Big Year Ahead for Garrett Levrini?
Valley Center, CA – Will 2010 be a breakthrough year for Garrett Levrini?  He represents the interests and ambitions of a lot of twenty-something poker players.  Many young people try to play poker for a living and rudely discover the game is not quite as easy as it looks.  But Levrini has endured the inevitable downswings and hardships thus far, and is now in the midst of a good run in poker, manifested in two major tournament victories within the last six weeks.

In February at the Legends of Poker (tournament) held in Los Angeles, Levrini earned a huge victory with a first-place finish in a preliminary event.  Today, he supplemented his poker bankroll and confidence with another victory, this time in the most recent WSOP Circuit tournament, which was held at the at Harrah’s Rincon Casino and Resort, near San Diego.

Indeed, it’s already been quite a year for the 26-year-old poker pro, who is currently between residences in Las Vegas and the Washington, DC area.  Levrini, who has lived in Las Vegas in recent years and plays both live and online poker, is about to move to Reston, VA to be closer to his family.  In addition, he hopes to be in Virginia’s northern suburbs just in time for the NHL playoffs, which begin next month.  Levrini, who is a huge hockey fan, says he intends to attend every Washington Capitals’ playoff game.  And now he has some extra cash to buy the best seats.

When Revini took his seat in quite a different setting yesterday, he has no idea that a day later he would ultimately rake in $13,341 in prize money along with his first gold ring, the coveted award which is presented to all champions of WSOP Circuit tournaments held around the country.

The $200 (+30) buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament was played over two consecutive days during March 23-24, 2010.  Final Table play began on a Wednesday afternoon.  There were no prior WSOP Circuit gold ring event winners among the final nine players, which guaranteed a first-time champion.  

Bret Eledge arrived at the Final Table with a decisive chip advantage over the remaining players.  He ended up finishing in third place.  Closest in chips when play began were Charley McLean and Jason “Heckler” Wozer who were covered by the chip leader by greater than a 3 to 2 margin.  The remaining players were down 2 to 1 or more.  During most of the five-hour Final Table, Levrini was an average to low stack.  But he made a big move when play became three-handed and ended up with the victory.

When Final Table play began at 3:30 pm, the nine finalists and their starting chip counts were as follows:




Chip Count


Garrett Levrini

Reston, VA



Edward Liu

Rowland Heights, CA



Charley McLean

Lindsay, CA



Amir Reza Turkzadeh

Walnut Creek, CA



Kate Ansorge

San Diego, CA



Jason “Heckler” Wozner

Orange, CA



Michael Ippolito

San Diego, CA



Bret Eledge

San Diego, CA



Luis Davila

Temecula, CA


  Players were eliminated in the following order:

Ninth Place:  Bad Beat Eliminates Davila
Luis Davila lasted about five minutes at the Final Table.  He should have lasted much longer, considering he moved all-in on his final hand with    and got a call by Garrett Levrini, who tabled   .  Davila’s delight turned to doom when he watched the succession of cards come as follows:         Levrini ended up rivering a straight, which busted Davila.  The 49-year-old poker dealer from Temecula, CA who has cashed in a number of WSOP Circuit events the past six years, collected $1,136.
Eighth Place:  Cook Fried  
Michael Ippolito, who owns a fitness center in San Diego, CA got bounced off the final table in eighth place when he moved in with    and was called by Garrett Levrini, with   .  Ippolito failed to improve and watched helplessly as the board ran out       .  He was forced to settle for a $1,340 payout.

Seventh Place:  Katie Ansorge Becomes First Female Finalist
Katie Ansorge, a financial analyst from San Diego, CA, was the first female to make it to a Final Table at this year’s Rincon series.  She lasted about an hour before making her final move with    which ran into Jason “Heckler” Warner’s   .  Ansorge desperately needed and ace, but missed all five shots and ended up as the next player eliminated when the final board showed      .  Ansorge, making her first-ever final table appearance at a major poker tournament, received $1,653 in prize money.

Sixth Place:  “Heckler” Removed From Tournament
Jason “Heckler” Warner, a 42-year-old UPS driver from Orange, CA, lost a big hand with pocket 7’s against pocket A’s and was left with just a few chips.  He went out a few hands later on a hand that was not shown.  He was all-in against two players who checked it down, and Bret Eledge scooped the pot with a pair of 9’s.  Warner settled for sixth place and $2,476.

Fifth Place:  Charley Chunked
Charley McLean, a 34-year-old poker pro from San Diego, CA ran low on chips and made his final stand with   .  He was called by    and went out when the board ran      .  The trip T’s won the pot, leaving McLean with a payout of $3,300.  

Fourth Place:  Edward Liuses His Remaining Chips
Edward Liu, a 21-year-old college student from Rowland Hills, CA became short stacked.  He moved all-in and picked up a flush draw holding    when the flop came ]Kh]  .  Amir Reza Turkzadeh called the pre-flop raise and showed pocket jacks.  Liu was not able to hit a heart, and went out in fourth place with $4,129 in prize money.

Third Place:  Cook Fried  

Bret Eledge, a cook from San Diego, CA appeared destined for possible victory, but then got derailed late on what was arguably the turning point of the tournament.  In what became a battle of the blinds, Eledge was dealt   .  Garrett Levrini was dealt   .  After the flop came    , Eledge raised all-in with a straight draw.  Levrini, with a pair and a flush draw called.  With the largest pots of the night at stake, Eledge was thrilled to catch the   of the turn, which gave him a higher pair.  But the   on the river abruptly ended Eledge’s celebration, as Levrini made a straight.  Down to just a few chips after the defeat, Eledge went out two hands later and ended up as the third place finisher, which paid $5,776.

Second Place:  Turkzadeh Comes Up Short  
Amir Reza Turkzadeh played marvelously during the entire tournament, but finished as the runner up.  He was born in Iran and is currently living in Walnut Creek, CA where he is a student at San Francisco State University.  Turkzadeh collected $8,115 in prize money.

The last hand came when Garrett Levrini was dealt   .  Turkzadeh was dealt   .  After the turn, Turkzadeh was all-in.  The final board showed      , which meant the pocket 5’s took down the last pot of the night.

First Place:  Garrett Levrini Wins  

Garrett Levrini, a 26-year-old pro poker player who will soon be living in the Washington, DC suburb of Reston, CA collected $13,341 in prize money for his first WSOP-related tournament victory.  He says he hopes to play in more WSOP events in the future and now has his sights set on winning at WSOP gold bracelet in Las Vegas this summer.