Cyle Curtis Wins Latest WSOP Circuit Gold Ring at Harveys Lake Tahoe
Sacramento-Based Poker Dealer-Prop Player Defeats John Deng in Three Hour Heads-Up Battle
Big Weekend Expected in High Sierras with Five More Gold Ring Events, plus the Opening of Ski Season
Stateline, NV – The winner of the fifth World Series of Poker Circuit event held at Harveys Lake Tahoe is Cyle Curtis, from Sacramento, CA.
Cyle Curtis (first name is pronounced "Kyle") is a poker dealer, who also plays poker as a prop player during his down time. Many California cardrooms use what are called “prop players,” which are paid employees who get games started and keep short-handed tables going during slower periods. Curtis works full-time at the Lucky Derby cardroom, which is located in Sacramento.
Curtis collected $16,037 in prize money. He was also presented with the gold ring, which is the ultimate token of achievement given for winning a WSOP Circuit event. This was one of the first major tournaments Curtis had ever entered, and was his first victory.
With his triumph, Curtis joined four previous winners on the leader board in the overall point race for the top player at this year’s Harveys Lake Tahoe series. The poker player who accumulates the most overall points receives a free roll entry into the $1 million 2010-2011 WSOP Circuit National Championship, to be held next May in Las Vegas.
Curtis’ tournament victory came after a rough and tough battle, especially during the second day of play. First, he overcame a massive chip disadvantage when he sat down. Then, he lost chip leads twice during heads-up play, only to regain his advantage later on.
The final table lasted much longer than any event played thus far, clocking in at more than seven hours. In fact, the back-and-forth duel between the final two players – John Deng and Cyle Curtis, both full-time Sacramento-based cardroom employees – lasted more than three hours. During the battle, the chip lead changed four times. However in the end, it was Curtis who held the upper hand and the better cards.
This was the third No-Limit Hold’em gold ring event of the Harveys Lake Tahoe series, following two days of alternative games (Omaha High Low-Split and H.O.R.S.E.) on the schedule. As expected, attendance more than doubled over the previous days’ events.
This $345 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament began on a Tuesday at noon and ended on Wednesday night. The tournament attracted a respectable midweek field size totaling 228 entrants.
The first day opened with 228 players playing down to 19 survivors, which took nearly 14 hours. The final table began at 4 pm, with Scott Stewart and John Deng neck-a-neck for the chip lead. Incredibly, Cyle Curtis was a distant ninth in chips when final table play began.
When the ten finalists took their seats, the seating order and chip counts were as follows:
SEAT 1: Vu Truong (Atlanta, GA) – 230,000 in chips
SEAT 2: John Deng (Davis, CA) – 395,000 in chips
SEAT 3: Steve von Buelow (Marina del Rey, CA) – 184,000 in chips
SEAT 4: Mark Beuerle (Pasadena, MD) – 75,000 in chips
SEAT 5: Mike Murphy (South Lake Tahoe, CA) – 124,000 in chips
SEAT 6: Brad Naegele (Crystal Lake, IL) – 265,000 in chips
SEAT 7: Steve Park (San Francisco, CA) – 340,000 in chips
SEAT 8: Cyle Curtis (Sacramento, CA) – 80,000 in chips
SEAT 9: John Miner (Carson City, NV) – 180,000 in chips
SEAT 10: Scott Stewart (Lakewood, CA) – 392,000 in chips
Players were eliminated in the following order:
10th Place – Mark Beuerle, a self-described adventurer from Pasadena, MD was eliminated on the second hand dealt at the final table. He moved all-in with A-Q which was called by an opponent holding pocket jacks. Beuerle flopped an ace. But a jack also flopped, making a set for Beuerle’s rival. He failed to improve and ended up with tenth place prize money, amounting to $1,204.
9th Place – John Miner was eliminated just ten minutes into play. He moved all-in holding pocket nines, but ran into pocket queens. The contractor from Carson City, NV had to settle for ninth place, which paid $1,488.
8th Place – Vu Truong, a poker dealer from Atlanta, GA was knocked out when he took a tough beat holding pocket jacks. He was all in against K-Q. Three low cards flopped, which was quite good for Truong. However, the board came with running spades which gave Truong’s opponent the nut flush. Truong had to settle for a consolation prize amounting to $1,865.
Nearly two hours passed before the next player was eliminated. During that span, there were at least a dozen all-in confrontations, but each time the shortest stack managed to double up. Mike Murphy made the biggest move, seizing the chip lead when play was at seven-handed.
7th Place – Brad Naegele finally went out when he lost a race with two overcards against a lower pair. His A-J was called by pocket eights. Naegele failed to improve and had to accept seventh place. The truck driver from the Chicago area and former U.S. Marine hauled off $2,373 in prize money.
6th Place – Steve von Buelow, an aerospace engineer from Marina del Rey, CA was getting low on chips. He made an aggressive move by pushing all-in on a flush draw, but missed making the catch. Scott Stewart faded the big draw with pocket aces and scooped the large pot, leaving von Buelow with $3,065 for sixth place.
5th Place – Mike Murphy was the big story of this final table, until he busted out in fifth place. When play was at 15-handed, Murphy was caught red-handed trying to steal a round of blinds and antes with Q-8, which ran into not just one big hand, but two. He faced A-A and A-K and was getting up from the table ready to leave. Murphy lost the hand, but during the count down, it was discovered he still had a few chips remaining.
Incredibly, Murphy scratched and clawed his way back from the dead for the next four hours all the way to the chip lead at one point. Murphy ultimately ran out of momentum during the next hour and was eliminated when he missed a straight draw. The CEO from South Lake Tahoe, CA ended up with $4,018 in prize money and a great comeback story.
4th Place – Steve Park, from San Francisco, went card dead during his final hour in the tournament. He finally moved all-in with A-8 and got called by Q-J. Park looked to be in good shape after the flop bought an eight (good for a pair). But a queen fell on the river (making a higher pair for his opponent), busting Park out of the tournament. He received $5,349.
3rd Place – During much of the final table, Scott Stewart appeared to be the player to beat. He was either the chip leader or close to the lead throughout play, until his last few hands when everything seemed to go wrong. Stewart lost a third of his stack on one coin flip hand, then another third when his opponent drew out. Finally, Stewart pushed and lost his remaining chips, which went to Cyle Curtis. Stewart had to accept $7,233 for third place.
2nd Place – John Deng was as tough an adversary as any winner could possibly face. He consistently hammered his final adversary with aggressive play. But Deng lost a number of key hands during the heads-up phase which cost him the victory. Deng, who works as a floor supervisor at the Casino Royale (cardroom) in Sacramento, received $9,938 for second place.
When heads up play began, the chip counts were close to even. It took more than three hours to ultimately determine the winner. One big hand came early in the duel when Cyle Curtis took over the chip lead temporarily after making a pair of sevens against John Deng who missed his straight draw. But Deng consistently hammered away at his opponent for more than an hour and regained the lead.
That was just the beginning of the see-saw battle. Curtis took over the lead again when he won a few big hands during a phase when Deng appeared to run cold. At one point, Curtis was just one card away from victory when he had his opponent covered and completely dominated -- with A-Q against A-9. But Deng managed to catch not just one, but two nines, which turned his dog hand into a winner. After more than 70 hands had been dealt, things were right where they started as the chip stacks were close to even.
The decisive hand occurred when Curtis was able to make an ace-high flush against Deng’s king-high flush. There was no way Deng could get away from the hand, and he was never able to recover from that devastating blow.
The final hand of the tournament was dealt when Curtis had about an 8 to 1 chip advantage. He was dealt . Deng was dealt . The flop all bust ended Deng’s hopes. The flop came . The 3d on the turn sealed the victory and the 9d on the river ended the tournament.
1st Place – Cyle Curtis, a 25-year-old poker dealer and proposition player from Sacramento, CA won his first major live tournament. He collected $16,073 in prize money, plus his first WSOP Circuit gold ring.
Cyle Curtis joined the following players as WSOP Circuit gold ring winners so far at Harveys Lake Tahoe:
Phillip Hui (Event #1 champion -- NLHE)
Manh Tran (Event #2 champion -- NLHE)
James Sparks (Event #3 champion – Omaha High-Low Split)
Devin Jackson (Event #4 champion – H.O.R.S.E.)
Paul Tippets, from Ogden, UT, was the winner of one of the nightly $235 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournaments. However, it was misreported that he won the Seniors Championship. WSOP.COM regrets the error and wishes to report that Tippets should instead be credited with a victory in the nightly tournament. “I’m 41-years-old,” Tippets said after seeing he had “won” the Seniors event. “My wife saw the results and said, "What’s up with that?”
The Main Event No-Limit Hold’em Championship will begin this coming Sunday, November 20th. The buy-in is $1,600. Single-table and mega-satellites are running regularly inside the Harveys Lake Tahoe Poker Room.
With the conclusion of the fifth gold ring event at Harveys Lake Tahoe, so far this year a total of 1,247 players have participated in WSOP Circuit events. That means each event has attracted an average of 249 players. With a busy weekend expected coming up, this figure will likely increase. Ski season officially opens at nearby Heavenly Ski Resort on Friday. With new snow expected in the days ahead, many visitors are expected to take advantage of the ski opportunity just steps away, as well as multiple poker tournaments running day and night.
The impressive attendance figures at Harveys Lake Tahoe are consistent with big turnouts at all WSOP Circuit stops, so far. All four WSOP Circuit events have experienced increases in both attendance and prize money. Numbers were up significantly at Council Bluffs, Hammond (Chicago), and Southern Indiana. A new addition to this year’s schedule held at the IP Casino-Resort and Spa in Biloxi also produced impressive numbers.
Harveys Lake Tahoe is adjacent to its sister property Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, right across the street. Both resorts are located on the south shore of crystal blue Lake Tahoe, beneath a wall of snow-capped mountains, making for one of the most astounding views of any poker destination in the world.
Northern Nevada has a rich poker history. Few may remember that the WSOP had its origins, not in Las Vegas, but rather in Northern Nevada. The first WSOP-style tournament was played in Reno at the Holiday Casino in 1969. That first gathering of poker players was called the "Second Annual Gambling Fraternity Convention," and was won by Crandell Addington, later a Poker Hall of Fame inductee. Poker patriarch Benny Binion was so impressed with the concept that he held the first WSOP the following year at Binion's Horseshoe in Las Vegas, in 1970.
Now some 41 years later, poker remains alive and well in the Reno-Lake Tahoe area. In addition to the ten scheduled gold ring events on this year’s schedule, there are nightly No-Limit Hold'em tournaments and plenty of mega-satellites. Cash games are going on inside the poker room around the clock.
Poker players can still come and join the action. Hotel reservations can be made by calling 1-800-HARRAHS. Ask for a special tournament player’s rate under the code: "WSOP1" Special hotel rates are $39 weekdays and $69 for Friday nights. Saturday nights are based on availability. Hotel reservations can also be made online at http://www.harveystahoe.com.
This year, all players on the WSOP Circuit can accumulate points which are used to qualify towards the WSOP Circuit National Championship tournament, to be held in May 2011 in Las Vegas. The $1 million freeroll tournament will be nationally televised and will be open to only 100 qualifiers. For the first time ever, a WSOP gold bracelet will be presented to the winner.
The 2010-2011 World Series of Poker Circuit schedule – which includes all upcoming tour stops and dates -- can be viewed here.
ABOUT HARVEYS LAKE TAHOE RESORT & CASINO
Harveys Resort & Casino is the largest resort casino property at Lake Tahoe. A wide variety of resort features include: 740 rooms and suites; nearly 75,000 square feet of casino space; five great restaurants including the stunning 19 Kitchen • Bar (overlooking beautiful Lake Tahoe), Hard Rock Cafe, Sammy Hagar’s famous Cabo Wabo Cantina and the elegant Sage Room Steakhouse (est. 1947); a full-service health club and pool; elaborate convention center services; Harveys Cabaret theatre (home of the Improv Comedy Club); race and sportsbook; poker room; wedding chapel; and family arcade. Harveys also presents the celebrated Lake Tahoe Summer Concert Series, which features superstar artists including Elton John, Eagles, Bob Dylan, Kenny Chesney and many more. In 2010, Harveys Resort & Casino was awarded 35 Casino Player Magazine Best of Gaming Awards including: Best Steakhouse (Sage Room); Best Headliners; Best Video and Reel Slots; Best Race/Sportsbook; Best Poker Room and Best Poker Tournaments. For more information and reservations, please visit: www.HarveysTahoe.com.