Chad Graves Wins WSOP Circuit Gold Ring in Event #2

Huge Milwaukee Brewers Fans Hits Grand Slam in Chicago

Hammond, IN – The World Series of Poker Circuit continued at the Horseshoe Casino near Chicago, with the start and conclusion of Event #2.

The $560 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament attracted yet another large field totaling 594 players.  This was on the heels of the previous day’s record-breaking opener, which drew an all-time high, 1,611 players -- making it the largest poker tournament ever in WSOP Circuit history.  No doubt, the turnout for Event #2 would have been even higher, except that a few hundred players had a conflict being still alive and playing in the opening event, which ran over three consecutive days.

The second event of this year’s Chicago series was won by Chad Graves, from Milwaukee, WI.  He works as a 24-year-old sleep technician.  For those who might wonder what that unusual occupation entails, Graves studies neurophysiology and sleep patterns.  More on that later.

There was nothing which made Graves drowsy while earning his first major tournament victory.  In fact, Graves was ecstatic afterward.  He was cheered to victory by a large posse of supporters, most of whom made the three-hour drive from his hometown Milwaukee to come and watch their favorite player win the biggest prize of his poker career.

Graves collected $59,539 in prize money.  He was also presented with his first WSOP Circuit gold ring.  Graves also received two huge complimentary entries – first into the $1,600 buy-in Main Event, to be played at the Horseshoe Casino October 22-24 -- and second into the $10,000 buy-in Regional Championship, held October 25-28.

Final table play began with Jason Oshita as the player to beat.  He held close to a 2 to 1 chip advantage over his closest rivals.  Three players were in a neck-to-neck race for second place – including Chad Graves, Ryan Austin and Rory Stace.  The remaining five players had a lot of ground to make up to move into serious contention.  The final ten players were as follows:

SEAT 1:  Chun Law (Memphis, TN) – 248,000
SEAT 2:  Chad Graves (Milwaukee, WI) – 1,107,000
SEAT 3:  Ryan Austin (Westerville, OH) – 1,025,000
SEAT 4:  Josh Shmerl (Wauconda, IL) – 410,000
SEAT 5:  Keith A. Correll (Greenwood, IN) – 208,000
SEAT 6:  James (Rob) Pierson (La Grange, IL) – 350,000
SEAT 7:  Anastas Mukoski (Crown Point, IN) – 560,000
SEAT 8:  Kyle Hanpeter (Chicago, IL) – 436,000
SEAT 9:  Rory Stace (Kalamazoo, MI) – 930,000
SEAT 10:  Jason Oshita (Arlington Heights, IL) – 1,800,000

The final table began at 6 pm on a Sunday evening.  Play concluded at 10:30 pm, after the final three players agreed to a deal.  The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.  However, players were officially paid and finished as follows:

9th Place – Chun Law, from Memphis, TN was the first player to be eliminated from the final table.

8th Place – James (Rob) Pierson, from La Grange, IL ended up as the eighth-place finisher.  He is the owner of a tour company.  Pierson is also a member of Mensa.  He says he is a ‘bad golfer.”  But that shortcoming is more than made up for at the poker table.  This marked Pierson’s best showing ever in a WSOP-related tournament.

7th Place – Ryan Austin, from Westerville, OH is a 24-year-old pro poker player.  He was eliminated in seventh place.

6th Place – Anastas Mukoski, a 52-year-old physician from Crown Point, IN was diagnosed at the sixth-place finisher.

5th Place – Kyle Hanpeter, a 23-year-old part-time poker player from nearby Chicago ended up in fifth place, which paid just over $15,000.

4th Place – Rory Stace, a private investor who specializes in real estate was the fourth-place finisher.  Stace was once an all-around athlete in high school who won a number of championships.  He now fuels his competitive spirit at the poker table.  Stace earned a nice score, which amounted to just short of $20,000.

3rd Place – Third place officially went to Jason Oshita, a commerce manager from Arlington Heights, IL.  This was his best showing ever in a WSOP-related tournament.  Third place paid $26,929.

2nd Place – Keith A. Correll was the official runner-up.  He is a 45-year-old controller from Greenwood, IN.  He collected $36,826.  Correll previously won a gold ring two years ago at the WSOP Circuit event held in South Indiana.

1st Place – Chad Graves, a 24-year-old sleep technician from Milwaukee, WI earned his first major tournament victory.  First place officially paid $59,539 plus the Gold Ring.  Graves also wins paid seats into the $1,600 buy-in Main Event and the $10,000 buy-in Regional Championship, coming up next week at the Horseshoe Casino.

QUESTION:  How did you end up coming here from Milwaukee?
GRAVES:  Back during the summer, me and my friend both saw that the WSOP Circuit was coming again to Indiana.  We agreed that we would come and just play in the first two events, because my friend had to be back in grad school on Monday.  He ended up winning a Main Event seat (in a satellite) and I ended up winning two seats.  Now, I have to figure out how to get off from work to come back and play.  It’s pretty surreal.
QUESTION:  You say you are a sleep technician.  What does that mean?
GRAVES:  I earned my degree in neurophysiology.  What we study is brain activity.  What I do is work as an electro diagnostic technician.  Like with seizures and things like that, we study brain activity.  It goes hand-in-hand with being a sleep technician, which is PSG technician.
QUESTION:  How did you discover poker?
GRA|VES:  I started playing with my twin brother when I was 16.  It started when I saw the WSOP on television back in 2003.
QUESTION:  You officially collected about $59,000.  You expect this will change things in some ways?
GRAVES:  I definitely will play more tournaments.  You will definitely see me at the WSOP and in more Circuit events.  As soon as I get the time off and can make it happen, I will go for it.  Hopefully, some of my closest friends will come with me.
QUESTION:  You had a large following here cheering you on.  Tell us about all the people who drove to Indiana from Milwaukee?
GRAVES:  I started the day with 55 players still remaining.  I posted my progress on Facebook and my phone has been blowing up for two days now.  People kept asking for chip count updates and everything.  I tried to keep up and post updates as much as possible.  My twin brother has also been here for me.  He works with me and we try to help each other become better players….I am very lucky to have a great group of friends.  We all support each other and try to help each other get better at the game.  They drove down here from Milwaukee.  They are a great supporting cast.  I can’t even explain how awesome it is to have great friends like that who would come all this way to support me.
QUESTION:  Is this your first year to play in a WSOP-related tournament?
GRAVES:  Two years ago, I played in the WSOP Main Event.  Then, I went back to school and finished up my degree.  I had not played in any live events since then, until now.  I played in yesterday’s event, and then this one, and I took it down.
QUESTION:  You say you are a big fan of the Milwaukee Brewers.  Tonight, the National League Championship Series is being played at the same time you won your first major tournament.  Is there an irony to you still being alive in poker and winning a tournament, while your team did not fare so well?
GRAVES:  The Brewers used to lose 100 games a year.  I realized I was a true fan when I would watch every single game.  Whether they lost or not, I would always stay up late at night to watch the final pitch.  It didn’t matter if they were losing 16-1 or whatever, I would stick with it….I do think we have a very bright future.  I hope it gets better and we improve.  I will be watching and cheering for them, for sure.
With this victory, Chad Graves joins Brett Schwertley, who was the winner of Event #1, as the early leaders 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  
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