Los Angeles, CA (January 5, 20112) – The World Series of Poker Circuit continued today at The Bicycle Casino, located in the Bell Gardens section of Los Angeles.
The latest tournament champion is Adam Bishop, from Reno, NV. He is a 30-year-old professional poker player with a number of major tournament cashes. However, this was his first WSOP-related victory.
Bishop collected $20,958 in prize money for his win. He was also presented with the coveted WSOP Circuit gold ring, the top prize awarded to all Circuit event winners.
Bishop’s tournament record includes a whopping six previous victories – all since 2007. He’s won four tournaments at various Pot of Gold series’, held in Reno. However, Bishop’s last significant score was two years ago, making this win all the sweeter.
“I finally broke through tonight,” Bishop confided after his victory. “I came so close the past 6 or 7 months to winning another, but I’d always get drawn out on. It feels incredible to take this down.”
Bishop was a circus act to watch at the final table. Each time he was involved in a big hand, he would walk far away from the final table and cover his eyes and ears. He’d stomp around and peak up, looking for a hint that he won the hand. “Did I win, did I win?” Bishop would often shout across the room as the cards tumbled onto the felt and chips were pushed to his steadily growing stack.
Yes indeed, Mr. Bishop. You did win.
Then there was the story of the runner up. Just as impressive was the performance of Mark Allen from Redondo Beach, CA. Allen arrived at the final table ranked dead last in chips. But he was able to maneuver his way gradually up the money ladder all the way to a second-place finish. Although Allen rarely picked up a big hand or doubled through, he nonetheless took the prize as the late closer in the tournament.
Event #3 was a two-day $300 (+45) No-Limit Hold’em tournament, which attracted 313 entrants. Play began on Wednesday at noon and concluded on Thursday night. The total prize pool came to $91.083. The top 36 finishers were paid. All players who cashed received WSOP Circuit National Championship ranking points – used to qualify for a seat in the season-ending championship, to be played in Las Vegas.
A full list of all players who cashed in Event #3 can be seen at WSOP.COM
The first day resulted in the elimination of 289 players. There were 24 survivors who resumed action on Day Two and then played down to the final table, which commenced play on an unseasonably warm Thursday afternoon inside The Bicycle Casino’s tournament room. The nine finalists and their chips counts were as follows:
SEAT 1: Corey Cutrell (Mountlake Terrace, WA) – 603,000 in chips
SEAT 2: Alex Leyberman (Mar Vista, CA) – 290,000 in chips
SEAT 3: Mark Allen (Redondo Beach, CA) – 151,000 in chips
SEAT 4: Gregory McCullough (Chicago, IL) – 291,000 in chips
SEAT 5: Adam Bishop (Reno, NV) – 371,000 in chips
SEAT 6: Noah Fonosch (Inland Empire, CA) – 506,000 in chips
SEAT 7: Estrella Baltazar (Carson, CA) -- 507,000 in chips
SEAT 8: Chris Swan (San Jose, CA) – 238,000 in chips
SEAT 9: Tom Braband (Cedarburg, WI) – 173,000 in chips
From the start, it appeared to be a two-player race between Corey Cutrell and Noah Fonosch who jointly possesed about 40 percent of the total chips in play. But the early chips leaders did not fare well.
Final table play began at 4:30 pm local time. Play finished at 8:30 pm making the total duration about four hours. The official order of finish was as follows:
9th Place – Noah Fonosch endured what can only be described as a dismal half-hour at the final table. He arrived with one of the big stacks but won no hands of any consequence during his short stay at the table.
8th Place – Gregory McCullough, a.k.a. “Chainsaw” was cut away from the final table about an hour into play. He is a 21-year-old poker player and electrician from the Chicago area. He previously played a lot of online poker, but is now playing more live events since he is now of legal age. This marked McCollogh’s first time to cash in a WSOP-related tournament.
7th Place – Estrella Baltazar, from Carson, CA ended up in seventh place. She is a finance manager who was born in the Philippines. Baltazar, a.k.a. “Star” now has more than 60 major tournament cashes on her impressive tournament resume, which includes three wins. Her career earnings from live tournaments now amounts to more than $250,000. This marked her first time to cash a WSOP Circuit event. Baltazar has previously cashed twice at the WSOP in Las Vegas.
4th Place – Tom Braband, a 26-year-old poker pro from Wisconsin, badgered his way to a fourth place finish. He took fourth place in the WPT’s Main Event held at The Bike two years ago. Braband repeated that performance in this tournament, although he could probably take a bit more satisfaction this time starting from eighth place in chips and ending up much higher on the money ladder than expected. Braband now has nearly $400,000 in combined live tournament winnings and 21 major cashes.
3rd Place – Alex Leyberman, a Russian-born 27-year-old poker pro from Mar Vista, CA took third place. He is/was mostly an online poker player up until the events of last year. But like many poker players, Leyberman is now playing much more frequently in live games now. This was his fourth major tournament cash and first time to finish in the money in a WSOP-related event. Third place paid $9,450.
2nd Place – Mark Allen, an educator from Redondo Beach, CA finished as the runner up. He played a marvelous tournament, holding on with a short stack all the way to a second-place showing. Allen, who cashed at each of the last two WSOPs played in Las Vegas (both in $1,500 buy-in events), was playing in a WSOP Circuit event for the first time. His debut performance was most impressive indeed, worth $12,960 in prize money.
Predictably, Allen proved to be a stubborn final opponent for Bishop. Although he was outchipped by 8 to 1 (or more) during heads-up play, Allen still lasted more than 30 hands in the duel. Bishop would ultimately close out his victory on the following hand:
Bishop slowplayed his monster hand perfectly. He got Allen to commit all of his chips after the flop. Bishop, holding the big overpair, made a small bet after the flop. Allen raised and then called his opponent’s all-in shove. He was down to just a few outs, but missed. Bishop was declared the new champion, with Allen taking the runner-up spot.
1st Place – Adam Bishop finished in first place and won his first career WSOP Circuit gold ring. He collected $20,958 in prize money.
With his victory, Bishop now rockets to the top of the leader board alongside two other names -- Huy Quach and Steve Graner (winners of Events #1 and #2 respectively) -- as the early leaders in this WSOP Circuit’s “Best All-Around Player” standings. The one player who accumulates the most overall points in The Bike’s twelve combined gold ring tournaments receives a pre-paid entry into the $1 million 2011-2012 WSOP Circuit National Championship, to be held in Las Vegas at the end of this season. 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 The Bicycle Casino’s Main Event championship.