The 13th of twenty scheduled gold ring events was completed today at Harrah’s New Orleans.  The $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament attracted a whopping 262 entries, which created more than a quarter-million dollar prize pool.  As is the case in all of New Orleans Circuit events this year, players continue to rave about the generous amounts of starting chips and structures, which give players lots of added play over similar buy-in tournaments held elsewhere.

The tournament winner was Robert “The Thorn” Rosengarten.  He is a 33-year-old flight attendant who works for Southwest Airlines.  Rosengarten lives in South Florida.  He is married and has one child.

Rosengarten began play at the final table as one of the shortest stacks.  He never appeared in position to challenge the chip leaders until late on day two, when he went on a last-minute rush and won in a final flourish of skill and good fortune.

The final hand of the tournament came when Rosengarten won with pocket kings, which eliminated Abdul Al-Magableh, who finished second.  Rosengarten, who talks constantly while at the table and shows no lack of confidence no matter who he is up against, vacillated between a verbal barrage of intolerable self-assurance and silent meditation.  His quieter moments were made possible by being absorbed in the popular book (also a movie), “Marley and Me,” about a family and its beloved dog.  Rosengarten used the book as inspiration, and wanted to note that Marley’s “story” could very well be about his beloved poodle, named Bogie.   

This marked Rosengarten’s first major tournament victory ever.  He previously made a final table appearance at Harrah’s New Orleans in 2007, where he finished eighth.  Thorn won first place prize money which officially totaled $61,629.  He was also presented with a gold ring, the ultimate achievement for winning a WSOP Circuit event.

The top ten in-the-money finishers were as follows:         

1st Place – Robert Rosengarten, who goes by the nickname “The Thorn” because of his prickly comments while at the table, won his first major poker tournament.  Rosengarten had previously won many smaller tournaments near his home in South Florida.  He is a flight attendant with Southwest Airlines.  

2nd Place – The runner-up was Abdul Al-Magableh.  He is 39-years old and lives in Houston.  This marked Al-Magableh’s first time to cash in a live tournament.

3rd Place – Manny Minaya, who has numerous accolades on his tournament resume, finished in third place.  Minaya, who works in bill collecting and lives in Tampa, FL, won the Borgata Poker Open held last year.  He has cashed on the WSOP Circuit 12 times.  He cashed six times at the WSOP in Las Vegas last year and now has over $900,000 in career winnings.

4th Place – Fourth-place went to Chad Ferrell, who lives in the Dallas area.  He is a CEO who was making his first cash in a major poker tournament.

5th Place – Chean Chin (a.k.a. “Ken W”) was the fifth-place finisher.  The restaurant manager originally from Singapore who now calls New Orleans his home made his fourth WSOP Circuit cash.

6th Place – Will “the Monkey” Souther (Biloxi, MS) has been snake-bit for years at New Orleans, although he has results that just about any poker player would envy.  The Monkey has 2nd, 2nd, and 3rd place finishes in recent years, each time often coming close to victory.  Souther, who now has 48 cashes and more than $200,000 in career tournament winnings, ended up as the sixth-place finisher.

7th Place – Ryan Gafford, a.k.a. “LoveShack Dave” won a WSOP Circuit gold ring here at Harrah’s New Orleans two years ago.  He appeared destined to possibly win his second victory, since he started the final table as one of the largest stacks.  But Gafford ran into trouble late and busted out in seventh place.  The self-employed family man from Denham Springs, LA has just recently returned to the tournament circuit after spending much of the last year working with his three kids.

8th Place – James Jewett, a realtor from Boise, ID, finished in eighth place.  This was his third time to cash in a WSOP Circuit event after previous high finishes at Horseshoe Council Bluffs and Caesars Las Vegas.

9th Place – Alan Ramkhalawan, a pharmacist from Clearwater, FL took ninth place.  He previously made the final table at a WSOP Circuit event (5th place) in Atlantic City.   

10th Place – Rob Quin was the first player to bust out from the final table.  He is a land surveyor from Metairie, LA.  This marked Quin’s fifth time to cash at Harrah’s New Orleans.  In fact, he has cashed at the WSOP Circuit three consecutive years.

Notable Players Who Finished in-the-Money – Larry Vance (Lakewood, CA) cashed for the third time at this year’s series, and 11th-time overall at Circuit events.  Kenneth Terrell (Lawrenceville, GA), took fourth place in an event at last year’s WSOP, good for $232K – and finished 25th in this tournament.  Corrie Wunstel (Baton Rouge, LA) finished 26th, which was his sixth WSOP Circuit career cash.  Philip Sparta (Fairfax, VA) cashed in 27th place.  He is a two-time WSOP Circuit gold ring winner at Harrah’s New Orleans.