Las Vegas, NV – Andrew Lichtenberger is one of poker’s least-known millionaires.  The 22-year-old professional poker player from East Northport, NY has already amassed in excess of $1.1 million in tournament winnings in what has been a strikingly brief poker career. 
 
He burst upon the live tournament scene about midway through last year’s World Series of Poker, where he finished in second place, just a whisker away from winning a gold bracelet in the $5,000 buy-in Shootout event.  A few weeks later, Lichtenberger proved once and for all he is an up-and-coming player to watch when he finished 18th in the WSOP Main Event. 
 
The four-week run, which included five WSOP cashes, netted a nice profit of about $700,000.  Not bad for a month of poker playing.  

Lichtenberger has since enjoyed other tournament success around the country, with several cashes in other majors.  But until the most recent WSOP Circuit Main Event Championship, which was held at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, the quiet young poker pro had never won a major tournament. 
 
Here at one of the Las Vegas Strip’s most famous landmarks, Lichtenberger won not just bragging rights as the newest Caesars Palace WSOP Circuit Main Event champion -- he also collected $190,137 in prize money for first place, in addition to a $10,000 pre-paid seat into the 2010 WSOP Main Event to be played in July.  Lichtenberger was also presented with the coveted gold ring, which is the ultimate symbol of achievement given for winning a WSOP Circuit championship.

“I have always liked strategy-based games and computer games,” Lichtenberger explained afterward when asked to account for his success at such a young age.  “By the time I became old enough to play poker it came somewhat naturally to me.”

The $5,000 (+150) buy-in No-Limit Hold’em competition – which capped a 19-event series of tournaments -- was played over three days from April 27-29.  There were 150 players, which created a prize pool totaling $717,500.  The top 18 finishers collected prize money. 
 
The tournament attracted several notables who failed to cash, including Chris Bell, Burt Boutin, Steve Brecher, Brandon Cantu, Robert Cheung, Tony Cousineau, Bryan Devonshire, Scott Fischman, Daryll Fish, Layne Flack, Eric Froehlich, Chau Giang, Alan Goehring, Lisa Hamilton, Dan Heimiller, Blair Hinkle, Mike Laing, Ted Lawson, Doug Lee, Tony Ma, Jeff Madsen, George Saca, Sam Stein, Gary Solomons, David Williams, Jerry Yang, and last year’s champion Justin Bonomo.  There were 17-former WSOP gold bracelet winners who entered, who held a combined 30 WSOP career wins.

There were 84 players eliminated on Day One.  The bubble position was reached midway through Day Two. 
 
The unfortunate victim was none other than Bryan Devonshire.  Devonshire, coming off a fresh WSOP Circuit victory two weeks ago at Harrah’s Rincon (San Diego) went out in 19th place after falling victim to the losing underside of set over set.

The final table was reached on Day Three.  This was one of the youngest final tables of the year, as eight of the nine finalists were aged in their 20's. 
 
Stephen O’Dwyer arrived at the final table with a slight chip advantage.  But four players were very close in chips – including Diego “Mambo” Sanchez, James Carroll, Brock Parker, and Dan Casetta.  This created a final table with several chip-lead changes and momentum shifts. 
 
During most of the 12-hour final table, Andrew Lichtenberger quietly but steadily increased his stack size up the point where he was chip leader when play reached four-handed.  But the final victory would not come easy.  In fact, this was one of the longest final tables of any Main Event held this season, clocking in at 11 hours and 45 minutes.

The nine finalists and their starting chip counts were as follows:
 

Seat

Player

Hometown

Chip Count

1

Matt Stout

Las Vegas, NV

270,000

2

Diego “Mamba” Sanchez

Mexico City, Mexico

477,000

3

Andrew Lichtenberger

E. Northport, NY

348,000

4

Aaron Been

Tallahassee, FL

198,000

5

James Carroll

Henderson, NV

575,000

6

Stephen O’Dwyer

Las Vegas, NV

644,000

7

Brock Parker

Silver Springs, MD

465,000

8

Anthony Yeh

Las Vegas, NV

101,000

9

Dan Casetta

Los Gatos, CA

489,000

  
The final table began play at 2:15 pm and ended at 2:00 am.  A short video introduction of the finalists can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5EWm350Vb0
 
Players were eliminated from the final table in the following order:

Ninth Place:  A Stout Finish for Matt
Matt Stout, a 25-year-old professional poker player originally from Bayonne, NJ now residing in Las Vegas, was the first player eliminated.  Stout was the chip leader or near the top during much of the first two days of play.  But he took a few beats late on Day Two and arrived at the final table at a decided disadvantage – ranked seventh of nine players.  Stout lasted about an hour before making his final stand with AQ, which lost a race to pocket jack. 
 
Stout, who won a WSOP Circuit gold ring at Caesars Atlantic City in 2008, collected $19,371 for ninth place.  He now has nearly $1 million in career live tournament earnings.
WSOP Circuit Cashes:  7
WSOP Circuit Final Tables:  6
WSOP Circuit Wins:  1
WSOP Cashes:   9

Eighth Place:  Aaron Has-Been
Aaron Been, a 23-year-old former University of Florida student who is now a professional poker player, was eliminated about two hours into play and finished in eighth place.  He ran low on chips and moved all in with pocket nines, which lost to pocket tens.  Been, who has cashed three times previously at the WSOP in Las Vegas, added $23,319 to his poker bankroll.  He now has nearly $300,000 in career tournament earnings.
WSOP Circuit Cashes:  1
WSOP Circuit Final Tables:  1
WSOP Cashes:  3

Seventh Place:  Yeh, Yeh, Yeh….Anthony Finishes Seventh
Anthony Yeh, a 27-year-old professional poker player from Las Vegas went bust about two-and-a-half hours into play.  He was desperately low on chips and moved all in on his final hand with AJ, which lost to AK after a king flopped.  Yeh, who has numerous cashes in tournaments held mostly in the Los Angeles area which add up to nearly $1 million in earnings, added another $28,700 to his bank account.  
WSOP Circuit Cashes:  1
WSOP Circuit Final Tables:  1
WSOP Cashes:  1

Sixth Place:  No Luck for O’Dwyer
Steve O’Dwyer, a 28-year-old professional poker player from Las Vegas, expired about four hours into Day Three.  He went out in a blaze of glory, with pocket sevens up against AK suited.  O’Dwyer flopped a set when a seven appeared, but three spades on the flop also gave his opponent the nut flush.  O’Dwyer desperately needed the board to pair, which did not happen.  So, Dwyer instead ended up with his best WSOP Circuit finish ever and collected $35,875 for sixth place.  
WSOP Circuit Cashes:  1
WSOP Circuit Final Tables:  1
WSOP Cashes:  6
WSOP Final Tables:  1

Fifth Place:  Carroll in Wonderland
James Carroll, a 23-year-old professional poker player from Henderson, NV went out after four hours elapsed at the final table.  He took an awful beat, holding AT in an all-in situation against A9.  A nine flopped, which effectively crushed Carroll’s hopes of a first WSOP-related victory.  This was Carroll’s first time to cash in any WSOP event, although he has cashed and final tabled several events held elsewhere.  Fifth place paid $44,844.
WSOP Circuit Cashes:  1
WSOP Circuit Final Tables:  1

Fourth Place:  Viva Mamba!
Diego “Mamba” Sanchez, a 26-year-old poker player from Mexico City, Mexico nearly became the first WSOP Circuit Main Event winner in history from south of the border.  He lasted about five and a half hours before busting out with pocket 5s, which lost to Brock Parker’s AK.  The final board showed both an ace and a king, eliminating Mamba.  He has performed well in a number of events elsewhere, but this marked his best WSOP finish to date.  Fourth place paid $57,400.
 
WSOP Circuit Cashes:  2
WSOP Circuit Final Tables:  2

Third Place:  Magic Man, Brock Parker Disappears
Brock Parker, a 28-year-old Magic-turned professional poker player from Silver Spring, MD busted out six hours into play.  He became short-stacked and tried to steal a round of blinds and antes with QJ.  But Andrew Lichtenberger woke up in the blind holding AK.  An ace came, which knocked out the two-time WSOP gold bracelet winner. 
 
Parker, winner of two events, both Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em at last year’s World Series, collected another $73,544 in prize money, which catapults his WSOP earnings close to $1 million.  Parker has numerous previous cashes at the WSOP and WSOP Circuit.
 
WSOP Circuit Cashes:  3
WSOP Circuit Final Tables:  2
WSOP Cashes:  13
WSOP Final Tables:  3
WSOP Wins:  2

Second Place:  Casetta Ejected  
Dan Casetta, a 39-year-old businessman from Los Gatos, CA was the runner up.  Casetta had previously enjoyed an astounding number of wins and cashes, almost all of which have taken place at casinos in the San Francisco Bay area.  Casetta has entered about 200 tournaments to date in what he describes as a serious part-time vocation, and has cashed in more than one-third of his tries.  He has 19 wins in that span, arguably as good a record as anyone in tournament poker. 

Yet despite his success in many lower buy-in tourneys, he had not made the final table of a major tournament until this finish, which was admirable both for the amount he won which was $114,800 and the noble fight he put up against a proven short-handed specialist.  Casetta, who has co-written a book on sales and motivation and conducts business seminars around the country, enjoyed his best WSOP-related cash with this second place finish. 
 
Perhaps just as important, Casetta earned a lot of respect by those who watched over three days and demonstrated he’s a player who can play as well as anyone.
 
WSOP Circuit Cashes:  1
WSOP Circuit Final Tables: 1
 
When heads-up play began, Andrew Lichtenberger enjoyed about a 2 to 1 advantage over Dan Casetta.  The duo battled for a near epic five hours, during which Casetta reversed the count in his favor two times.  But the momentum swung back in Lichtenberger’s direction when he doubled up with pocket tens versus pocket fours in an all-in situation, which gave him about a 3 to 1 chip edge. 
 
Closing the victory proved to be the most difficult task for Lichtenberger.  But the final moment of satisfaction came after more than 150 hands when Casetta was dealt   .  Lichtenberger was dealt   .  Casetta moved all in pre-flop.  Lichtenberger, with about a 6 to 1 chip advantage at the time, called.  The final board showed      , which meant Lichtenberger’s pair of kings took down the last pot of the night. 
 
First Place:  Lichtenberger Lights It Up   
Andrew Lichtenberger, a 22-year-old poker pro from East Northport, NY became the latest WSOP Circuit Main Event champion.  He won this year’s Caesars Palace title and collected $190,137 for first place.  He also received the WSOP Circuit gold ring, plus an entry into this year’s WSOP Main Event.  His combined poker tournament winnings now total more than $1.1 million in just over a year of poker play.
WSOP Circuit Cashes:  1  
WSOP Circuit Final Tables:  1  
WSOP Circuit Wins:  1
WSOP Cashes:  5
WSOP Final Tables:  1
   
A post-tournament interview with Lichtenberger can be seen at the link listed above.

Andrew Lichtenberger becomes the fifth WSOP Circuit Main Event Champion crowned at Caesars Palace, joining the previous gallery of winners:

2010 -- Andrew Liochtenberg
2009 – Justin Bonomo
2008 – Allen Cunningham
2007 – Cory Carroll
2006 – John Spadavecchia

The WSOP Circuit at Caesars Palace has now concluded.  This was the fifth year of events, which included 14 gold ring tournaments.  This was the tenth WSOP Circuit stop (of 11) of the 2009-2010 season.  Previous tournaments were held in Chicago, Southern Indiana, Lake Tahoe, Harrah’s Atlantic City, Tunica, Council Bluffs, Caesars Atlantic City, Harrah’s Rincon, and Harrah’s St. Louis.  The final stop of the season runs May 7-20 at Harrah’s New Orleans.