ATLANTIC CITY, NJThe first of 11 official ring events scheduled for this year’s Circuit at Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City concluded late Sunday night. The winner was Christopher Rivers, a 24-year-old network engineer from Atlanta, GA.

1,250 total entrants each put up the $350 buy-in for the No Limit Hold’em event, generating a total prize pool of $363,750. The event was the largest in Harrah’s Atlantic City History, exceeding the resort’s previous record of 1,181 players set at its 2008 WSOP Circuit opening event.

Indeed, this year’s revamped WSOPC format has proven to be a success through each of the stops so far on the 2010/2011 season.

“We’re really excited for having set this record,” said Harrah’s Resort AC poker director, John Arthur. “We got it right this year with the structures and everything else we have put into place for the Circuit and hope to continue having great numbers through the rest of the series.”

While the majority of the field consisted of players from along the east coast, players from all around the country converged in the Ballroom at Harrah’s, the venue for Circuit Events. Including them was Rivers, who along with a friend, made the 14-hour, 800-mile drive north from Atlanta just so they could play in the one event at Harrah’s AC.

With the optimized structures and increased attendance, it was no surprise that 95 players returned for day two, which began at 1pm. After more than eight hours, the final table was set.

Name

Hometown

Seat

Chip Count

Don Huang

Leesburg, VA

1

2,765,000

Matthew Diggs

Edgewood, MD

2

610,000

Geoff Desobry

Bethesda, MD

3

1,160,000

Chao Lin

Hicksville, NY

4

1,200,000

Ryan Moylan

Hauppauge, NY

5

1,700,000

Christopher Rivers

Atlanta, GA

6

670,000

Jason “Bear” Alexander

Bellport, NY

7

1,645,000

Gregory Spurdis

Staten Island, NY

8

845,000

Greg Joslyn

Milford, PA

9

2,000,000

9th Place – Final table play began at 10:40 pm with blinds at 20,000/40,000 and 5,000 antes. After an hour of play, Chao Lin was the first player to be eliminated after moving all-in from the hijack seat with A-J off. Jason Alexander (not of Seinfeld fame) called and turned over A-K suited. Alexander’s kicker held through an ace on the flop and blanks on the turn and river to send Lin to the payout table. Ninth place paid $6,372.

8th Place –Matthew Diggs made it 160k to go, prompting Geoff Desobry to move all in for just over half a million. It was a toss up between Diggs’ pocket tens and Desobry’s   . Desobry fell far behind after Diggs flopped a set. The queen on the river would have been a godsend for Desobry in any other situation, but in the current one, marked the end of his tournament run. The 59-year-old from Bethesda, MD pocketed $7,995 for his finish.

7th Place – The most critical hand of the night developed after Don Huang raised UTG to 150k. Christopher Rivers and Gergory Spurdis both came along and the three players saw a flop of    . The flop was checked around and a   hit the turn. Spurdis moved all-in for just over 1.5 million before Huang shoved for about half a million more. Ryan Moylan called as well with all 1.6 million of his chips.  

It was an incredible three-way showdown with Huang showing    for flopped trips, a flopped boat for Rivers who showed pocket queens, and a river flush draw for Spurdis, who turned over   . The river, the  , sent Spurdis to the rail and crippled Huang, the former chip leader, down to 320k. The timely bit of run good catapulted Rivers to over 5.4 million.  Spurdis, a 47-year-old electrician from Staten Island, took home $10,148 for seventh.

A few hands later, Rivers laid claim to the remainder of Huang’s stack in an all-in with pocket 10’s vs. Huang’s pocket pair of nines. It was a disappointing sixth place finish for Huang, which paid out $13,033.

5th Place – After down to only a few blinds, Ryan Moylan staged a comeback, doubling through Rivers to over 600k and picking up another half million from Diggs. A few hands later, he made it 200k to go pre-flop before Alexander moved all-in with pocket 8’s for about 1.3 million. Rivers was happy to oblige with his pocket pair of kings. The board was no help to Alexander and he was eliminated, leaving Rivers with just below four million. Alexander or “Bear” as he is known affectionately by friends and family is a 44-year-old truck driver from Bellport, NY. The married father of five collected $16,932 for his two-day effort. 

4th Place – Along with Moylan, Diggs also ascended up the chip ladder, having gone from 800k to over 4 million in just over an hour. The two eventually clashed in a decisive pot in which Diggs raised preflop to 375k and Moylan moved over the top for about 1.5 million more. Diggs called with pocket queens, leaving Moylan needing help for his pocket jacks. The king-high board did nothing to improve the 31-year-old’s hand, ending his run. Fourth paid $22,188. Diggs now had about a 3-1 chip lead over his remaining opponents with over 6.5 million. 

3rd Place – Greg Joslyn, a 30-year-old aspiring poker pro from Middletown, CT, was the third place finisher. All-in, his    failed to improve over Rivers’   . Third place was worth $17,256.

2nd Place –  Heads up play between Diggs and Rivers began shortly after 3:00 am with blinds and antes at 50,000/100,000/20,000 and both players even in chips. The decisive hand came on a     flop after which Diggs raised Rivers’ 200k bet all-in. Rivers eventually made the call and showed pocket jacks. Diggs showed   , leaving him needing help on the turn and river.

A queen and ten were no help and Diggs was left with 700k. The final hand came shortly after with Diggs outkicked all-in with K-10 to Rivers’ K-Q. Rivers’ hand held through the river and a Circuit Event champion was made. For his win, Rivers collected $64,565, the coveted WSOP Circuit Gold Ring and 50 points toward the Circuit National Championship to be held at Caesars Palace Las Vegas in May. Diggs, a 27-year-old from Edgewood, MD earned $23,654.

 “The last couple of times I limped, he raised,” Rivers recounted of the hand that crippled Diggs. “So I decided to limp with Jacks, and though I hoped he would play me aggressive after the flop, was worried about him drawing out on me, but I eventually called.”

“Oh man, this is great, I’m very excited,” he said. 

See the complete Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City Circuit schedule and previous results here.  The WSOP Circuit at Harrah’s runs through December 22nd. You can find the complete 2010/2011WSOP CIRCUIT SCHEDULE here.

Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City
777 Harrah’s Blvd          
Atlantic City, NJ 08401

(609) 441-5165 
Toll-Free: 1 (800) 645-6774

www.harrahsresort.com 

Media Contact: Alan Fowler , Caesars Entertainment, Inc., (702) 498-7532 or afowler@harrahs.com