December 07, 2010 - 12:58:28 PM EST  | 


ATLANTIC CITY, NJAfter a record-breaking opening event at Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City, World Series of Poker Circuit action continued Monday with the conclusion of event #2, the $570 buy-in No Limit Hold’em Event.

The second of 11 official Circuit Events scheduled for Harrah’s AC attracted 343 players for a total prize pool of $166,355. The winner of the two-day tournament was George Chen of Queens, NY.

Chen is a 22-year-old aspiring poker pro, who after having had moderate success playing online, decided to try his hand on the WSOP Circuit. His live tournament debut proved to be more successful that he ever imagined.

In fact, throughout much of the final table, Chen would have been happy just to take home a divided share of the final nine’s prize pool as numerous times, he expressed his desire to chop the pot and call it a day. However a number of his table mates were unwilling to oblige, so Chen, who hovered near the middle of the pack for much of the evening, was left to own devices to survive as long as possible.

In the end, Chen emerged the victor in what turned out to be a strong performance for the budding young player.

By the time day one play concluded at 2 am on Saturday, 313 players were eliminated, leaving 30 to return on day two to play for $38,262 in first place prize money and the coveted WSOP Circuit Event ring.




Chip Count

Tim “Ttwist” Kelly

Thorold, ON Canada



Jim Governa

Richboro, PA



Yonah Kohn

Brooklyn, NY



Ronald McDonald

Fort Valley, VA



Tomislav Dobrilovic

West Nyack, NY



George Chen

Queens, NY



Patricia Barsanti-Chou

Metuchen, NJ



Joe Verrecchia

Haddonfield, NJ



Dewey Whitmore

Martinsburg, WV



9th Place – ­­­­­It only took a few hours for the final table to be established. Play among the final nine began shortly after 4:30pm with blinds and antes at 8,000/16,000/3,000. Early action was slow going, with an hour and a half before the first elimination of the evening. The first to eventually bust was Tomislav Dobrilovic, who moved all-in with A-9 off vs. Patricia Barsanti-Chou’s pocket queens. A nine on the flop was of some help to Dobrilovic, but with no further aid on the turn or river, Dobrilovic was sent to the payout table to collect $3,597ninth place prize money. Dobrilovic is an accomplished poker player with two Bellagio cup wins and both WSOP and WPT final tables under his belt.

8th Place – Dewey Whitmore was eliminated a short time later after seeing his stack dwindled to only a few big blinds. Whitmore moved all-in from the small blind for his remaining 60,000 with    and Chen made the call for 44k more after limping in from the hijack position. Chen’s    connected on the J-6-4 flop, leaving Whitmore needing a nine, ten or running straight cards to stay alive, but a four and ace on the turn and river were no good and Whitmore was sent to the rail. Whitmore, a 57-year-old contractor from Martinsburg, WV, collected $4,505.

7th Place – ­Blinds crept up to the 10k/20k level. Ronald McDonald was the table’s short stack, where he remained for much of the evening. After managing to double up a couple times, he was on the verge of being back into contention, however on a third all-in from the button, his flopped pair of 8’s were rivered by Yohan Kohn’s A-10 after the   hit fifth street. McDonald, a 54-year-old self-employed amateur player from Fort Valley, VA, was unable to get the break he deserved today and was left to collect $5,723 for seventh.

6th Place – Yonah Kohn was the aggressor at the table for much of the evening. A critical hand came between he and Chen after the two saw a flop of K-A-K. Kohn called Chen’s 40k bet before both checked the 7 turn. Kohn jammed all-in on the river and Chen made the call.

Both players turned over a King, but Chen’s queen kicker bested Kohn’s jack, dropping Kohn down to 400k.

Kohn involved himself in more than his fair share of the action afterwards, including the hand the busted McDonald.

One player that would not be bullied however was the chip leader, Jim Governa. On a      board, Kohn re-raised Governa all-in and Governa called. Kohn was hoping to move Governa off the hand on his semi-bluff with   , but Governa refused to lay down top pair. Plan B, a club on the river, failed to materialize and Kohn’s tournament run was over. The 28-year-old Brooklyn, NY sales rep collected $7,375 for sixth.

5th Place – Joe Verrecchia was eliminated in fifth place after his pocket pair of sixes failed to hold up against Governa’s K-J on an all-in preflop. Verrecchia is a 22-year-old poker pro from Haddonfield, NJ. He and seven of his friends came up to play in the Harrah’s AC Circuit Events from Penn State, backed by poker management firm, fluxstables.com. Fifth place paid $9,642.

4th Place – Blinds were now at 12,000/24,000. Patricia “Patty” Bersanti-Chou hovered near the chip average for much of the day. She decided to make a move on a pot against Tim Kelly after a     flop when she pushed her 360k stack in the middle. Kelly re-raised over the top all-in, prompting a third player to fold.

The timing was unfortunate for Bersanti-Chou, who had    to Kelly’s A-9. Left needing running flush cards, blanks hit the turn and river ending Bersanti-Chou’s tournament run. Bersanti-Chou is a physician from Metuchen, NJ. In 2007, she won the WPT ladies Borgata event. For her performance in WSOP Circuit Event #2 at Harrah’s Atlantic City, the good doctor collected $12,799.

3rd Place – Down to three players, Chen again expressed his interest in a chop. Kelly was having none of it. “You’re supposed to be a pro, what do you mean chop?” he said to Chen. Miffed, Chen replied, “Let’s chop or don’t chop, you don’t have to be a [explicative] about it.” Poker room director, John Arthur was right on queue, and took control to defuse the situation. “Guys, guys, are you kidding me? Not here!” he reprimanded.

Play continued, however the tension between Kelly and Chen was undeniable. The two tangled in a number of pots with Kelly getting the best of his much younger opponent in most of them.

Kelly however, took some damage from Governa and saw his stack whittled down to a few blinds. Kelly moved his remaining chips all-in with K-3 and Chen was more than happy to call with A-Q. The resulting board, 6-A-7-K-Q, gave Chen the pot and sent Kelly to the payout table. Kelly, who final tabled the Circuit Main Event here at Harrah’s AC in 2008, is a 35-year-old poker pro from Thorold, Ontario Canada. He is the owner of poker training site, pokeredge.com. He earned $17,256 for third.

2nd Place – Heads up action began shortly after 9:30 pm with blinds at 15,000/30,000. Governa had a dominating chip lead over Chen. Governa began to make quick work of his final opponent, taking gray, 100k stacks from him here and there before Chen was able to double up.

After that, the tide slowly began to change with the stacks reversing course toward Chen’s direction. In a critical hand, after a flop of    , Governa fired out 200k before Chen raised to 700k. Governa called and the turn came  . Governa moved all-in and Chen called. Governa turned over 7-10 for flopped middle pair, but Chen revealed J-K for top. The river was a benign   and what was once a mammoth stack for Governa was down to 200k.

The final hand was a pre-flop all in with Chen holding    to Governa’s   . The flop came down 5-A-3. It looked like Governa would double after a 7 on the turn, but the river 8 completed a straight for Chen and he was the victor. Governa is a 55-year-old police officer from Richboro, PA. He took home a bittersweet $23,654 for second.

For his first major tournament win, Chen pocketed $38,262 and the coveted WSOP Circuit gold ring. In addition, he earned 50 points toward the Casino Champion leader board for Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City, which tie him in first place with event #1 winner, Christopher Rivers.

“I felt he disrespected me, so yeah, I got angry and wanted to play even harder, so that helped.” said Chen of his exchange between he and Kelly. “We talked it out a bit later though, he’s a cool guy – we just got off on the wrong foot.” 

Chen says that he plans to play most of the remaining Circuit Events at Harrah’s AC and that his win today was the affirmation he needed that he had what it takes to make a career in poker.

“This is so surreal, wow, I don’t even feel anything yet,” he said after his win.  

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

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