YANG WINS! (Not that one)
Valley Center, CA –  Bernie Yang won the most recent World Series of Poker Circuit tournament played at Harrah’s Rincon Casino and Resort. He completely dominated the last half of the competition in the $500 (+50) buy-in No-Limit Hold’em event.

Yang was never in serious danger of losing this chip lead at anytime during the last eight hours of the tournament which was played over two days during March 20-21, 2010. In fact, some opponents might argue, most who watched Yang’s superior performance, that he deserved to win.

Yang, who currently resides in San Diego, was born in Baltimore, MD. But he grew up mostly in Taiwan. He attended college at National Taiwan University where he was an undergraduate and then came to the U.S. where he earned his Masters Degree in electrical engineering at Georgia Tech. Yang is now in a Ph.D. program and is currently working an internship, although he admits he has recently taken some time off to play poker, mostly online. He is uncertain about his next career move.

Yang ended up scooping the biggest prize of his young career, a payout totaling $20,065. Yang was also presented with his first gold ring, the coveted award which is presented to all champions of WSOP Circuit tournaments held around the country.
This was Yang’s first time ever to enter as well as cash in a WSOP Circuit tournament. He has previously cashed at a few tournaments held in Las Vegas. In fact, Yang has only entered about ten live tournaments in his life, yet has cashed in five of them. He also won about $30,000 playing online tournaments last year.
Final Table play began on a Sunday night and was held inside The Pavilion at Rincon. Two prior WSOP Circuit event winners sat amongst the final nine players.

Alexandru Masek, who won his second career gold ring just two weeks at Caesars Atlantic City, arrived at the final table with an average sized stack. He ended up finishing sixth. Michael Souza, who won his gold ring back in 2005 during the WSOP Circuit inaugural season at Bally’s Las Vegas, ranked second in chips. He went out in third place. The chip leader was Yang, who won a wire to wire victory that lasted about five hours.
When Final Table play began at 2:15 pm, the nine finalists and their starting chip counts were as follows:




Chip Count


Alexandru Masek

San Diego, CA



Freddy "Rocky" Karimi

San Diego, CA



Kenton Taylor

El Centro, CA



Derek W. Sanders

Laguna Beach, CA



Michael Souza

San Diego, CA



Jason D. Jacintho

El Cajon, CA



Larry Turley

Nuevo, CA



Bernie Yang




James Eubank

Houston, TX



Players were eliminated in the following order:

Ninth Place:
Kenton Taylor, an accountant from El Centro, CA was eliminated about an hour into play. He moved all in with     but got a call from James Eubank, who tabled   . The flop made things interesting, which was    . Even though Eubank flopped a set of kings, Taylor essentially had four outs to make a straight. But the   and   fell on the turn and river, giving Eubank the pot. Meanwhile, Kenton Taylor collected $1,780 for ninth place.
Eighth Place: "Rocky" Rocked
Fred "Rocky" Karimi had a decent sized stack, but took two horrendous beats, ultimately going out in eighth place. First, Karimi flopped top two pair, but lost half his stack when his opponent hit a miraculous gutshot straight on the river. A few hands later, Karimi had pocket aces cracked, which lost to AQ when two queens fell. Karimi, a poker pro from San Diego, CA went out a short time later and ended up pocketed in a less than satisfying $2,102 in prize money.
Seventh Place: Turley Toasted
Larry Turley found out the hard way that pocket kings are always vulnerable, especially when an opponent holds an ace. Turley was dealt    on what turned out to be his final hand. He raised all in and was called by the chip leader, Bernie Yang, who showed   . Things looked good for Turley after the flop, but an ace on the river ruined his hoped, resulting in elimination. The final board showed       which meant Yang’s pair of aces added to his chip advantage. Turley, a retired U.S. Air Force veteran who has made several final tables as small tournaments played in the region, received $2,585.
Sixth Place: No Third Gold Ring for Masek
Alexandru Masek’s quest for a third WSOPC gold ring fell short when he lost his last chips with   . He moved all in and was called by Bernie Yang, who showed   . The board came       which meant Yang’s pocket 9’s played. Masek, who is a law student from San Diego, CA added $3,881 to his impressive record in WSOP Circuit events.
Fifth Place:
James Eubank lost a critical pot early with AK against AA and was never able to recover. He was low on chips throughout and finally ran out of luck about two hours into play when he moved all in with    hoping to steal a round of blinds and antes. However, he was called in three spots and the three players proceeded to check it down all the way to the river. The final board showed       which gave Eubank nothing, and he thus became the fifth place finisher. Eubank, from Houston, TX received a payout totaling $5,178.
Fourth Place: Sanders Loses Race, Goes Out Fourth
Derek W. Sanders survived a few all ins before finally losing a race to the chip leader. On his final hand, Sanders was dealt    and moved all in. Yang called and showed   . The board came      , which gave Yang the pot on the river. Sanders, from Laguna Beach, CA collected $6,475.
Third Place: Souza Finishes Third
 Michael Souza, a poker pro from San Diego, CA finished in third place. He was eliminated after three-handed play lasted for two hours. However, Souza became short stacked and moved all in with   , which got a call from Yang, holding   . The board ran      , which meant Yang’s   played as the high card. Meanwhile, Souza had to settle for a payout totaling $9,059. He now has several WSOP-related cashes and final table appearances, including three straight cashes in the WSOP Main Event (from 2006-2008). 
Second Place: Jacintho Finishes as Runner Up
When heads up play started, Bernie Yang had Jason D. Jacintho covered by about a 5 to 1 margin. It took only about 20 minutes for the final hand to be dealt. That came when Yang limped with    and watched with delight as Jacintho moved all in pre-flop with   .

Yang practically beat his rival into the pot with his chips and when the board came      , that gave Yang the last pot of the tournament and his first major live tournament victory. The runner up was Jason D. Jacintho, who played extraordinary poker over two days. He arrived at the Final Table as a low stack, but managed to crawl all the way up to second place.

Jacintho, who is a graduate student at UC-San Diego as well as teaches organic chemistry, collected a nice score amounting to $13,585. He has also done well in other tournaments played in the region. But this marked his best WSOP-related finish ever.
First Place: Yang Takes the Ring
Bernie Yang, a 24-year-old college student from Atlanta, GA, won the tournament and $20,065. He has previously won a few big online tournaments. But this marked his biggest cash in a live tournament. An interview with Yang at tableside just moments after his win can be seen here: