POTAWATOMI CIRCUIT - HUB

January 31, 2018 - 07:43:49 PM EST  | 

POTAWATOMI CIRCUIT - HUB

This page is the hub for information on the WSOP Circuit at Potawatomi. Check back here (wsop.com/n/81v) for updated information and links on this ongoing tournament series.

Milwaukee, Wis. (February 12, 2018) -- ­Gold bracelet owner Keven Stammen is the Potawatomi Main Event Champion. The 32-year-old poker pro from Ohio outmatched 604 entrants in Event #10: $1,675 No-Limit Hold'em Main Event to win his first gold ring and $190,265.

Eddie Blumenthal accumulated 102.5 points to become the Potawatomi Casino Champion.

Both players receive an automatic bid to the 2018 Global Casino Championship.



Completed Events

Event #1: $365 No-Limit Hold'em 30-Minute Levels (Single Re-Entry)
Results | Official Report | Winner's Photo

Event #2: $365 Pot-Limit Omaha Re-Entry
Results | Official Report | Winner's Photo

Event #3: $365 No-Limit Hold'em Re-Entry
Results | Official Report | Winner's Photo

Event #4: $580 No-Limit Hold'em (Single Re-Entry)
Results | Official Report | Winner's Photo

Event #5: $365 No-Limit Hold'em Six Max Re-Entry
Results | Official Report | Winner's Photo

Event #6: $365 No-Limit Hold'em (Single Re-Entry)
Results | Official Report | Winner's Photo

Event #7: $365 No-Limit Hold'em Monster Stack (Single Re-Entry)
Results | Official Report | Winner's Photo

Event #8: $2,200 No-Limit Hold'em High Roller Re-Entry
Results | Official Report | Winner's Photo

Event #9: $365 No-Limit Hold'em Turbo Re-Entry
Results | Official Report | Winner's Photo

Event #10: $365 No-Limit Hold'em Main Event
Results | Official Report | Winner's Photo

Event #11: $365 No-Limit Hold'em Turbo Re-Entry
Results | Official Report | Winner's Photo

Event #12: $365 No-Limit Hold'em Double Stack Re-Entry
Results | Official Repot | Winner's Photo

 


 Casino Champion Race

Eddie Blumenthal improved points sum with a 14th-place finish in the Main Event. The deep run was worth another 20 points, bringing the Wisconsin native's total to 102.5. With the final event of the series finishing up last night, and no one left to catch him, Blumenthal is the Potawatomi Casino Champion.

 

 


About the Winners

Michael Wolff: Winner of Event #1

Michael Wolff topped the first event of the Potawatomi series, winning his first World Series of Poker gold ring. The 25-year-old outlasted a field of 368 entrants in Event #1: $365 No-Limit Hold'em 30-Minute Levels (Single Re-Entry) to claim the Circuit title. The tournament concluded in just one day.

It was a somewhat unexpected victory for Wolff. When entering the WSOP playing field, the Midwest native was not exactly "chasing the ring." The Potawatomi Circuit simply provided Wolff with an opportunity to jump into the live tournament scene, on account of his current residence, Madison, Wisconsin, being nearby.

“I play online a lot, and actually it’s mostly cash. Some of my push-fold stuff and, you know, the intricate spots in tournaments, I’m not so sure.” Wolff admitted. “But anytime we’re deep I’m pretty confident versus anyone who is here, basically.”

Along with the debut gold ring, Wolff also banked 50 Casino Championship points, as well as a nice payday of $24,286. The score marks his first-ever WSOP cash.

Sorin Marinca: Winner of Event #2

Sorin Marinca claimed World Series of Poker gold in his strongest field, the Omaha battleground. The Project Manager defeated 197 players in Event #2: $365 Pot-Limit Omaha Re-Entry to win his first Circuit ring and $15,366.

The PLO tournament took two days to complete in the Events Center at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. Marinca sat in the driver seat, as he entered Day 2 with a commanding chip lead over his opponents. The Chicago-area native played a fairly aggressive style, which carried him to the end.

“I play a lot of [PLO] cash games in Chicago, tournaments when they come around,” Marinca mentioned. “Actually, PLO tournaments I feel really comfortable in. I’ve done pretty well in them in the past.”

Marinca is a casual player who occasionally hits the felt to simply have a good time. Of course, winning makes the good times even better. When the final card landed, he was met by high-fives and congratulations from his Chicago-area rail.

Leevy Yoesep: Winner of Event #3

Leevy Yoesep achieved a debut, World Series of Poker Circuit gold ring on Sunday at the Potawatomi Circuit stop. The 62-year-old navigated through a field of 1,467 entrants in Event #3: $365 No-Limit Hold'em Re-entry.

Yoesep emerged from the third starting leg, Flight C, with 125,000 in chips to his name, placing him in the middle of the pack for Day 2. From there, Yoesep carved his way to the final table, and sat as the chip leader to boot. It was quite an unfamiliar position for the casual poker player.

“Normally, I play on weekends; just $2/$5 cash games. This is my fourth tournament I’m playing,” Yoesep admitted. “I was here last year. I made it to second day, but I got busted.”

Although Yoesep's tournament experience was lacking, he did not falter, ultimately scooping the Event #3 honors. Along with the golden hardware, he took home $67,649 and 50 Casino Championship, an unforgettable score for the Illinois resident, originally from Urmia, Iran.

Yoesep moved to the United States in 1979 and has been playing poker for nearly 40 years. He hopes to retire in the near future, which would provide him with more free time to search for more success on the felt.

Brant Graves: Winner of Event #4

Brant Graves achieved made his dream a reality at the Potawatomi Circuit series on Monday. The 31-year-old claimed his first WSOP gold ring after defeating a field of 108 entrants in Event #4: $580 No-Limit Hold'em (Single Re-Entry).

“I can’t even like put into words to like how this feels,” Graves expressed. “You know, when the Circuits came out… I wanted to make it a goal to just win at least one ring in my lifetime. It was a huge life goal for me in poker, and it finally happened today.”

The tournament took two days to conclude and was ultimately decided by a three-way all in. When the last card was dealt and the dust settled, an overwhelming feeling of relief and glory fell over Graves, as he was deemed a champion. The triumph meant a lot to Graves, for multiple reasons.

Firstly, he has been chasing a ring ever since his twin brother, Chad Graves, won one back in 2010. Aside from catching up to his close sibling, Graves was able to achieve the victory at Potawatomi, a casino in his own neck of the woods.

“I live here in Milwaukee. I’ve lived here my entire life,” stated Graves. “I think Milwaukee is a great poker city and I think there are a lot of great players here. It just means a great deal to win here in my backyard.”

“I haven’t really played that many tournaments this past year,” said Graves. “I’m getting married this year. So, I actually put off a lot of other Circuits to save money for the wedding, but I was not going to miss this one.”

Nothing was going to keep Graves away when the WSOP came to town, and it is a good thing nothing did. The Wisconsin native took home $16,199 and banked 50 Casino Championship points along with the memorable piece of Circuit gold.

Lee Rzentkowski: Winner of Event #5

Lee Rzentkowski secured his second World Series of Poker gold ring on Tuesday at the Potawatomi Circuit series. The 46-year-old conquered a field of 277 entrants in Event #5: $365 No-Limit Hold'em Six Max Re-Entry to win $21,609 and double up on Circuit hardware in the process.

“I think this one is a little bit more important, just because it validates the first one,” Rzentkowski explained. “I don’t play a lot, but it’s fun to get out and take some time off work.”

Rzentkowski is a Finance Director by trade, a career that admittedly aids in his poker endeavors. The Wisconsin native won his debut gold ring back in 2014 at the Horseshoe Hammond Circuit stop. Both victories came in No-Limit Hold’em events, but this time around Rzentkowski was faced with six-handed play.

Although Rzentkowski’s play was solid during heads-up action, he could simply not deliver the final blow, a scenario that had him on the edge of tilting. However, even after many failed attempts, he kept his composure and the moment of triumph finally came.

Rzentkowski stood up in relief and embraced his mother who was watching from the rail during the final stage. During the post-win interview, he made another important, family tribute to cap things off.

“I really want to thank my wife and kids for supporting me,” Rzentkowski stated.

Richard Stevens: Winner of Event #6

Richard Stevens graced the World Series of Poker winner's circle early Wednesday morning. The retired military officer topped a 293-entrant field in Event #6: $365 No-Limit Hold’em (Single Re-Entry) to earn himself $21,097 and his first WSOP gold ring.

It was a goal of Stevens to win and event and he did not take long to succeed in his mission. The 50-year-old only recently began playing poker full time, after retiring from service this past summer.

“Professionally, this would be my first year playing… started in January [2018],” Stevens stated. “I’m a retired Lieutenant Colonel from the Army. I retired in June.”

During his time as an officer in the United States Army, Stevens would occasionally seek out a cash game or live tournament when he could.

“I used to play a lot at Maryland Live and MGM,” said Stevens. “That’s where I got schooled at and now I’m ready to join the professional ranks.”

In addition to finding the time to hone his poker abilities, Stevens gained a lot of useful characteristics from his military career.

“A lot of the skills I learned in the Army really relates to poker; having patients and I’m a strategic planner, so thinking ahead,” Stevens referred.

Having a mind for the game led Stevens to the gold-ring triumph in Event #6. The finish marks his first WSOP cash. Although the Chicago native, now living in Shakopee, Minnesota, does have a handful of other tournament cashes, his recent score is above and beyond the rest.

“I’m going to try and play more events. That’s my goal,” Stevens expressed. “And spend a few weeks out in Vegas this summer.”

Ryan Skluzak: Winner of Event #7

Ryan Skluzak came away with his first World Series of Poker gold ring on Thursday at the Potawatomi Circuit stop. The 42-year-old Midwesterner conquered a large field of 681 entrants in Event #7: $365 No-Limit Hold'em Monster Stack (Single Re-Entry).

Although it was his first triumph on the WSOP stage, Skluzak is no stranger to the winner's circle. In fact, the Farmer/Seed Dealer from South Dakota is a back-to-back State Champion. Skluzak was asked to compare his recent achievement with his 2016 and 2017 honors.

“South Dakota State Poker Championships, obviously, are smaller fields. I beat a field of 81 and 131,” said Skluzak. “Still, a really good accomplishment, but having just the experienced players that you have here. It just makes it feel so much more accomplished.”

Along with his debut gold ring, Skluzak will be returning home to his wife and three kids with a $41,888 payday. However, the significant conquest may have never come to light if it were not for a fateful phone call.

“I cashed in the event prior to this one,” Skluzak mentioned “And then, being as I did, my wife talked me in to staying and playing the Monster Stack because she knows I love the Monster Stack events.”

Timothy Miles: Winner of Event #8

TK Miles won his second WSOP circuit ring and $63,599 in Event #8: $2,200 High Roller. He beat Joshua Shmerl heads up – overcoming a twenty-to-one chip deficit.

That left Miles with about 400,000 heads up against Shmerl. Miles was down to about 180,000 before doubling up two times, to bridge much of the huge gap between himself and Shmerl. Then Miles spent the next few hours chipping away at the lead, before eventually overtaking Shmerl and then winning the tournament.

“He was on fire for the entire final table until heads up,” said Miles, who added that he wasn’t really worried about the chip deficit.

“It’s a tournament. It can go anywhere, sometimes it just comes down to a flip.”

Miles won two all ins when he was at risk. So the tournament could easily have been over if he hadn’t connected with the flop when he got ace-queen in against the pocket eights of Shmerl. Miles slowly gained a chip lead and, in the end, scooped up every chip in play.

Miles grew up in Tallahassee and now lives in Miami.

“I mostly play down there, but I travel when it suits me. This is the second time I’ve come to Potawatami and I really like this stop.”

This is Miles’ second WSOP circuit ring. The first was from 2007 when he won $1,000 No Limit for $80,704. Today, he takes home the $63,599 first prize and with this win now has $882,003 in total WSOP earnings.

Eddie Blumenthal: Winner of Event #9

Eddie Blumenthal added to his already-impressive résumé by picking up a debut, World of Series Poker title. The Wisconsin native defeated a field of 267 players in Event #9: $365 No-Limit Hold'em Turbo Re-Entry at the Potawatomi Circuit series. The conquest provided Blumenthal with his first piece of WSOP gold.

Along with the gold ring, Blumenthal also claimed the $19,623 top prize, which solidified his 30th career cash with the renowned poker brand. Overall, Blumenthal's total WSOP earnings now sit just $16,171 short of one million dollars.

The 32-year-old has been playing poker professionally for many years. Though he has implemented a cutback in recent years, his solid showing at the Milwaukee Circuit could be a spark that draws him back to a more full-time position in poker.

“I’ve actually not been playing a ton of poker the last couple of years, compared to what I normally do,” said Blumenthal. “I kind of decided recently to get back into it more. So, maybe this is some good positive reinforcement that I should probably keep pursuing that.”

Keven Stammen: Winner of Event #10

A Main Event Champion was crowned Monday evening at the World Series of Poker Circuit stop at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. Keven Stammen outmatched 604 entrants to be the last man standing in Event #10: $1,675 No-Limit Hold’em Main Event. The 32-year-old poker pro earned his first Circuit gold ring, and second piece of WSOP gold.

Stammen has been playing poker for a living for about 12 years. During his time as a professional in the WSOP arena, Stammen has racked up nearly $1.1 million in earnings and owns one of the most coveted trophies in poker, a gold bracelet. Stammen won his bracelet back in 2009 at the 40th annual World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.

“Feels similar,” Stammen replied when asked to compare his two WSOP title experiences. “I always wanted to play that Cherokee thing, so that’s pretty cool…  I’m ready.”

Both conquests were good for a six-figure payday. Stammen’s bracelet win was worth $506,786 and his recent ring victory granted him $190,265. On top of the prize money and gold ring, Stammen will receive an automatic, ($10,000) seat in the Global Casino Championship, which will be held at Harrah’s Cherokee in August.

To reach the momentous achievement, Stammen had to navigate through three days of tournament poker and a tough final table. The Ohio native began by surviving Flight A of Event #10. His stack moved in roller-coaster fashion throughout the day, but he eventually finished with a stable 110,500 in chips.

Stammen chipped up during Day 2. Towards the end of the night, players were engaging in plenty of banter and Stammen was certainly not absent from the action. Some would even say that Stammen’s drinking was getting to him a bit.

“I like to drink and play. I normally don’t feel it too much till the end,” said Stammen “I’m a veteran on the drinking and playing.”

Owning the intoxication, Stammen trudged through to Day 3 with a middle-of-the-pack stack. Seven other players were featured in Day 3 and there was no lack of competition.

Gold bracelet winner John Reading entered the finale as chip leader. Stammen was also up against ten-time gold ring winner Maurice Hawkins, three-time gold ring winner Andy Philachack, and Jose Montes, owner of one gold ring.

Even with all the decorated players at the final table, it boiled down to Stammen and Michael Crawford, an opponent Stammen had tangled with before.

“I got bluffed by the guy that got second, Mike. He bluffed me on a big pot when there were six left. I thought I was done for sure,” said Stammen “But, I fought through, ended up getting aces a few hands later, got me some of my chips back.”

Heads-up action turned blead for Crawford when Stammen hit a nut flush and took over 80% of Crawford’s stack with him. Shortly after that, Stammen sealed the deal, becoming the Potawatomi Main Event Champion.

The payout puts Stammen’s WSOP earnings a step away from $1.3 million. The experienced poker player from Ohio was playing for more than just his statistics though.

“Got a baby on the way, so I gotta make that money. She’s 18 weeks,” Stammen mentioned. Then, he was asked if it was going to be a boy or a girl. “She don’t wanna know. She’s a gambler too,” Stammen replied with a laugh.

Josh Reichard: Winner of Event #11

Josh Reichard captured an astounding 9th World Series of Poker gold ring, and in his home state nonetheless. The 26-year-old from Janesville, Wisconsin showed up late to the Potawatomi Circuit, but made it count when it came to Event #11: $365 No-Limit Hold'em Turbo Re-Entry, which encompassed 266 entries.

A trip down under was the cause of Reichard’s absence during most of the series.

“Took the wife; We went for the Aussie Millions, but then a lot of it was vacation too. We stayed like four days after everything was over and just had a really good time,” Reichard explained. “When I first booked the trip, that was a while ago, and I didn’t realize that I was going to miss so much of this. So, that kind of sucked, but it all worked out.

Reichard’s poker attempts in Australia did not go as well as he hoped. He arrived in Milwaukee just in time to play Flight B of the Potawatomi Main Event. After busting out of that, Reichard jumped in Event #11, a one-day tournament, and seemed to catch fire.

Following a huge pot versus Mark Kroon, Reichard found himself in a commanding position. Eventually, it boiled down to a final pair of players. In a coincidental turn of events, Reichard happened to find himself up against his close friend, Nick Revello.

“There’s been a few times where I’ve gotten heads up with friends and that always makes it so much better,” Reichard expressed. “Nick’s a good friend of mine. If you look at my ring pics he’s probably in like four, or five, of them now.”

Reichard's substantial chip advantage quickly wrapped up the heads-up match. The two pals happily congratulated each other when all was said and done. Revello cashed out for $12,080 in 2nd place and Reichard took home the first-place payout of $19,547.

Reichard is a Wisconsinite through and through, so triumphing at the Milwaukee-based Circuit stop was fitting. It was not a novel feat for Reichard though. The poker pro won his 7th gold ring at the inaugural Potawatomi series last season. Now with nine WSOP gold rings, Reichard is one away from tying Maurice Hawkins and Valentin Vornicu for the all-time lead.

Perry Ernest: Winner of Event #12

Perry Earnest claimed his third World Series of Poker gold ring and $24,358 in the wee hours of Monday morning. The Illinois native outmatched 369 entrants in the final ring event of the Potawatomi Circuit series. Event #12: $365 No-Limit Hold'em Double Stack Re-Entry finished in just one day and ended with Ernest holding all the chips.

“As the tournament went on I got pretty much into a groove,” claimed Ernest “It’s been a long time since I’ve been at a final table for a ring. Right around, I’d say about, five-handed I started feeling more comfortable."

Even though he was faced with formidable opponents, Ernest found a way to buckle down, take home the Circuit title, and have good time in the process.

“I had a blast!” Ernest expressed. “Poker has always been like a hobby to me. This is one of my first loves, poker. I recommend this experience to anybody. Love the experience! I’m going to be playing more.

Although Ernest only plays as a hobby, he certainly knows how to make it count when he enters the felted arena. The 56-year-old now has three rings in 14 WSOP cashes. He bagged his debut gold ring in 2008 at Horseshoe Hammond, then followed it up with a second gold ring at Harrah's Tunica during the same Circuit tour.

These days it is more difficult for Ernest to get out and participate in his admired hobby. The family man keeps busy with a wife, five kids, and a career in real estate investing.

“They [Ernest’s children] started playing basketball, soccer, football, and track… so, really I haven’t played that much over the last seven, eight, years,” Ernest explained.

The Milwaukee-based Circuit, being so close to his Lisle, Illinois residence, and a blessing from his wife, granted Ernest the chance to get back in the game, and he took the opening in full stride.


 


For the full schedule of events here at Potawatomi and/or for more information on the WSOP Circuit, please use the links below.


 
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