Kentucky is known for many things – horseracing, bourbon, bluegrass music, rolling green pastures – and now, the most recent World Series of Poker Circuit champion.  The latest player to be presented with the covered gold ring is George Lusby.  The 42-year-old firefighter from Georgetown, KY scorched the competition in what was unquestionably one of the longest and toughest battles of any final table held at this year’s Caesars Palace series thus far.  Lusby topped a highly-competitive field of 116 entries, each who anted up $1,500 in the two-day No-Limit Hold’em competition.  All the action took place inside the special tournament arena at Caesars.

Lusby survived the first day but was clearly an underdog once the final table began.  In fact, he started off in eighth place out of nine players.  But Lusby patiently waited for the right moments to be aggressive and gradually increased his stack size to the point where he was in a position to win.  Lusby seized the chip lead when play became three-handed and went on to win the top cash prize amounting to $44,724.

The tournament generated $168,780 in prize money.  The top 18 finishers collected payouts.  When final table play began on day two, Brad Hood and Kyle Bowker started as the two biggest stacks.  Bowker would end up in fifth place.  Hood finished as the runner up to Lusby.  The top ten finishers were as follows:

10th Place – Mark Bryan was the first player eliminated.  He moved all-in with pocket sixes, which lost to A-3.  The final board gave a full house to Kyle Bowker who became the new chip leader with the windfall of additional chips.  Meanwhile Bryan, who lives in Irvine, CA settled for $3,798.

9th Place – Steve Hiltz was one of three attorneys to make the final table.  His motion to stay however was denied, and he ended up as the ninth-place finisher.  Hiltz busted out with pocket jacks against A-K after a king flopped.  The Las Vegas local earned $4,691.

8th Place – Next, John White took a tough beat when he made two pair, but lost to Brad Hood’s straight.  In what was the biggest pot of the tournament at the time, Hood scooped 200,000 in chips away from White and regained his chip advantage.  White, a mortgage broker from Portland, OR endured a tournament foreclosure and accepted eighth-place prize money totaling $5,485.

7th Place – Chad Maness was short stacked and moved all-in with A-9.  Unfortunately, he picked a bad time to be aggressive as he was called by A-10.  The dominated hand lost, resulting in the Texan’s elimination.  Maness, who works as a salesman of medical devices pocketed a commission totaling $6,751.

6th Place – Todd Terry busted out next when his K-J was trumped by Gary Hagland’s K-Q.  Both players ended up making a club flush, but Hagland’s queen outkicked Terry’s jack, ending the day for Terry.  The former criminal defense attorney from New York City, who now plays poker full time earned a $8,439 payout.  Terry was the only former WSOP Circuit gold ring winner amongst the final ten.  He won the $1,500 buy-in NLHE event at Harrah’s Atlantic City back in 2006. 

5th Place – An hour passed during which time Brad Hood widened his chip lead by a considerable margin.  On the short end of the see-saw was Kyle Bowker, who had been an early chip leader.  Bowker busted out on a horrible beat.  He played a set of sevens to perfection, but got hammered by a turn card nine when George Lusby had pocket nines and ended up making a higher set.  That put Bowker, a 25-year-old poker pro from upstate New York out at the fifth-place finisher.  Bowker received $10,549. 

4th Place – Gary Hagland was the next player to take a beat.  He flopped two pair, but George Lusby ended up rivering two higher pair and raked in what remained of Hagland’s stack.  Hagland, a construction manager from Colorado, nailed down $13,502 for fourth place.

3rd Place – Lusby continued to roll when play became three-handed.  He drew about even with Hood in chips, while Jason Goldman lost a series of confrontations that left him severely short stacked.  Goldman went out about six hours into the final table when his pockets fives lost to pocket sixes.  The last of three lawyers who made the finale collected $17,300.  This marked Goldman’s third time to make a WSOP Circuit final table.

2nd Place – When heads-up play began, George Lusby enjoyed about a 3 to 1 chip advantage over Brad Hood.  About ten hands into the duel, Hood moved all-in with A-9 which was called by Lusby, with K-10.  The final board gave Lusby three kings and his first WSOP Circuit title ever.  As the runner up, Brad Hood from Pittsburgh, PA earned $27,005.

1st Place – George Lusby is from a small town in Kentucky located near Lexington.  This was his 18th time to cash in a major tournament, most of the previous finishes taking place near his home in the Midwest.  Lusby plans to play in as many tournaments as his free time will allow.  He came to the WSOP Circuit in Las Vegas on vacation.  He returns to his job as a firefighter later this week, albeit nearly 45-grand richer.  Not many people can say that after taking a “Vegas Vacation.”

With 11 of 22 events now completed at Caesars Palace Las Vegas, the WSOP Circuit has reached its midway point.  Tournaments have attracted more nearly 2,500 total entries and have awarded in excess of $2 million in total prize money.  Still to come are 11 more events, including the $5,000 buy-in championship which begins on April 27tth.  The WSOP Circuit at Caesars Palace Las Vegas continues through April 30th.