beginning the final table third in chips.
“Eventually you’re going to be the Bill Russell of poker. You’re not getting your 11th ring tonight,” Niyati joked to Masek.
As the cards would have it, Niyati was right. Masek never made much of a run at ring number seven and eventually got his last few big blinds holding a useless 10-high. The disappointment was obvious on the face of the six-time champion as he exited the tournament 7th, well short of a record-extending title.
“He’s a solid player and a really good kid,” Niyati said of Masek. “I just have a lot of respect for his game and I think he’ll do real big things one day in some bigger tournaments. Hopefully I’ll be there to be some competition for him.”
Monday belonged to Niyati as he outlasted gold ring champion Sean Burson heads-up in a duel that extended more than two hours. The victory marked the first official WSOP Circuit championship for Niyati and awarded him $10,752 and 50 points toward the WSOP National Championship Presented by Southern Comfort 100 Proof.
Niyati previously won a ring in a preliminary event and gave that trophy to his father. He says ring number two, though, will stay in his possession.
“I see other guys on the tour wearing theirs, but I’ll probably hold on to mine. Maybe throw it in a lock box or something,” Niyati said.
Niyati, Burson and Masek were joined in the money by Bradley Cundall (15th), Travis Northrope (14th) and LouAnn Merwick (11th). The victory marks Niyati’s first cash of the 2012-2013 WSOP Circuit.
“It feels great to come out here and play a couple tournaments and not really get there, then register the very last one and play my butt off,” he said.