Tom Masinter Wins WSOP Circuit Gold Ring at Harveys Lake Tahoe

Despite Winter Blizzard in High Sierras, Latest Event Draws 318 Entries  

Stateline, NV – The winner of the latest World Series of Poker Circuit event at Harveys Lake Tahoe is Tom Masinter, from Dublin, CA.

Masinter collected $21,147 in prize money.  He was also presented with his first gold ring, which is the ultimate token of achievement given for winning a WSOP Circuit event. 

Masinter is a 37-year-old telecommunications technician.  He was cheered to victory by a large group of friends and family members, who plowed across snow-covered roads to get to Harveys and made the final table into more of a party atmosphere than a major poker tournament.  Nearly a dozen supporters stood and applauded their favorite poker player’s impressive victory.

The win came on a day when the South Lake Tahoe area was hit with nearly two feet of snow (yes, that’s FEET).  A frosty atmosphere outdoors was no match for what happened inside as Masinter torched the competition.

With his victory, Masinter joined seven previous winners as leaders 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 freeroll entry into the $1 million 2010-2011 WSOP Circuit National Championship, to be held next May in Las Vegas.


This was the sixth No-Limit Hold’em gold ring event of the Harveys Lake Tahoe series, and the eighth gold ring event overall.  This $345 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament began on a Friday at noon and ended late Saturday night.  The tournament attracted another strong field size totaling 318 entrants.

The first day opened with 318 players playing down to 19 survivors, which took about 14 hours.  The final table began at 4:30 pm.  Richard “Duff” Defer -- who ultimately ended up in second place -- enjoyed the chip lead when the action started, with two rivals -- Jeff Bond and Tom Masinter – close to the lead, as well. 

When the ten finalists took their seats, the seating order and chip counts were as follows:

SEAT 1:  Richard Grossman (St. Louis, MO) – 130,000 in chips 
SEAT 2:  Justin Lazaro (San Francisco, CA) – 303,000 in chips
SEAT 3:  Adrian Wise (San Jose, CA) – 421,000 in chips
SEAT 4:  Leonard “Duff” Swisher (Sacramento, CA) – 693,000 in chips
SEAT 5:  Deborah Tang (Sacramento, CA) – 248,000 in chips
SEAT 6:  Jeff Bond (Thousand Oaks, CA) – 494,000 in chips
SEAT 7:  Will Raymundo (Brentwood, CA) – 187,000 in chips
SEAT 8:  Leonard Swisher (Modesto, CA) – 138,000 in chips
SEAT 9:  Tom Masinter (Dublin, CA) – 496,000 in chips
SEAT 10:  Thomas Castellon (Oakland, CA) – 73,000 in chips 

Players were eliminated in the following order:

10th Place – Birthday boy Tom Castellon, who turned 27 on this day, was eliminated about 20 minutes into play.  He pushed all-in with A-J, which was called by a player with 7-7.  An ace in the door looked good for Castellon.  But a seven also flopped, giving his opponent a set.  The final board was A-7-3-9-K, which put Catellon on the rail with a nice birthday present amounting to $1,581 in prize money.

9th Place – Leonard Swisher, a retired businessman and Army veteran, was short stacked and lost a race on what turned out to be his final hand.  He moved all-in pre-flop.  “Duff” moved all-in over the top, which made it into a heads-up duel.  Swisher showed A-K against “Duff’s” J-J.  Swisher’s chips vanished when the board came 10-6-5-3-J, giving “Duff” a set of jacks.  Swisher, from Modesto, CA collected $1,952.

8th Place – Will Raymundo took a devastating beat about an hour into the finale.  Raymundo had Q-7.  He pushed all-in after the flop, when the board showed 7-7-3 -- good for three sevens.  Justin Lazaro decided to make the call and showed his overpair – which was pocket nines.  Lazaro desperately needed to catch a nine, and that’s precisely what came on the turn as the 9 gave Lazaro a full house.  The players’ stacks were counted down and it was discovered that Raymundo held the lower stack size.  The painter from Brentwood, CA received $2,446 in prize money.

7th Place – Richard Grossman, a 25-year-old poker pro from St. Louis, MO, finished in seventh place.  He was getting low on chips and moved all-in holding 6-6.  Jeff Bond made the call and tabled 10-10.  Neither player improved, so the higher pair won.  Grossman, a huge fan of baseball’s St. Louis Cardinals, flew away with a $3,111 payout.

6th Place – Deborah Tang made a nice run in the tournament, but ultimately finished in fifth place.  She had average chips for about two hours, but then lost a race and went out with $4,016 in prize money.  The CPA from Sacramento previously placed sixth in the California Ladies Poker Championship held a few weeks ago in San Diego.  She also took fifth place in a WSOP Circuit Ladies Championship, held a few years ago.

5th Place – Justin Lazaro fought hard and lasted nearly four hours before exiting in fifth place.  Lazaro was eliminated after losing a race with 9-9, which was topped by “Duff’s” A-10.  A ten flopped, which ended Lazaro’s hope for victory.  The 26-year-old system administrator who works for Mozilla from San Francisco, CA accepted $5,266 in prize money.

4th Place – Jeff Bond, who works as a vice president of sales and lives in Thousand Oaks, CA was low on chips and made his final stand with J-9.  His attempt to steal a round of blinds and antes failed as his raise was called by a rival holding pocket tens.  The tens backed into a flush, which eliminated Bond.  He received a nice commission amounting to $7,014 in prize money.  This marked Bond’s fifth time to make the final table in a WSOP Circuit tournament.  He now has 9th, 9th, 7th, 3rd, and 2nd-place finishes.   

3rd Place – Adrian Wise played fearlessly but ultimately went out when his semi-bluff all-in raise failed and he missed his draw.  After a flop of 7-6-6-, Wise moved all-in holding A-K on what turned out to be his final hand.  His raise was called by “Duff,” who showed 8-9 – good for a straight draw.  A ten fell on the river, completing the starting and removing Wise from the final table.  The college professor who teaches political science at San Francisco State University collected $9,496 for third place.

2nd Place – Richard Defer, a.k.a. “Duff” finished as the runner up.  He easily could have won the tournament, but suffered some misfortune on the final hand of play and had to settle for a second-place payout of $13,075.  “Duff” is a 69-year-old retired fireman from Sacramento, CA.  He is quite a remarkable man -- both at the poker table and away from it.  He was most gracious when he lost the final hand and quickly approached the winner with a firm handshake and several words of encouragement.  “Duff,” an amputee, has overcome several personal challenges.  In fact, he is a medal-winning skier despite his disability.

When heads-up play began, the chip counts were close to even.  But Masinter chipped away at his opponent to the point he was up by about a 3 to 2 margin.  The final hand of the tournament took place when Masinter was dealt Ad Jd against “Duff’s”    .  After the flop came       “Duff” was the aggressor throughout the hand.  He bet out twice and Masinter smooth called both times.  The turn was the  .  When the   fell on the river, Masinter made two pair.  “Duff” bet out again, and Masinter raised all-in.  Once his rival called, Masinter showed his two pair and won the final hand of the night.  

1st Place – Tom Masinter, from Dublin, CA collected $21,147.  This was his fourth time to cash at Harveys Lake Tahoe in a WSOP Circuit event and was his first gold ring victory.


Tom Masinter 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.)
Cyle Curtis (Event #5 champion – NLHE)
Matthew Hughes (Event #6 champion – Six-Handed NLHE)
Joel Casper (Event #7 champion – NLHE)


The Main Event No-Limit Hold’em Championship starts Sunday, November 21st.  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 eighth gold ring event at Harveys Lake Tahoe, so far this year a total of 1,838 players have participated in WSOP Circuit events.  That means each event has attracted an average of 230 players.


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 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.

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.


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: