Atlantic City, NJ (December 13, 2009) – Many question the use of the term "professional" when describing a poker player’s occupational status. While names like Patrik Antonius and Scotty Nguyen come to mind when describing a poker pro, the term professional quite simply, refers to someone who earns a living from a particular activity.
The players at the final table of Event #8 at the World Series of Poker Circuit Events at Harrah’s Atlantic City certainly fit that bill. One of the nine, Alex "Argentinaboy" Queen amassed over $100,000 in online earnings in 2009 alone, having just come off of a major online tournament victory in November. Another player at the final table, Josh Smith, shipped a major tournament back in March and has cashes in a numerous more.
Many of the players among the 352-player field of the $1,000 WSOP Circuit Event at Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City shared similar backgrounds. With the largest buy-in of the WSOPC at Harrah’s AC so far, the event drew a much more competitive field than the Circuit’s earlier events. The 54 day-two starters dwindled down to a final table of nine at 6:40 pm which pitted restaurant owner, Jeremy Maher against a table packed with players who earn their livings on the live and virtual felt. Although Maher cashed in 287th place in this year’s WSOP Main Event and was near the top of the leader board, the lone non-pro was up for a challenge.
||Staten Island, NY
||Staten Island, NY
The final nine quickly became the final six, with the first three eliminations taking place within 20-minutes of play starting. After short-stacks Eric Cohen and Jesse Klein claimed 9th and 8th, Paul Richardson was next to be escorted to the payout table after suffering a monstrosity of a bad beat.After a flop of , Richardson called Maher’s all-in. Maher revealed top pair with , but Richardson turned over the flopped set of 8’s. The table got roused a bit after a Qs hit the turn but went into an uproar after a hit the river, giving Maher runner runner boat. The British-born Maher got the luck he needed, but not without taking a bit of flack from his opponents."Ship the Queen’s chips did you now Gov’na?!" mocked Andrew Malott as most of the table and audience erupted in laughter. Maher took it in good fun however, and play resumed.Sixth place went to Alexander Deutsch. Deutsch re-raised Maher all-in preflop with K-10 suited against Maher’s pocket 6’s. A six on the turn ended Deutsch’s run. Deutsch earned $20,603 for sixth.Andrew Malott busted in fifth, shipping his chips to Alex Queen in the process after moving all-in with pocket 3’s vs. Queen’s . The board was insignificant, busting Maher in fifth which paid $24,037.Next out was Fatmir Cukovic. Cukovic, a 31-year old pro from Staten Island, lost a race to Josh Smith with 9’s vs. A-Q suited after an ace hit the turn. A disappointed Cukovic walked away with $27,470.The three remaining players were Maher, Smith and Queen. Maher busted after being dominated all-in with K-Q suited vs. Queen’s A-Q. Maher did not improve on the turn and river and settled for $34,338.Heads up had Queen with a massive chip lead over Smith but Smith got a little lucky after catching a king on the turn all-in with K-10 off vs. Queen’s pocket 8’s.Down in chips, the final hand saw Queen all-in vs. Smith after the turn on a board of . Smith showed for trips, Queen mucked and it was over. Queen earned $41,892 for second while Smith banked $75,544 and the WSOPC ring.Having come back from a huge deficit, and after getting a bit of luck after catching the king on the turn to cripple Queen, Smith’s victory was a bit humbling for him."I feel bad that I got a little lucky in that hand, Alex is my friend and he deserved to win." But not too humbling."It still feels good to win the ring," he said.Still to come are 9 more events and 17 nightly (single-day) satellites which begin at 3 pm and 7pm.The WSOP Circuit at Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City continues through December 20th.