Michael Kaplitz Takes Gold Ring
Valley Center, CA – The final World Series of Poker Circuit preliminary tournament held before the championship ended today with Michael Kaplitz taking the gold ring and a $29,433 cash prize for first place.  He overcame a highly-competitive field and won his biggest tournament payout ever, after six years of cashes in various poker tournaments held throughout Southern California.

Oddly enough, Kaplitz almost did not play in this tournament.  He was talked into entering the event yesterday by his wife.  Kaplitz signed up at the last minute urged on by his wife, who later joined him near the Final Table lending her enthusiastic support.  Kaplitz did not disappoint her and the friends who came to cheer, pulling off a masterful performance at the final table, which was aided by a bit of good fortune on the final fateful hand. 
He ultimately defeated Bernie Yang, who ended up finishing second in the tournament, and came close to winning his second WSOP Circuit title within a week’s time.  

The latest poker champion, Kaplitz is a 48-year-old businessman from San Diego.  He owns a sourcing business, which assists companies who are engaged in trade with China.  Kaplitz essentially aids American companies who want to import goods and brokers deals which enhance free trade between the two nations.  But Kaplitz ended up using his skills and instincts in quite a different way in what turned out to be his first WSOP-related victory.

The $1,000 (+80) buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament won by Kaplitz was played over two consecutive days during March 27-28, 2010.  The tournament began with 105 players.  All but the final nine players were eliminated on Day One.  Final Table play began on a Sunday afternoon. 
There was only one former WSOPC gold ring winner among the final nine – Bernie Yang, who won his first WSOPC title five days ago here at Harrah’s Rincon.  Also of note was the presence of Ron Segni, who was making his third Final Table appearance at this year’s Rincon series (the only player with three, so far this year).
Jason Smith arrived at the Final Table holding a decisive chip advantage.  In fact, he was ahead nearly 2 to 1 over his closest rival, Bernie Yang.  All other players were down by a 2.5 to 1 margin or more.  The eventual winner, Kaplitz started off in fourth place, but seized the chip lead about midway into the finale.  When Final Table play began at 2:15 pm, the nine finalists and their starting chip counts were as follows:




Chip Count


David Powers

San Diego, CA



Jason Smith

Chandler, AZ



Bernie Yang

San Diego, CA



Darryn Hardin

Bellport, NY



Mike Kaplitz

San Diego, CA



Paul Koks

Houston, TX



Ron Segni

El Cajon, CA



Jason Thornhill

Spring, TX



Mario Delis

Bakersfield, CA


Players were eliminated in the following order:
Ninth Place:  Texan Rides Off in the Sunset
Jason Thornhill, a 27-year-old poker pro from Spring, TX, went out about 30 minutes into the finale.  He was short-stacked and moved all-in with   .  Michael Kaplitz called the raise and showed   
The flop all but ended Thornhill’s hope when a queen fell.  The board ran      , giving Kaplitz the pot.  Thornhill, who also made it to a WSOPC Final Table in Tunica two months ago, earned $2,607 this time for his ninth-place finish.
Eighth Place:  Powers Loses Power
David Powers, who operates a rehab clinic (www.abcsoberliving.com) in San Diego, CA, went out a short time later with   , which ran into Bernie Yang’s   .  Powers picked up some extra outs with a straight draw as the hand progressed, but failed to connect when the board came      .  Thus, Powers ended up with $3,086 and eighth place. 
Seventh Place:  Delis Dominated  
Mario Delis, a farm labor contractor from Bakersfield, CA, came in with a low stack and survived about 90 minutes before exiting with a weak hand.  He tried to steal a round of blinds and antes holding   .  Bernie Yang was in the blind and made the call with   .  Delis was dominated and failed to improve as the final board showed      .  Delis ended up taking seventh place, which paid $3,799.  This was quite an accomplishment since this was Delis’ first time to play in a major poker tournament. 
Sixth Place:  New Yorker Takes Brutal Beat
Darryn “Eastside” Hardin appeared headed for a double up on what turned out to be his final hand of the tournament.  He was dealt    and was all-in against Jason Smith, who held   .  Things looked good for Eastide until the river, when a six fell, making two pair for his opponent.  The final board showed      , which put the business owner out in sixth place.  Eastside previously made it to a WSOP Circuit Final Table in Atlantic City, where he finished fourth.  He collected $5,704 in prize money here at San Diego. 
Fifth Place:  Ron Segni is Only Player to Make Three Final Tables  
Ron Segni, a general contractor from El Cajon, CA made it to his third final table this year, but could finish no higher than fifth place.  He was low on chips and survived a number of all-ins before finally going out when he lost a race.  Segni was dealt    on his final hand.  He faced Michael Kaplitz, who showed   ,  Kaplitz caught a queen on the turn and won the hand when the board ran      .  Segni earned $7,598 in prize money.
Fourth Place:  Attorney Disbarred  
Paul A. Koks, an attorney from Houston, TX, made it all the way to fourth place, nursing a short stack for nearly four hours en route to a $9,503 payday.  He finally ran so low on chips he had to commit with a weak hand, which ended up losing to pocket fours.  This was only the third tournament Koks has entered and marked his first time to cash. 
Third Place:  Jason Smith Takes Third After Wicked Beat
Jason Smith, from Chandler, AZ had a good chance to win, and might have done so were it not for a brutal beat late in the tournament.  Smith was dealt    on his final hand against Michael Kaplitz’s   .  After an ace flopped, both players were committed with top pair.  Smith was all-in with the best kicker.  But a deuce on the river shattered Smith’s shot of victory. 

The final board showed      , which gave Kaplitz two pair.  Meanwhile, Smith – who now has four WSOPC cashes in the past two years – added $13,302 to his poker bankroll.
Second Place:  Another Impressive Showing for Yang
Bernie Yang came very close to winning his second WSOPC gold bracelet this week.  The winner of the $550 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em event which ended last Tuesday was within just a card of taking another title.  The Georgia Tech grad who grew up in Taiwan and is now living in San Diego as part of an internship in a Ph.D. program, had to settle for second place, which paid $19,942.
Heads-up play lasted about 40 minutes.  When the final duo began play, Kaplitz enjoyed nearly a 2 to 1 chip advantage.  But Yang gradually drew close to even.  Then, Kaplitz won what was unquestionably the biggest hand of the tournament, when he made a full house versus Yang’s two pair. 

The fateful hand came when Yang was dealt Jd 9h.  Kaplitz was dealt Qd Qh.  After the flop came Js 9s 8h, Yang moved all-in holding two pair.  Kaplitz called with his overpair.  The 8s came on the turn, reversing the advantage in Kaplitz’s favor with the higher pair.  The Qc fell on the river, which was an exclamation point of victory, giving Kaplitz a full house and the title.
First Place:  King Kaplitz
San Diego businessman Michael Kaplitz won his biggest payday ever with a resounding victory in the latest WSOP Circuit event held at Harrah’s Rincon.  He collected first-place prize money totaling $29,433, in addition to his first gold ring, the ultimate prize given to winners of WSOP Circuit events.  Kaplitz has plans to parlay this victory into even bigger things.  He says he will play in the Harrah’s Rincon Championship, which begins tomorrow.