The eighth of twenty scheduled gold ring events was completed today at Harrah’s New Orleans. The $300 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha tournament attracted 75 players, who entered the two-day competition.
The tournament winner was George Guzman, from Ft. Lauderdale, FL. He is a 49-year-old professional poker player who concentrates mostly on live-action games. Prior to turning pro, Guzman worked as an electrical engineer.
Guzman started the final table as one of the chip leaders and was a consistent force throughout the four-hour battle. The key hand of the tournament came when Guzman was playing heads-up against Ryan Lenaghan, who ended up finishing second. Guzman had A-8 against Lenaghan’s A-Q. There were two aces on board, plus an eight. That meant Lenaghan had trip aces – normally a powerhouse hand. But Guzman scooped the huge pot with aces-full-of eights. The tournament ended a few hands later.
This marked Guzman’s first major tournament victory. He cashed twice previously at the WSOP in Las Vegas. This was also Guzman’s third time to cash at the WSOP Circuit in New Orleans so far this year (one of three players to accomplish that feat). In previous events, Guzman took 15th and 22nd. He was much happier this time, with the victory.
Guzman won first place prize money officially totaling $12,921. He was also presented with a gold ring, the ultimate achievement for winning a WSOP Circuit event.
The top finishers were as follows:
1st Place – George Guzman, a former electrical engineer turned poker pro won his first major poker tournament. This was his third cash so far at this year’s Bayou series.
2nd Place – The runner-up was Ryan Lenaghan, from Mobile, AL. He is a 24-year-old poker player. This marked his highest tournament finish to date, after previous cashes at WSOP Circuit events in New Orleans and Tunica, MS.
3rd Place – Robert Campbell, a professional poker player from Miami, finished third. His bid to win a second gold ring this week fell short, as he was short-stacked during much of play at the final table. Last Saturday, Campbell won Event #2 here at Harrah’s New Orleans. He now has 29 career cashes and over $100,000 in tournament winnings.
4th Place – Randy Edmonson, from Columbus, MS finished in fourth place. This marked his fourth final table this year, after impressive performances at tournaments in Mississippi. Edmonson has a long history in tournament poker, dating all the way back to 1991 when he cashed for the first time at the WSOP in Las Vegas. Edmonson also made a final table at the 2005 WSOP.
5th Place – The fifth-place finisher was Danny Grassi, from Houston. This marked his second final table appearance at this year’s Bayou series. He took fifth place two days ago in Event # 4.
6th Place – Sixth-place went to Ron “Grumpy” Ware, from Discovery Bay, CA. Ware has cashed eight times at the WSOP in Las Vegas, since 2005. He has over $180,000 in tournament earnings, to date. This marked Ware’s first time to cash in a WSOP Circuit event.
7th Place – David Halpern, a local attorney from New Orleans, finished seventh. Halpern’s poker accomplishments date back to 1994, when he cashed at the WSOP in Las Vegas for the first time. He made it to a final table that same year. This was his first time to make a WSOP Circuit final table.
8th Place – John “Texas Troll” Tollefsen was the eighth-place finisher. The high-tech professional from Pearland, TX has enjoyed great success in Aruba, finishing three times in tournaments held there in recent years. He has been less successful at U.S.-based tournaments but still has over $100,000 in career tournament winnings with his cash in this tournament.
9th Place – The last player to bust out on day one was Mark Gallagher, from Kingwood, TX. He was eliminated in a three-way pot which made the final table eight-handed.