An Englishman Wins in Las Vegas
Las Vegas, NV – Paul Alterman, from London, has an impressive list of tournament cashes in Europe.  During the past decade, he’s finished in-the-money a whopping 45 times in live tournaments held in England, Austria, Italy, Ireland, and elsewhere.  But Alterman remains a relatively unknown player in the United States, having no World Series of Poker cashes on what is otherwise an impressive tournament resume.

That all changed tonight when Alterman won the most recent WSOP Circuit event, held at Caesars Palace Las Vegas.  The Londoner won the $1,080 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament and officially pocketed $35,472 for first place.  He was also presented with his first gold ring, in what was his first attempt ever in a WSOP Circuit tournament.

Alterman was the beneficiary of a deal reached between the final four players.  But his achievement is impressive nonetheless, particularly in light of his chip position when final table play began.  He was ranked seventh in chips, and was outchipped by a 5 to 1 margin when he sat down to play on what was the second of a two-day tournament.

The tournament was played during April 24th and 25th and attracted 138 entries.  The top 18 finishers divided a prize pool totaling $133,860.  After 128 players were eliminated on the first day, final table play began on a Sunday afternoon.  There were no prior WSOP Circuit gold ring event winners among the final nine players, which guaranteed a first-time champion.

Kory Mitchell dominated the second half of this tournament in a way that had not been seen in quite some time.  When players reached the prize money (18 players), Mitchell had nearly a 4 to 1 chip over his closest rival.  By the time the final table began, Mitchell’s chip lead was 3 to 1 – the greatest disparity of chips of any event so far at this year’s Caesars series.  In fact, Mitchell had one-third of the total chips in play.  But his good fortune would not last.  The nine finalists and their starting chip counts were as follows:





Chip Count


Shane Sigsbee

Las Vegas, NV



Ron Anicete

Elk Grove, CA



Thomas A. Barnard

Lake Mary, FL



Kurt Fitzgerald

Millinocket, ME



Sam McGrath

San Jose, CA



Jeff Sluzinski

Las Vegas, NV



Kory Mitchell

Denver, CO



Ted Gemzell

Stockholm, Sweden



Paul Alterman

London, England


Final table play began at 2:00 pm and lasted eight hours, ending at midnight.  Players were eliminated in the following order:

Ninth Place:  Kurt Fitzgerald Gets Tangled Up by Pocket Kings
Kurt Fitzgerald, from Millinocket, ME, went low on chips and busted out about 45 minutes into play.  He moved all-in with KJ and ran into pocket Ks.  Fitzgerald failed to improve and had to settle for a payout totaling $3,681.  Fitzgerald, who recently started playing live poker, had previously cashed in a few other Las Vegas tournaments.  But this was his first time to cash in a WSOP-related event.

Eighth Place:  Desolation Row for Thomas A. Barnard

Thomas A. Barnard, an ophthalmologist from Lake Mary, FL, went out in eighth place.  He failed to win a hand of any consequence and finally moved all in with A6, which lost to pocket kings.  Barnard, winner of a $1,000 buy-in event held recently at the Bellagio, collected $4,350 in prize money.  Barnard also cashed in the 2007 WSOP Main Event.

Seventh Place:  A Hard Rain’s Gonna’ Fall for Ron Anicete
Ron Anicete, a stock broker from Elk Grove, CA made a frustrating call on what turned out to be his final hand of the tournament.  After the board paired and showed a straight possibility as well, his opponent announced all-in.  Anicete went into the tank for two full minutes before finally announcing his intent to call.  The opponent turned up two sixes, good for quad-sixes and Anicete fired his hand (unseen) into the muck.  Anicete, who has previously cashed several times at other tournaments, including the WSOP in Las Vegas, added $5,354 to his poker bankroll for seventh place.

Sixth Place:  Kory Mitchell Shall Be Released

In an amazing turn of events, the player who dominated much of play ended up going out as the sixth-place finisher.  Kory Mitchell, a contractor from Denver, CO was the unfortunate victim.  The first hit to Mitchell’s stack took place when his AT flopped top pair, top kicker, but ended up losing to two pair.  That cost Mitchell half of his stack.  A half hour later, Mitchell tried a bluff which failed, hemorrhaging additional chips.  Mitchell went out a short time later, pushing with a weak hand which lost.  Thus, Kory Mitchell, who cashed in the 2008 WSOP Main Event (414th) and also took 14th place in a Pot-Limit Omaha event at last year’s WSOP, ended up with $6,693 in what has to be considered one of the most disappointing finishes for any final table player at this year’s Caesars series.   

Fifth Place:  North Country Blues for Swedish Player, Ted Gemzell
Ted Gemzell, from Stockholm, Sweden has already cashed five times this month in Las Vegas poker tournaments.  This was his first time to play at Caesars Palace and he enjoyed a nice showing by taking fifth place and $8,366.  Gemzell went out about five hours into play when he flopped top pair (jacks) but lost to a pocket overpair (queens).

Fourth Place:  Positively Fourth, Says Jeff Sluzinski
When play reached four-handed, the finalists battled for more than two hours before finally agreeing to a deal.  The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.  However, the players continued to play it out for the gold ring.  Jeff Sluzinski was the official fourth-place finisher.  The Las Vegas poker pro previously took third place in an event here at Caesars played last week.  This time, fourth place paid $10,709.

Third Place:  Shane Sigsbee is Blowin’ in the Wind

Shane Sigsbee, a former options trader-turned poker pro now living in Las Vegas, ended up in third place.  Sigsbee collected $13,721.  Sigsbee previously won a Heartland Poker Tour championship event two years ago.

Second Place:  It’s All Over Now, Sam McGrath

Sam McGrath, a software engineer from San Jose, CA was officially designated as the runner up.  It was interesting that the final two players of this Las Vegas event were actually born in England.  Both Sam McGrath and Paul Alterman have called London their home.  Nowadays, McGrath plays recreationally in the Bay Area.  This was his first time to cash in a WSOP-related tournament.
First Place:  Paul Alterman Brings It All Back Home  
Paul Alterman, a 51-year-old semi-pro poker player from London, England won the 16th of 19 events on this year’s WSOP Circuit schedule at Caesars Palace.  The longtime-poker player had previously cashed many times in Europe.  But this marked his first victory on U.S. soil.  His official payout amounted to $35,472.