Brett Schwertley Makes Big Comeback and Wins Chicago Opener

Horseshoe Hammond Sets New Record with Largest Poker Tournament in WSOP Circuit History

Hammond, IN – Poker is not only alive and well in Chicago, it’s become the city’s newest pastime. 
While the NFL’s Bears lost a bitterly disappointing home game on Sunday afternoon and while both major league baseball franchises were forced to watch other teams compete in the league championship series, poker became the main focus for a record-smashing 1,611 players who entered the first event of this year’s World Series of Poker Circuit, held just outside Chicago.  Forget about going to Soldier Field and Comiskey Park.  There were far more winners playing at the Horseshoe Casino, in nearby Hammond.

The $350 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament was the largest poker event ever held in the seven-year history of the WSOP Circuits.  In fact, this was the biggest poker turnout ever in the Chicago area.  The enormous field size shattered the previous record set here at Horseshoe Hammond almost a year to the day of this historic occasion.  Last year’s number of entrants for the corresponding event was 1,412, who participated in the opener.  Accordingly, this tournament not only eclipsed the previous mark, it obliterated the old record by just under 200 players.

When this tournament began promptly at noon on Friday, October 15th, every single seat and poker table was filled to capacity.  Nearly 200 alternates were seated as players were gradually eliminated.  Turnout was so large that the original plan to play two consecutive days was scrapped.  A third day had to be added in order to play into the money, reach the final table, and ultimately to determine the winner.

The tournament winner was Brett Schwertley, a 27-year-old semi-pro poker player from Omaha, NE.  This marked his first time ever to win a WSOP Circuit victory.  His win paid $77,438 in prize money, plus the coveted Gold Ring, the token prize presented to all WSOP Circuit event champions.

Remarkably, this was Schwertley’s fifth time to cash so far this season.  Despite this being only the third WSOP Circuit stop in 2010-2011, Schwertley appears well on his way to being a strong contender as the point leader in the overall WSOP Circuit National Championship race.  Schwertley also now has nine WSOP Circuit cashes on his resume, plus two in-the-money finishes at the WSOP in Las Vegas.  This victory catapults him over the $100,000 mark in WSOP tournament winnings.

Schwertley defeated longtime poker tournament veteran Edward Corrado in heads-up play and scooped the biggest pot of the tournament, which brought a well-deserved victory.  The final hand occurred when Schwertley was dealt     against Corrado’s    .  There was no early raise, so both players got to see the flop cheaply.  Little did anyone expect these two mediocre hands would lead to the final confrontation of what was a very long three-day tournament. 

The flop came      .  Corrado flopped top pair -- kings.  But Schwertley flopped two pair -- queens and threes.  Schwertley stealthy checked to his aggressive opponent.  On cue, Corrado bet out with his pair of kings and Schwertley check-raised, which was quickly called.  The turn brought the 6h.  Now, Schwertley’s hand was even sweeter -- with two pair and a flush draw.  This time, Schwertley bet out and Corrado called.  The 7h came on the river, giving Schwertley a heart flush.  He moved all in and Corrado made a crying call, perhaps thinking he was pot committed at that point.  Schwertley showed the winner, and Corrado gracefully conceded defeat with a handshake.

Final table play began with Dan Whalen holding a slight edge over Jacob Glanton.  All other players were behind by more than 2 to 1 in chips.  Given the huge field size as was expected, players did not reach the final table until midnight on the second day of play.  That meant the survivors had already played for about ten hours on Day Two when they took seats in the finale.  The starting seating positions and chip counts were as follows.

SEAT 1:  Jacob Glanton (South Bend, IN) – 2,700,000
SEAT 2:  Jason Schroeder (Aurora, IL) – 1,500,000
SEAT 3:  Steve Gilletby (Geneva, IL) – 1,450,000
SEAT 4:  Michael Gassner (Highland Park, IL) – 750,000
SEAT 5:  Edward Corrado (Naples, FL) – 1,300,000
SEAT 6:  Alex Smith (Wheeling, IL) – 1,175,000
SEAT 7:  Daniel Pyszynski (Chicago, IL) – 800,000
SEAT 8:  Brett Schwertley (Omaha, NE) – 1,690,000
SEAT 9:  Jack Ranallo (Elmwood Park, IL) – 1,200,000
SAT 10:  Dan Whalen (Chicago, IL) – 3,500,000

Players battled for two more hours and then play was suspended for the night at the end of Day Two.  Day Three included the final seven players, playing down to the winner.  That came about five hours into the finale.

9th Place – Alex Smith, a physical education major and college student from Wheeling, IL, ended up busting out in ninth place.  This was his first time to appear at a WSOP Circuit final table.

8th Place – Michael Gassner finished in eighth place.  He is a 44-year-old retiree from Highland Park, IL.  He now plays poker most of his free time.  Gassner has played all three years at the WSOP Circuit here in Chicago.  This was his best finish, to date.

7th Place – Jason Schroeder was the seventh-place finisher.  The 27-year-old poker pro from the western Chicago suburbs made the money along with his twin brother, John Schroeder -- who came in 120th place in this huge field.

6th Place – Daniel Pyszynski, a 36-year-old contractor from Chicago went out in sixth place.  He has played all three years of WSOP Circuit events in Chicago.

5th Place – Dan Whalen, who works in sales and lives in Chicago, collected a nice commission of more than $20,000 for finishing in fifth place.

4th Place – Jacob Glanton was the fourth-place finisher.  He is a 28-year-old bartender from South Bend, IN.  Glanton hopes to earn enough money to turn pro.  He also was proud of the fact he was the “Last Hoosier Standing” in this tournament.  Glanton earned $27,511 for his fine effort.

3rd Place – Jack Ranallo, a 34-year-old CEO of a supply company in Elmwood Park, IL went out in third place.  He was close to the chip lead with Edward Corrado late in the tournament.  But Ranallo went card dead late and had to settle for third place.  He cashed for $36,203.

2nd Place – Runner-up Edward Corrado has made numerous final tables and cashes throughout his long career.  He now travels around the country playing in many WSOP Circuit events.  Corrado, who is 79-years-old and is retired, collected $47,975.   This was his 14th WSOP Circuit cash and ninth final table appearance.  Corrado won a Gold Ring at the Tunica Grand (Mississippi) back in 2006.

1st Place – Brett Schwertley is a 27-year-old aspiring professional poker player.  This was his fifth cash during the young 2010-2011 WSOP Circuit season, which makes him one of the early leaders in that category.  Schwertley, who lives in Omaha, NE collected his first Gold Ring, plus $77,438 in prize money.

QUESTION:  The road to victory was not easy.  Tell us how the final table started.
SCHWERTLEY:  Last night, on the very first hand we were dealt, I started with $1.6 million (second in chips).  The player to my right had about a million.  We got it all in pre-flop.  I had two aces.  He had two jacks.  A jack came on he flop, and all the sudden I was the shortest stack at the table.
QUESTION:  That’s a huge hit to take on the very first hand.  How do you recover from that and come back to win?
SCHWERTLEY:  It’s pretty tough.  But it happens.  A similar thing happened to me in the Council Buffs (WSOP Circuit) Main Event.  I ended up losing with aces against tens and finished 14th.  It happens.
QUESTION:  Tell us about the final hand.
SCHWERTLEY:  It was a limp pot.  I flopped two pair.  I check raised him on the flop and he called.  Then, I turned a flush draw.  The turn gave me the heart draw with two pair.  I bet again and he called.  The river gave me a flush and I shoved.  It was a pretty easy hand to play.
QUESTION:  What did you think of Ed Corrado’s call on the end, with just top pair?
SCHWERTLEY:  It’s kind of a spot where I either missed or I have a huge hand.  I could have had J-T of diamonds, or something like that.  I can understand why he did it.
QUESTION:  Was there ever a point where you were close to the felt and nearly busted out?
SCHWERTLEY:  Yes.  Earlier, I beat pocket queens with A-8 of clubs.  I was on the button and short-stacked.  I shoved.  The big blind called and showed two queens.  
QUESTION:  How does winning $77,438 feel? 
SCHWERTLEY:  It does not really change anything for me.  But I am very competitive and I plan to play in more events.  This is the third straight WSOP Circuit I have attended this year.  So, I will keep doing that for a while.  I was in good shape with points coming in, and now I am the leader here, so far.
QUESTION:  So, do you think more people are motivated to play in more WSOP Circuit events now, because of the new points system and freeroll?
SCHWERTLEY:  I think it is, for a lot of people – yeah.  If you get the points, you get a chance to play in the bigger event, so sure.

With this victory, Brett Schwertley takes the early lead in the points race to determine qualifiers for the WSOP Circuit National Championship.  There will be 11 players from this Chicago series who will advance to the $1 million freeroll national championship, to be played at season’s end in Las Vegas. 

This is the third consecutive year that Horseshoe Hammond has hosted a WSOP Circuit stop.  All tournament events take place inside the special events arena called “The Venue.”  Horseshoe Hammond is conveniently located just a short distance from the Illinois-Indiana border, just 20 minutes away from Downtown Chicago.

This is the third WSOP Circuit stop of the 2010-2011 season.  To view the schedule of events taking place at Horseshoe Hammond from October 15-28, please click HERE.  To see the complete WSOP Circuit schedule, including all upcoming stops and dates, please click HERE.

Horseshoe Casino (Hammond)
777 Casino Center Drive
Hammond, IN  46312
Telephone:  (219) 473-6065 
Toll-Free: 1 (866) 711-SHOE


The World Series of Poker (WSOP) is the largest, richest and most prestigious gaming event in the world awarding millions of dollars in prize money and the prestigious gold bracelet, globally recognized as the sport's top prize. Featuring a comprehensive slate of tournaments in every major poker variation, the WSOP is poker's longest running tournament in the world, dating back to 1970.  In 2010, the event attracted 72,966 entrants from 117 different countries to the Rio in Las Vegas and awarded over $187 million in prize money.  In addition, the WSOP has formed groundbreaking alliances in broadcasting, digital media and corporate sponsorships, while successfully expanding the brand internationally with the advent in 2007 of the World Series of Poker Europe.  The WSOP Circuit Tour is entering its seventh season in 2010-11, and will feature 12 stops throughout the U.S., plus for the first ever, a stop in South Africa. For more information on the World Series of Poker, please visit

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