ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – Matthew Waxman, a 25-year-old pro poker player from Parkland, FL won the WSOP Circuit Main Event Championship at Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City Tuesday evening. Waxman beat out 351 competitors in the $1,650 buy-in no limit hold’em tournament to take down the $117,797 first place prize.

This year’s Circuit Main Event at Harrah’s AC was held over the course of three days and attracted a roster of top-brass poker talent including Amnon Filippi, Matt Glantz, Dwyte Pilgrim, Chris Bell, Paul Darden and Matt Brady among others.

Many of the event’s marquee players were eliminated before day one was over, however, including Pilgrim who was eliminated in the final hand of the night.

71 players returned Monday to play down to the final nine. The final table bubble was Joanne Doris, who was eliminated in tenth. Heading into the event’s final table, Brandon Croft held the chip lead with Waxman not too far behind. Despite their comparable stacks, the two chip titans would see far varying results as the day went on.




Chip Count

Tam Ly

Landsdale, PA



Dave Cubeta

Falls Church, VA



Christopher Bonita

Winthrop, MA



Mark Sykes

New Haven, CT



Brandon Croft

Sumter, SC



Dennis “Mike” Summers

Charlottesville, VA



Manish Patel

Burlington, NJ



Jesus Cabrera

Atlanta, GA



Matthew Waxman

Parkland, FL



After Harrah’s Resort poker director John Arthur made the final table announcements shortly after noon Tuesday, (video of which can be seen here) play got underway with blinds and antes at 10,000/20,000/3,000.

Croft had no reservations about mixing it up with the short stacks early into final table play. The early action did not go Croft’s way however after he doubled up two of the shorties, Mike Summers and Marish Patel.

Patel was also able to double up through Summers to stay alive, which he continued to do through three levels of play. All the while, Croft continued his decent, doubling up another short stack, this time, that of Christopher Bonita in a flip with A-K vs. Bonita’s pocket 4’s. Croft opened the next hand for 60k with    and got a call from Matthew Waxman with   . The two built up a 400k pot, which ultimately went to Waxman, leaving Croft with just over 400k.

Patel finally got his remaining 270k in the middle with    and Waxman obliged, turning over   . The flop was disaster for Patel -    . The deuce and ten on the turn and river were not enough for Patel and after nearly three hours of play, he was the first elimination of the day. Patel is an IT consultant from Burlington, NJ. He picked up $11,073 for ninth.

With blinds now at the 15,000/30,000 level, Croft reraised Cabrera all-in for just over 300,000 holding   . Cabrera made the call, tabling   . Dominated, Croft stayed behind on the       board and his day was cut well short. Although it was a disappointing finish for the 30-year-old adult club owner from Sumter, SC, perhaps he can find some solace in that he is a 30-year-old adult club owner from Sumter, SC. Eighth place paid $13,869.

With Croft’s elimination, the dam burst as a flurry of players hit the rail in the level to follow (20,000/40,000).

Tam Ly led the exodus after taking an unfortunate hit when his pocket kings failed to hold against Dave Cubeta, who was all in with 7-8. Ly was unable to regain his footing after that hand and made his final stand a while later, three-betting Cabrera all-in preflop with A-K. Cabrera made the call for a total of about 300,000. Unfortunately for Ly, the board offered him no help and he was out in seventh. Ly is from Landsdale, PA originally from Vietnam. He was paid $17,618 for seventh.

Summers was soon all-in with    on a flop of     for half a million in chips. Waxman quickly made the call, tabling pocket aces. Summers missed his draw as hearts fell on the turn and river, ending his tournament run.

Summers is 36 years old and hails from Charlottesville, VA. He has had a successful 2010 so far with nearly $100,000 in tournament winnings that include a 2nd place finish in the 2010 WPT Borgata open and a 5th place in March at the WSOP Circuit Event at Caesars Atlantic City. For his sixth finish at Harrah’s AC, Summers pocketed $22,704.

Cubeta went out a few hands later in a hand where Bonita opened to 95k UTG and Mark Sykes re-raised to 200k. Waxman re-raised to 400k total and Cubeta called. Bonita and Sykes laid it down and Cubeta showed pocket tens only to discover he was far behind Waxman, who again had pocket aces. Aces held and Cubeta was sent to the payout table to cash out for fifth place prize money worth $29,685. Cubeta is a 59-year-old lawyer from Falls Church, VA. This was his fourth major tournament cash. Waxman now held a dominating chip lead over his remaining opponents.

The next couple of hands were unkind to Bonita as Waxman forced him to surrender a sizable amount of his chips in a pre-flop raising battle, after which Bonita ran A-10 all in vs. Cabrera’s A-K. The queen high flopped helped neither player and just like that, Bonita was out. Bonita is a former swimming pool salesman who now plays poker professionally. His decision to go pro has netted him great results, with final table finishes both at the WSOP and WSOP Circuit. His $39,406 fourth place finish today easily puts him over the half million dollar mark in lifetime tournament earnings.

The fifth elimination of the level was that of Sykes, who made a button all-in raise for nearly half a million chips holding   . Cabrera had a read on Sykes however, and after some deliberation made the call with    Cabrerra’s dominating hand held up through the 7-7-5-6-3 board to bust Sykes in third. Sykes has over $400,000 in lifetime tournament earnings. The 33-year-old from New Haven, CT added a nice sum of $53,126 to those figures.

Heads-up play between Cabrera and Waxman began at 4:30 pm with blinds and antes at 20,000/40,000. Waxman had about a 4-3 chip lead over Cabrera, which Cabrera narrowed to nearly even after a few hands. It looked to be all over however, after a raising war preflop that resulted in Cabrera all-in for his tournament life with A-9 vs. Waxman’s A-K. Cabrera found new life, however after a river nine shipped him the pot along with the chip lead. You can view the critical hand here.

Cabrera however, would find himself outmatched by his opponent, who in one hand called a huge bet from Cabrera on the river and took the pot with Jack high after Cabrera bluffed on a missed straight draw.

Waxman soon surged to a dominating chip lead but Cabrera was once again able to double back to even. Waxman went back to work chipping up against Cabrera and with just under a 2-1 lead, he was all-in with pocket 3’s vs Cabrera’s pocket 6’s.

This time, it was Waxman’s turn to get lucky as he spiked the   on the flop for bottom set, which held through a   turn and   river to give him the win worth $117,797, the coveted diamond-encrusted WSOP Circuit gold ring and an automatic seat into the WSOP Circuit $1,000,000 freeroll national championship event to be held in May at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

Cabrera is self-employed and lives in Atlanta, GA. The 46-year-old came to the United Sates by way of Havana, Cuba, when in the 1950’s, he and his family left the communist-ruled country. Cabrera began playing poker five years ago. For his runner-up finish in the Harrah’s Resort AC Main Event, he pocketed $72,824.

Waxman is among the fraternity of South Florida tournament pros that includes the Mizrachi brothers, Mike Beasley and Maurice Hawkins. After numerous tournament cashes, including eight in the last two WSOP’s, he says that while he’s always happy to cash, it’s good to finally take one down.

“Relieved,” said Waxman after his win. “I’ve been winning a lot of major online tournaments, but only coming close in the live ones, so it really feels great to lock one up.”

Waxman said that his friend, Bonita was the only player that he really worried about at the table. “Nothing against Cabrera, but if Bonita had been able to get a hold of some chips, it definitely would not have been as easy to get the win.”

Waxman’s win puts him over the million dollar mark in lifetime tournament earnings and while he isn’t at all bothered by his lack of notoriety, says he’s glad to get his name in the spotlight with his win at Harrah’s AC.

“There are so many great players out there nowadays that it gets harder each year to stand out from the pack.”

Still to come are five more official WSOP Circuit Events, including the Regional Championship which begins Sunday, December 19th.

See the complete Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City Circuit schedule and previous results here.  The WSOP Circuit at Harrah’s runs through December 22nd. You can find the complete 2010/2011WSOP CIRCUIT SCHEDULE here.

Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City
777 Harrah’s Blvd          
Atlantic City, NJ 08401

(609) 441-5165 
Toll-Free: 1 (800) 645-6774