Charles Flett Rockets into Lead in “Best All-Around Player” Race

West Palm Beach, FL (February 21 2012) – The latest World Series of Poker Circuit tournament nearly produced yet another female champion.

A few nights after Loni Harwood (Staten Island, NY) won her first gold ring in Event #2, Abbey Daniels -- from Coral Springs, FL -- appeared destined to make her stand for womankind. 

Daniels was sitting heads-up at the final table, holding a 4 to 1 chip advantage.  The crowd along the rail swelled.  The final duel began.

Over the next two hours, her lone adversary – a 22-year-old poker pro from Philadelphia, PA named Jake Schindler – put on a master clinic in heads-up play.  There were no huge pots or suck outs.  There were no significant confrontations, nor coin flips.  Instead, what transpired was methodical mastery. 

Alas, Daniels played well.  She had to play superbly to get into position to win what would have been her first major tournament victory.  But Schindler played better.  He stepped up his game and by a razor-thin margin just seemed to do a little more, gain a few extra chips here and there, and essentially created a situation where Daniels’ chips gradually made their way across the table into Schindler’s burgeoning stack.

By 10 pm on a cool Wednesday night along the Florida Coast, it was all over.  Schindler had every chip in the tournament, thus earning the title as the latest WSOP Circuit event champion.  Meanwhile, Daniels was left to ponder the mixed blessing of a second-place finish.   

Schindler collected $24,736 in prize money.  For his victory, he was presented with the coveted gold ring, which is the ultimate token of achievement for winning a WSOP Circuit tournament.  

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Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em began as an online poker game.  It first debuted (as a live tournament) at the 2005 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.  The variant came about due to growing popularity amongst online players.  In fact, Six-Handed Hold’em games became so popular that by 2008, the variant rivaled full-ring games in overall number at the most biggest online sites. 

Nevertheless, Six-Handed live tournaments remain rare in live casinos.  This is due to more dealers and tables being required to run them, which in turn accommodate less tournament players.  The WSOP and WSOP Circuit remains as a few of the places where Six-Handed poker tournaments remain as part of the regular schedule.

Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em is also markedly different from the conventional full table game.  Since blinds race around the table much faster (players are posting blinds 2/6 rather than 2/9 of the time), the action tends to be more aggressive.  In fact, good short-handed players enjoy clear advantages over players who are more accustomed to full-table games with nine players.

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This was the fifth of 12 gold ring events on the WSOP Circuit schedule at West Palm Beach – which means the schedule is fast-approaching the midway point.  Officially listed as Event #5 -- the $345 buy-in Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em tournament attracted 391 entries – a nice field size considering this was a short-handed format played during the middle of the week.  The total prize pool came to $112,431.  The top 45 players were paid.  All players who cashed received WSOP Circuit National Championship ranking points.

Among those who cashed was Eric Stocz, from West Bloomfield, MI.  He became the first player to cash in three events at this series – pretty remarkable since only five events have been completed, to date.

Speaking of cashes, Jamie Kerstetter also cashed in this event.  She burst upon the WSOP Circuit at Harrah’s Atlantic City last December, when she cashed five times.  She earned her first cash in Florida with an eighth-place showing.

Former WSOP Circuit gold ring winner Chris Tryba also made the money.  He cashed for the 24th time in a Circuit event, which places him in the top-20 all-time.

The seventh-place finisher was Charles Flett.  That might not normally get much of a reaction.  But his performance in this event, combined with a second-place showing in the opener (Event #1) now gives him the points-lead in the “Best All-Around Player” race for PBKC.  He has many players on his heels.  But at least for now, Flett remains the player to beat.

A full list of all players that cashed in Event #5 can be seen here.

The first day’s action resulted in the elimination of ninety percent of the starting players.  There were only ten survivors who resumed action on Day Two.  After another few hours of play, the field was trimmed down to the final table.  The six finalists and their starting chip counts were as follows:

SEAT 1:  Andrew Priore (Utica, NY) – 521,000 in chips
SEAT 2:  Jake Schindler (Philadelphia, PA) – 802,000 in chips
SEAT 3:  Michael Almerood (Fremont, CA) – 726,000 in chips
SEAT 4:  Roman Valertstein (Newtown, PA) – 746,000 in chips
SEAT 5:  Abbey Daniels (Coral Springs, FL) – 289,000 in chips
SEAT 6:  Patricia Till (Brownsburg, IN) – 843,000 in chips

The finalists were eliminated as follows:

6th Place – Michael Almerood, from Fremont, CA finished in sixth place.  He is a 20-year-old poker pro (players are permitted to enter at age 18 in most Florida casinos).  Almerood has enjoyed some success as an online player.  But this was his best showing in a live poker tournament.  He hopes to play full-time for a living for many years to come.

5th Place – Roman Valerstein hoped to win his second gold ring, following his debut victory at Caesars Atlantic City, in 2009.  However, Valerstein ran into some tough competition and could place no higher than fifth.  He is a 25-year-old poker pro from the Philadelphia area.  Valerstein has a college degree in biology and is also a serious chess player.  This marked his fifth final table appearance in a WSOP Circuit event.

4th Place – Andrew Piore ended up in fourth place.  He is a 23-year-old poker pro from Utica, NY.  Piore attended college and planned to enter law school, but has been doing well as a player and now plays full time.  He’s won a few events, most notably tournaments held at the Mohegan Sun and at the Empire State Poker Championships.

3rd Place – Patricia Till took the third spot.  She lives in Brownsburg, IN and works in sales.  This marked her 12 WSOP-related final table appearance.  She finished third in the 2008 Ladies World Poker Championship.

2nd Place – Abbey Daniels was the runner up.  She is a corporate CEO.  Within poker circles, she is best known as a partner in the new U.S. Women’s Poker Academy, which serves to introduce more women to the game and teach them to improve.  This was Daniel’s second final table appearance at a major tournament in Florida within the past year.  She also final tabled a WPT event played at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino.  Daniels received $15,285 for second place.

1st Place – Jake Schindler, from Philadelphia, PA (a.k.a. Jacob Schindler) won his first WSOP Circuit title and collected $24,736 in prize money.  His previous accomplishments included two cashes at last year’s WSOP in Las Vegas – including a deep run in the $5,000 buy-in Six-Handed NLHE event.

With his victory, Schindler moves near the top of the leaderboard in this WSOP Circuit stop’s “Best All-Around Player” standings.  The current leader is Charles Flett, who has second and seventh place finishes – good for the highest point total.  Here are all the gold ring winners, so far: 

EVENT #1 – Anh Lu defeated 2,607 players in NLHE and won $183,750
EVENT #2 – Loni Harwood defeated 500 players in NLHE and won $30,994
EVENT #3 – Jason Reep defeated 247 players in HORSE and won $17,270
EVENT #4 – Adam Cook defeated 413 players in NLHE and won $26,142
EVENT #5 – Jake Schindler defeated 391 players in 6-HANDED NLHE and won $24,736


The player who accumulates the most overall points in the PBKC’s twelve combined gold ring tournaments receives a pre-paid entry into the $1 million 2011-2012 WSOP Circuit National Championship.  At least two players from this tournament series will qualify for the WSOP Circuit National Championship, which is classified as a WSOP gold bracelet event.  The other automatic qualifier will be the winner of Main Event championship (to be held Jan. Feb. 25-27).

With the first five tournaments wrapped up, there are still seven more gold ring events remaining in what is being billed as a “12 rings in 12 days” poker series.  The WSOP Circuit at the Palm Beach Kennel Club continues through February 27th.  This year’s schedule includes not only all the gold ring events, but multiple second-chance tournaments, single table and mega satellites, plus cash games going around the clock inside the action-packed poker room

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MORE ABOUT THE WSOP CIRCUIT AT PALM BEACH KENNEL CLUB

This marks the second consecutive season that the Palm Beach Kennel Club (PBKC) has hosted a WSOP Circuit stop.  Last year’s attendance and prize pool figures were so strong, that the decision to return once again to sunny South Florida once again was inevitable.

Indeed, PBKC continues to distance itself from the other dogs in Florida’s highly-competitive poker race.  This year, PBKC will be hosting 12 WSOP Circuit gold ring poker tournaments over a two-week period.  Tournaments officially began on Thursday, February 16th with Event #1 – which included a one-million dollar guarantee.  This marked the first time in history that any tournament of that size ($500 buy-in) offered a guaranteed million-dollar payout.

The following 12 days are sure to be packed with multiple tournaments and around-the-clock cash-game action.  The poker festival concludes on February 28th with the final table of the $1,600 buy-in Main Event Championship.
 
“Florida poker has officially arrived and partnering with the World Series of Poker is as special as it gets," said Noah Carbonne, Director of Poker Operations for the Palm Beach Kennel Club.  "We're thrilled to be involved with the Rolls Royce of poker – which is the WSOP.  For all of us here at the Palm Beach Kennel Club, the State of Florida, and most importantly the thousands of poker players here in the southeast as well as those attending from around the country, we are ready to make history – especially with our million-dollar guarantee, which has never been offered before for an event of its size.”

Gold ring tournaments are only a fraction of what’s on the poker menu at the Palm Beach Kennel Club.  Second-chance No-Limit Hold’em tournaments will be running from day one.  The deep-stack tournaments will cost $235 to enter and begin nightly at 7 pm.  Satellites for all gold ring tournaments will also be going regularly inside the poker room.  Several mega-satellites for the Main Event Championship will also be offered.

The PBKC initially opened in 1932, making it one of the oldest pari-mutual racetracks in the country.  Owned and operated by the famous Rooney Family (which also owns the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers), the track has been a popular attraction and a leisurely way to spend an afternoon for locals and visitors alike.  Known for its live greyhound racing and simulcasts from numerous racetracks all over the country, PBKC jettisoned into a new era last year when it expanded its poker facility, which is now one of the largest poker rooms in Florida.

About a year ago, PBKC expanded its poker operations to include 64 tournament tables.  PBKC is the first dog track to ever host a WSOP-related tournament.  Each final table takes place in a premium location near the main grandstand, which enables everyone close to the poker action to cheer on the greyhounds, as well.  Naturally, betting windows will be close by for those who want to mix in some racing action with poker playing.  Dog races take place most days starting at 1 pm.  There are also dog races nightly on weekends.
 
PBKC is conveniently located just steps away from the West Palm Beach international Airport, which offers direct flights from all over the country.  Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is also close by.  Several hotels are situated near the dog track and poker facility, to accommodate all budgets.  The cardroom offers regular shuttle service to and from at least three nearby hotels.  Special hotel rate packages for poker players are available.
 
It’s not too late to be part of the biggest poker event in Florida history.  West Palm Beach is well-known for its sandy white beaches, luxury hotels, fine restaurants, great shopping, and plenty of sunshine.  And now, there will be great poker action around the clock at the PBKC.  The complete schedule and structure sheets for all events can be viewed at WSOP.COM
 
PBKC is the 11th of 17 WSOP Circuit stops this season.  All players over age 21 are eligible to compete for a seat in the $1 million freeroll event which crowns the WSOP Circuit National Championship point race.  This season's top 100 players who qualify will compete in the first-ever nationally-televised championship, which will take place in Las Vegas, in May 2012.  The winner of that extraordinary event will receive the most coveted prize in all of poker, a WSOP gold bracelet.