James Henson Crosses the Finish Line First at West Palm Beach

West Palm Beach, FL (February 24 2012) – The World Series of Poker Circuit at the Palm Beach Kennel Club has now crossed the midway point.

With seven gold ring tournaments now complete (of 12), the homestretch is ahead with a busy concluding weekend coming up.
 
The latest tournament champion is James Henson, from Lake Jackson, TX. 

Henson is a 54-year-old orthodontist.  He is currently taking some time off, traveling around the country and playing poker.  Henson is married and has four children.

For his victory, Henson collected $33,432 in prize money.  He was also presented with the coveted gold ring, which is the ultimate token of achievement for winning a WSOP Circuit tournament.  

This marked the seventh time Henson has cashed on the WSOP Circuit.  He came very close to winning on a few other occasions, with a third-place showing a few years ago at Harrah’s New Orleans as his deepest previous run.  Henson also has three cashes at the WSOP in Las Vegas, including one final table appearance.

The runner up was Drew Dumanski.  He is a 21-year-old poker player from Richardson, TX.

In fact, the top three finishers in this tournament all had Texas roots.  Henson is from the Houston area, while the second and third place finishers were originally from Dallas.

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Officially listed as Event #7 -- the $555 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament attracted 290 entries – a nice field size considering this was played during the middle of the week.  The total prize pool came to $139,300.  The top 30 players were paid.  All players who cashed received WSOP Circuit National Championship ranking points.

A full list of all players that cashed in Event #7 can be seen here.

The first day’s action resulted in the elimination of ninety percent of the starting players.  There were only 19 survivors who resumed action on Day Two.  After another few hours of play, the field was trimmed down to the final table.  The nine finalists and their starting chip counts were as follows:

SEAT 1:  Chad Batista (Fort Lauderdale, FL) – 580,000 in chips
SEAT 2:  James Hensen ((Lake Jackson, TX) – 370,000 in chips
SEAT 3:  Glenn Poole (Memphis, TN) – 145,000 in chips
SEAT 4:  Jerry Payne (Dayton, OH) – 195,000 in chips
SEAT 5:  John Devia (West Palm Beach, FL) – 300,000 in chips
SEAT 6:  Stuart McMahen (Springhill, LA) – 410,000 in chips
SEAT 7:  Drew Dumanski (Richardson, TX) – 983,000 in chips
SEAT 8:  Lou Stadler (Miami, FL) – 260,000 in chips
SEAT 9:  John C. Harris (Bakersfield, CA) – 175,000 in chips

The finalists were eliminated as follows:

9th Place – Glenn Poole was the first player to hit the rail.  He was the shortest stack when play began and lasted only a short time.  Poole is a 27-year-old poker pro from Memphis, TN.  His best previous showing was a second-place finish at a major tournament in Biloxi (Mississippi), where he pocketed $185,000.  This was his first time to cash in a WSOP-related tournament.

8th Place – Lou Stadler finished in eighth place.  He is a 35-year-old poker pro from Miami, FL.  Tadler owns the “Miami Poker Society,” which is the largest amateur bar poker league in the Miami area.  Prior to playing full time, he was a record label owner.  He has one previous cash at the WSOP in Las Vegas.  This marked his first time to cash in a WSOP Circuit event.
 
7th Place – Stuart McMahen exited in seventh place.  His backbreaking came hand about 90 minutes into the finale when he lost a huge pot holding pocket queens versus an inferior hand that made two pair.  McMahen is a 30-year-old lawyer from Springhill, LA.  This marked his third time to cash this season on the WSOP Circuit.

6th Place – Jerry Payne ended up as the sixth-place finisher.  He is a 33-year-old poker pro from Dayton, OH.  Prior to playing for a living, Payne worked as a retail manager.  Payne made a tremendous run in last year’s WSOP Main Event Championship, where he finished in 42nd place – which was good for more than $200,000.  This marked his eighth time to cash on the WSOP Circuit.

5th Place – Chad Batista took fifth place.  He is a 31-year-old poker pro from Henderson, NV.  This marked Batista’s fifth time to cash on the WSOP Circuit.  He also has three WSOP cashes in Las Vegas.  Batista’s breakthrough victory in tournament poker took place five years agao when he won the Main Event at Caesars Indiana – which awarded $262,000 in prize money plus a WSOP Circuit gold ring.

4th Place – John Devia exited in fourth place.  He took a tough beat on his final hand, but did end up with a nice cashout totaling $11,168.  This was Devia’s first time to cash in a WSOP-related event.

3rd Place – John C. Harris took third place.  He is a 32-year-old casino manager from Bakersfield, CA.  Harris, who is originally from the Dallas area, is a Texas Tech graduate.  He now manages a 15-table cardroom and casinoin California’s central valley.  Harris collected a nice payout totaling $15,137.

2nd Place – Drew Dumanski, a 21-year-old poker pro from the Dallas area, finished as the runner up.  He had a formidable task ahead once place became short-handed.  When heads-up play began, rival Henson enjoyed about a 6 to 1 chip advantage.  Dumanski shoved all-in on what turned out to be his final hand, with a straight draw.  He was called and ultimately missed catching a card that might have given him a shot to seize the lead.  Instead, Dumanski pocketed $20,661 in prize money – his biggest payout, to date.

1st Place – James Henson won his first WSOP Circuit victory following numerous cashes and deep runs on other tournaments.  He received $33,432 in prize money, plus the WSOP Circuit gold ring.

With his victory, Henson 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 currently has two deep runs -- 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
EVENT #6 – Joseph Casella defeated 353 players and won $23,315
EVENT #7 – James Henson defeated 290 players and won $33,432


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.