John Land Rides Off with second WSOP Circuit title at Harrahs Rincon
Valley Center, CA – Just moments before the final table of the most recent World Series of Poker Circuit tournament began, the chip leader John “Cowboy” Land announced to anyone within earshot, “I’m going to take this one down.”

Those turned out to be prophetic words, indeed.  Cowboy ended up winning his second WSOP Circuit gold ring this year, topping a tough field of 142 players en route to another satisfying victory.

Cowboy, who earned his fitting nickname because he often wears a white cowboy hat at the table, is a 45-year-old professional poker player from Dallas, TX.  He sold off a successful construction business last year and has been playing tournament poker since then full-time.  Cowboy travels to many WSOP Circuit events and tournaments held elsewhere around the country.  But he also admits his first love is spending time with his wife and their 12-year-old son.  He also says the biggest challenge facing poker pros and those aspiring to play full time is balancing a home and professional life.  But Cowboy also admits that being successful in tournaments makes the transition easier.

“That’s the biggest thing, to me, is balancing my family with what I love to do which is poker,” Cowboy said in a post-tournament interview.  “I love this game and I am so lucky to have their support.  They really back me up because they know I love poker.  But it’s tough being out on the road for extended periods.  And you don’t always win, so that’s just added pressure.”  

Cowboy’s win becomes the third consecutive day in which a former gold ring winner has repeated.  Two days ago, San Diego pro Michael Souza won his second title.  Yesterday, Brooklyn poker pro Dwyte Pilgrim won his third gold ring.  Now, the Dallas pro has two gold rings as well, and joins very distinguished company.    

The $500 (+50) buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament won by Cowboy was played over two consecutive days during March 26-27, 2010.  Final Table play began on a Saturday afternoon.  There were two former WSOPC gold ring winners among the final nine – including Chris DeFalco who won the H.O.R.S.E. event at Harrah’s Rincon in 2008 and “Cowboy,” who won a No-Limit Hold’em event two months ago at Tunica.
Cowboy arrived at the Final Table holding a decisive chip advantage.  In fact, he was ahead nearly 2 to 1 over his closest rival. 
Within striking distance were Ray “Mac the Knife” McCabe and Ryan Gentry.  When Final Table play began at 2:15 pm, the nine finalists and their starting chip counts were as follows:




Chip Count


Billy Calderon

Irapuato, Mexico



Ryan Gentry

La Jolla, CA



Chris DeFalco

Murrieta, CA



Harold Wasson

Murrieta, CA



Hossein Zomorrodi

San Diego, CA



Jason Jacintho

San Diego, CA



John “Cowboy” Land

Dallas, TX



James Kozono

Diamond Bar, CA



Ray “Mac the Knife” McCabe

Anaheim Hills, CA


Players were eliminated in the following order:

Ninth Place:  Viva Mexico!  

Billy Calderon, a 32-year-old greenhouse manager from Irapuato, Mexico lasted about an hour but he was too short-stacked to be a factor and was eliminated with    against Ryan Gentry’s   .  Calderon saw a nice flop, which came with three clubs –    .  Another club or a jack would have given him the pot.  But the last two cards were   , which meant Calderon’s end.  He received $1,674 for ninth place. 
Eighth Place:  Kozono Gone
James Kozono, a 32-year-old restaurant manager from Diamond Bar, CA lasted about 90 minutes but went out holding pocket eights.  He took    in a race against Harold Wasson’s   .  The board slaughtered Kozono’s shot of making a comeback as the cards ran:       .  Wasson’s two pair scooped Kozono’s last 100,000 in chips.  As a trade off, Kozono collected $1,977 for eighth place. 
Seventh Place:  Zomrrodi Engineers Seventh-Place Finish  
Joe Zomorrodi, a 50-year-old civil engineer from San Diego, CA, became short-stacked and went out with    against Ryan Gentry’s   .  The final board showed      , which meant Zomorrodi lost the race.  This was one of his first poker tournaments ever, and marked his first time to cash in any event.  Zomorrodi could certainly be proud of his seventh-place finish, which paid $2,431. 
Sixth Place:  Former WSOPC Gold Ring Winner Busts  
Chris DeFalco, a 39-year-old pawn broker from Murrieta, CA, failed in his attempt to win a second gold ring when he moved all-in with pocket J’s which lost to a pair of K’s.  DeFalco was dealt    versus Jason Jacintho’s   .  The board showed      , leaving DeFalco with $3,650.  This marked his third time to cash in a WSOP Circuit tournament. 
Fifth Place:  Second Final Table this Week for Mac “the Knife” McCabe.  
Mac “the Knife” McCabe took a terrible beat on his final hand of the tournament.  He was low on chips and moved all-win with    .  He got a call from Harold Wasson, who showed   .  The flop could not have been much better for McCabe as he paired his ten.  He improved to two pair on the turn with an ace.  But a fourth spade on the river gave Wasson a flush.  The final board showed      .  McCabe, who is President of a health food company called Egg Whites International, collected $4,869 after finishing eighth place in a previous tournament here at Rincon. 
Fourth Place:  Jasintho Now 2 for 2 in Tournaments
Jason D. Jasintho, an organic chemist from El Cajon, has played in two tournament this year at Rincon, and final tabled both.  He finished in second place in Event 3.  This time, his destiny was fourth place.  He should have finished higher given how his final hand was played.   
Jasintho had plenty of chips and moved all-in pre-flop with   .  He got a baffling call from “Cowboy,” which basically put his tournament life at stake with   .  Jasintho was thrilled with the look of things early.  But the flop was a crushing blow.  An ace came on the flop and the final board showed      , which gave “Cowboy” the big pot. 
Jasintho had to settle for $6,088 in prize money.  But he could certainly be proud of his performance at Rincon, which now includes two top four finishes.
Third Place:  Realtor Receives $8,519 Commission  
Harold Wasson, a 63-year-old real estate broker from Murrieta, CA, enjoyed a healthy stack for about four hours, but then ran low on chips and finally went out with pocket 7’s, which lost to pocket 9’s.  Wasson was dealt    on his final hand, which faced “Cowboy’s”   .  The board came      , giving “Cowboy” the pot.  Wasson had to settle for a nice payout which amounted to $8,519. 
Second Place:  Gentry Agrees to Second  
Ryan Gentry, a poker pro from La Jolla, CA finished as the runner up.  When play became heads-up, Cowboy had the chip advantage.  A deal was made between the final two players.   There terms of their agreement were not disclosed.  Gentry collected and official payout amounting to $12,775. 
First Place:  Cowboy Declared Winner  
John “Cowboy” Land was his second WSOP Circuit gold ring and first place prize money totaling $18,871.  He plans to play in the upcoming Main Event, plus the WSOP Circuit events at St. Louis and New Orleans, in addition to the WSOP in Las Vegas, coming this summer.