For Fourth Consecutive Year, Harrah’s Rincon Plays Host to the World’s Most Prestigious Poker Tournament Series

Kenny Bedoya is the Chip Leader After Day One in Championship Event 

Valley Center, CA – For the fourth straight year, the World Series of Poker Circuit has returned to Southern California.  The Harrah’s Rincon Casino-Resort, nestled in the cool mountains 45-miles away from sunny San Diego, is currently hosting the eighth of 12 WSOP Circuit stops on this year’s tour.  The $5,000 buy-in championship event began today, which coincidently is “Super Tuesday” for California and voters scattered all across the country.

Just as “Super Tuesday” is likely to go a long way towards nominating the next American president, today’s tournament results at Harrah’s Rincon are certain to weigh heavily on the latest WSOP Circuit championship.  At the end of Day One, Kenny Bedoya from San Francisco stands at the top of the leader board with a whopping 438,400 in chips.  He holds a nearly 190,000 advantage over Peter Neff who is currently in second place.  Michael Pickett ranks third with 215,200.  Incredibly, no other player of the remaining 24 has greater than 174,000 in chips.

This year’s championship attracted 148 entries creating a total prize pool of $706,800.  Several notable poker pros and celebrities entered the prestigious event including former WSOP gold bracelet winners Lee Watkinson, Tom Schneider, Layne Flack, Brandon Cantu, Bill Edler, and Jeff Madsen.  Celebrities included Dr. Jerry Buss and Frank Mariani, part-owners of the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers.  Former WSOP Circuit event winners included Evan Schwartz, Matthew Glantz, and the defending Harrah’s Rincon champion from 2007, Peter Feldman.  Other poker notables who entered included Erick Lindgren, Gavin Smith, Nick DiLeo, Michael Banducci, Allen Kessler, Alex Jacob, Vanessa Ruosso, Travis Erdman, and Chad Brown.  Day One of the main event was rounded out by the reigning world poker champion Jerry Yang, who made history by winning $8.5 million at last year’s WSOP.  Yang is from nearby Temecula, CA, which is about 25 miles away from Harrah’s Rincon.

“This is like home to me….this is my turf,” said Yang during a break in the tournament.  “I have seen a lot of my friends here and some of them have even come to watch me play.  It’s really a great feeling to come back to Rincon as the world poker champion.  I am so overwhelmed with how nice people have been to me and am so pleased to see Harrah’s Rincon host another World Series Circuit tournament.”

Despite Yang’s high praise, he did not survive past the first day.  In fact, 121 players were eliminated – leaving just 27 players still alive to compete for the championship.  The tournament’s top 18 finishers will collect prize money.  The 2008 Harrah’s Rincon champion will receive $229,002 plus an $11,000 bonus prize – good for a guaranteed seat in the 2008 WSOP championship event to be held later this year in Las Vegas.  The winner also receives a commemorative gold and diamond ring, presented to each and every WSOP Circuit champion. 

Play on Day Two continues on Wednesday, February 6th starting at 2 pm.  Day Three starts on Thursday as the tournament’s nine survivors will take their places at the final table.  The championship finale will be broadcast on a one-hour tape delay over the Internet starting at 3 pm PST.  Viewers can tune in and watch coverage at the official WSOP website at:
Past winners of the Harrah’s Rincon WSOP Circuit championship include:

2005 -- Chris “Jesus” Ferguson 
2006 – Darrell “Gigabet” Dicken
2007 – Peter Feldman

Prize Money Payouts:

1st $229,002 (plus $WSOP main event entry)
2nd 120,156
3rd 70,680
4th 56,544
5th 42,408
6th 35,340
7th 28,272
8th 21,204
9th 14,136
10th 11,309
11th 11,309
12th 11,309
13th 9,895
14th 9,895
15th 9,895
16th 8,482
17th 8,482
18th 8,482
End of Day One Standings:

Bedoya, Kenny         438,400 1 9
Neff, Peter           251,000 1 8
Picket, Michael         215,200 3 2
Orvis, William Kyle         174,000 3 4
Hyman, Matthew         168,100 3 5
Peters, David         162,300 2 4
Eaton. Jan           147,400 1 2
Sabat, Edward         113,100 3 9
Callier, Doug          110,700 3 1
Schwartz, Evan         108,600 2 5
Dolan, Michael         108,500 1 4
Oborne, Damien         107,400 1 6
Smith, Gavin         99,600 3 7
Ruosso, Vanessa         89,800 2 2
Reese, Scott         88,800 2 9
Watkinson, Lee         87,500 1 1
Reese, Brannon         64,500 2 3
Van Horne, Bob         55,300 3 6
Tran, Theo           55,000 2 7
Hwang, Sang Jin         54,000 X X
Katz, Michael         53,900 2 8
Moustakis, Constantine         50,100 1 3
Avendano, Cristian         48,000 1 7
Smith, Danny         47,500 3 3
West, Tom           39,900 2 1
Segni, Ron           12,600 1 5
De Best, Pete         10,500 2 6