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Amidst three rings being won, Ryan Buckholtz capped off a solid series with a deep run in the final event to secure the Casino Championship

Los Angeles, CA (14 March 2018) - Even though Wednesday was the final day of the World Series of Poker Circuit series at the Bicycle Hotel and Casino, there was no shortage of action. There were three rings won and an exciting finish to the Casino Championship race.

Jonathan Tamayo kicked off the day with his fourth ring in a game that he hasn't played in two years, while two other well-known tournament grinders picked up their first rings. Tamayo won the $580 pot-limit Omaha for $10,120, Mike Shariati took down the $1,125 no-limit hold'em bounty event and Pat Lyons earned a ring after defeating a 124-entry field in the $580 no-limit hold'em turbo event.

Despite both Shariati and Lyons having been a familiar face in California poker rooms, both were first time ring winners. Shariati defeated 116 entries and netted $17,405 along with however many $500 bounties he earned, and Lyons took home $17,365 for his victory in the $580 no-limit hold'em turbo event.

 Casino Championship Update

Ryan Buckholtz (pictured) only needed to fade a few other players making a deep run in the final event of the series to hold on to the title, but he ended up making a deep run and finished fourth in the $580 no-limit hold'em turbo event for $5,960. That cemented his place in the Global Casino Championship with 110 points.




 Completed Events

Event 1: David Gibson defeats 358 entries to win $24,705 in $365 no-limit hold'em
Results | Official Report | Winner Photo

Event 2: Hermilo Vargas defeats 1,317 entries to win $82,706 in $365 no-limit hold'em monster stack
Results | Official Report | Winner Photo

Event 3: Ryan Buckholtz defeats 118 entries to win $10,615 in $365 no-limit hold'em
Results | Official Report | Winner Photo

Event 4: JJ De La Garza defeats 100 entries to win $15,000 in $580 no-limit hold'em
Results | Official Report | Winner Photo

Event 5: Ari Engel defeats 108 entries to win $9,730 in $365 Omaha Hi-Lo
Results | Official Report | Winner Photo

Event 6: Matthew Elsby defeats 150 entries to win $12,585 in $365 no-limit hold'em
Results | Official Report | Winner Photo

Event 7: Adam Singer defeats 212 entries to win $17,175 in $365 no-limit hold'em six-max
Results | Official Report | Winner Photo

Event 8: David Pham defeats 705 entries to win $216,790 in $1,675 no-limit hold'em main event
Results | Official Report | Winner Photo

Event 9: Matthew Lambrecht defeats 89 entries to win $85,440 in $3,250 no-limit hold'em high roller
Results | Official Report | Winner Photo

Event 10: Mike Shariati defeats 116 entries to win $17,405 in $1,125 no-limit hold'em bounty
Results | Official Report | Winner Photo

Event 11: Jonathan Tamayo defeats 54 entries to win $10,120 in the $580 pot-limit Omaha
Results | Official Report | Winner Photo

Event 12: Pat Lyons defeats 124 entries to win $17,365 in the $580 No-Limit Hold'em Re-Entry
Results | Official Report | Winner Photo

About The Winners

Event #1: Greg Gibson

Gibson is a retired decorator that took up poker recently after deciding to end his professional career. He plays casually for recreation, but scored big in his first-ever WSOP event. He won the first event of the series, defeating 358 entries to net $24,705 along with his first ring.

The Detroit native and Southern California resident endured setbacks throughout the tournament, but battled back from a short stack multiple times to end up on top. The 68-year-old has been taking part in several smaller tournaments in the area, but according to him, this is the biggest prizepool he's ever competed for.

Event #2: Hermilo Vargas

Vargas is a former taxi cab driver turned poker pro that is a regular in Southern California poker tournaments. He won his first ring three months ago when he won the $365 no-limit hold'em monster stack here at the Bike. At the very next stop, Vargas won the same event to earn his second ring.

Vargas defeated 1,317 entries to earn $82,760. Over the last three months with his two ring wins, Vargas racked up over $156,000. It's only fitting that the native of Mexico now resides in the same city as the city where he's won both of his rings - Bell Gardens.

Event #3: Ryan Buckholtz

Buckholtz won his first ring in the second $365 no-limit hold'em of the series after defeating a field of 118 entries to win $10,615. The Southern California poker pro was a former day trader, but eventually moved to poker. Having played poker professionally for over a decade, Buckholtz recently started diversifying his interests into startups and other business ventures.

The University of North Carolina graduate grew up on the east coast near the nation's capital, but moved out to California after college. After grinding online for many years, he was forced to enter the live arena and is a familiar face at poker tables all over the area.

Event #4: JJ De La Garza

De La Garza is a 31-year-old poker pro from the Los Angeles area. He won his first ring in the $580 no-limit hold'em and earned $15,000 after defeating a 100-entry field. He's a very familiar face at the Bike because of his presence in both the high-stakes cash games and also in the commentary booth.

De La Garza is one of the voices for the Bicycle Casino's streamed in-house cash game show "Live at the Bike." With his involvement in almost anything poker-related at the Bike, it's no surprise that he had one of the bigger rails of the series. With a rail full of friends and family, he defeated Kathleen Solowitz heads-up after a grueling heads-up battle that lasted over four hours.

Event #5: Ari Engel

Before this series, Engel was already considered one of the best players in the history of the WSOP Circuit. He only further cemented that belief by earning his ninth ring in the $365 Omaha Hi-Lo. Luckily for mixed game players, Engel is mostly a no-limit hold'em and doesn't seem to have any plans of making these games a priority.

Engel defeated a talented final table that featured 10-time ring winner Valentin Vornicu, two-time bracelet and ring winner Frankie O'Dell and actor James Woods. The ninth ring moves him into a tie with Josh Reichard, Robert Hankins and Alex Masek for second on the all-time ring list. They are all one behind Vornicu and Maurice Hawkins.

Event #6: Matthew Elsby

Elsby is a limit hold'em cash game specialist originally from Arizona, but now takes up residence in the Los Angeles area because of the abundance of limit hold'em games. Elsby already had a WSOP bracelet from the 2015 WSOP in the $3,000 limit hold'em six-max event, but added a ring to his collection on Friday afternoon.

Elsby won the $365 no-limit hold'em and proved he wasn't only skilled when he was constrained to a fixed betting amount. He defeated Miki Murzi heads-up and secured the title along with $12,585. He only decided to play the event because he was slightly on tilt from a losing cash game session the day before.

Event 7: Adam Singer

Singer is a retired doctor from the Southern California area that started playing poker seriously after he finished practicing medicine. Singer is a regular in both the local cash games and tournaments. He plays the game more for the competition than the money. According to Singer, the accomplishment of earning a ring was much more important than the money.

Singer defeated 212 entries and Justin Chauvin heads-up to take down the only six-max event on the schedule. He came into the final day dead last in chips with five players remaining and about 10 big blinds in his stack. He scored an early double up and then continued to chip up from there. He eventually took the chip lead and eventually the ring.

Event 8: David Pham

Pham, nicknamed 'The Dragon,' is nothing short of a legend of the game. The 51-year-old has been a successful poker pro for nearly two decades. He's earned three bracelets and over $2.5 million in WSOP earnings alone.

His win in the Bicycle Hotel and Casino main event for $216,790 pushed him over the $2.5 million mark in career earnings and gave him his first Circuit ring and a seat into the 2018 Global Casino Championship. Pham is considered by many to be part of the old school poker pros. He was somebody who was playing professionally before the boom in 2003 and watched the game evolve into what it is today. He's put a lot of work into his game recently and its paid off nicely.

Event 9: Matthew Lambrecht

Lambrecht is a poker pro currently residing in South Florida, but has moved around the country while playing tournaments and cash games for a living. He won his second Circuit ring and it was also the biggest score of his career by a landslide.

Lambrecht took down the $3,250 no-limit hold'em high roller event for $85,440. Despite it being his biggest score by over $70,000, Lambrecht seemed cool and collected throughout the entire final table. According to the pro, once he was able to keep the money out of his mind and just focus on playing his best. His first Circuit ring came in 2016 at the Horseshoe Hammond. He won $14,275 in a $365 no-limit hold'em turbo event.

Event 10: Mike Shariati

Shariati is a genetic engineer that was born in Iran, but moved to America after high school. He received a scholarship to the University of South Florida and moved from the middle east to the Tampa, where he received his degree. After college, he received a job offer in Southern California and he made the cross country trek out to the West Coast, where he was reunited with his family from Iran.

Shariati won his first Circuit ring in the $1,125 no-limit hold'em and earned $17,405 for his first piece of WSOP jewelry. In just a few months, Shariati is returning back to Iran for the first time since he left as a teenager. According to Shariati, even though there are no casinos in the country, the game is starting to pick up steam in the Middle East and friends from back home already knew about some of his other major scores in the Los Angeles area.

Event 11: Jonathan Tamayo

Tamayo is the definition of a grinder. The professional poker player from Texas puts in a ton of volume in tournaments and cash games all over the country. He plays mostly no-limit hold'em, but won his fourth career ring in a game he self admittedly hasn't played in two years - pot-limit Omaha.

Tamayo came back on the final day as the short stack with three remaining. He denied Vincent Moscati his eighth ring and Paul Lui his first. He did his best to use general tournament strategy to apply pressure when he felt it was necessary, but according to Tamayo, he was still fairly confused what the right play was since he didn't know the equities as well as he would've liked to.

Event 12: Pat Lyons

Lyons is one of the most entertaining players that you could find at a poker table. He's know to raise and call blind all while laughing and having a good time with his fellow tablemates.The professional gambler handicaps both horse races and sporting events, and is no slouch at the poker table either.

The Northern California made the trek down I-5 and won his first Circuit title in the same venue that he earned his first major title. He won the final event of the series at the Bike, earning $17,365 for defeating a 124-entry field in the $580 no-limit hold'em turbo event.


For the full schedule of events at the Bike or for more information on the WSOP Circuit, use the links below.