2009-2010 World Series of Poker Circuit Season Six

Horseshoe Casino (Chicago) Hammond, IN (October 16-25, 2009)

Event #2, $500 (+55) No-Limit Hold’em October 17-18, 2009

Total Entries:  550 
Total Prize Pool:  261,550

Marvelous, Marvin

Marvin Thompson wins event #2 of the WSOP Circuit at Horseshoe Chicagoland

At 45 years of age, Marvin Thompson has had a myriad of unique life experiences, twelve years as a union carpenter, his service to his country as a U.S. Marine Corps reservist, the time he spend earning his degree at nearby Purdue University-Calumet and his current pursuit of a masters degree at Purdue.

Thompson can now add winning a WSOP Circuit event to that list after taking down event #2 of the 2009 Circuit Event at Horseshoe Chicagoland and earning over $60,000, a WSOP Circuit Event gold ring and a seat to the Horseshoe Chicagoland Circuit Main Event which begins Friday, October 23rd.

A poker professional, Thompson sort of stumbled upon the prospect of earning a living playing cards. Years ago, he and a friend visited one of Indiana’s riverboat casinos. He discovered that the casino held a regular poker tournament and decided he would play in it. Thompson took down the tourney and repeated the feat on a return trip. After winning $40,000 in a tournament at the Bellagio, Thompson decided to start his poker career. Since then, he has been playing regularly in various tournaments around the country.

Unfortunately for the 549 other registrants, the $500 No-Limit Hold’em Circuit Event at the Horseshoe was one of those tournaments.

Despite being fourth in chips and running on only three hours of sleep the night before, Thompson was confident going into the final table. “I knew I was going to win this as soon as I got in it,” recalled Thompson. “I called a friend up and told him I was going to come home with the ring.”

Day two began at 2 p.m. and played down to a 6 p.m. final table which lasted 5 hours.

Jason Newburger of Vernon Hills, IL came to the final table as the chip leader. The 25-year old poker pro had previously made the final table at three WSOP events in Las Vegas, including a runner-up finish in 2007.

• John Nguyen, who held the second-largest stack coming in to the final table, took a few early beats and finished in ninth-place. The 23-year old from Schaumberg, IL ended up with $5,869.

• Finishing in eighth was Mark “Pegasus” Smith. A horse breeder from Georgetown, KY, Smith plays poker semi-professionally, having won the WSOP Circuit Main Event at Tunica in 2006 and a circuit event in 2007 at then-Caesars Indiana. Smith’s eighth-place $6,612 finish marks his 10th WSOP Circuit cash, placing him among the top 25 in that category.

• Earning $7,786 for seventh-place was Cullen Kurzmann, of Farmington Hill, MI. Kurzamann is a former coffee shop owner who is currently making a living playing poker, having earned over $100,000 in both live and online tournaments.

• Ben Beebe, a 31-year old officer of the United States Navy earned $9,607 for his sixth place finish. Beebe is an active duty pilot instructing prospective cadets in the NROTC program at Purdue. This was his first major live tournament cash.

• In fifth-place was Phil Sourn of Chicago who took home $12,445

• Although he came to the final table holding the chip lead, Newburger finished in fourth. Newburger had little reason to be disappointed by his efforts however, which paid a nice $16,967.

• Third-place belonged to Steve Quirin, a 22-year old college student from Freeburg, IL. Quirin was in position to take down the event, but a few late beats eliminated Quirin. He pocketed $24,376

Heads-up action began with Marvin Thompson holding a 4 to 1 chip lead over Darryl Ronconi, also 45-years old. Play lasted only 10 minutes when Thompson called Ronconi’s all-in pre flop with A-J. Ronconi held the lead with pocket jacks after a board of K-10-6-9. However, an ace on the river crowned Thompson the winner.

Ronconi, a Chief Information Officer from Naperville, IL has three WSOP cashes, including a 447th main event finish in 2008 and a 2007 final table. The graduate from the University of South Florida who also holds a Masters from DePaul University earned $37,174.

“I’ll certainly play in more tournaments,” said Thompson of his poker-playing future. “I’ll keep playing for sure.”

Event Notes:
• This tournament (Event #2) attracted 550 entries, up from last year’s attendance which was 500 players.

• The tournament began at noon on October 17th and was played over two days.  The entire duration of the tournament lasted about 22 hours.

• After Day One, there were 49 survivors who returned for Day Two.  Play resumed at 2 pm and played down to the final nine, which occurred at about 6 pm.  The final table was completed in about five hours, ending at 11:10 pm.