Hammond, IN – Mark it down.  Ian Wiley is going to be a player to watch.  

The 25-year-old poker pro from Las Vegas cashed three times at the 2010 World Series of Poker.  Among his cashes was a third-place finish in a $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Texas Hold’em tournament (Event #42).  He collected a whopping $265,869 for that extraordinary effort, outlasting a field size of more than 2,500 players.  Not bad considering it was his first WSOP.

More confident than ever in his poker game, Wiley decided to go out on the road this year, travel around the country, and play in a number of major tournaments.  Among them, several WSOP Circuit events figured in his plans.  Wiley managed to cash two times at the first WSOP Circuit stop this season, held at Council Bluffs, Iowa.  He took third and fourth in his two cashes.  So, Wiley arrived in Chicago with nearly $300,000 in tournament winnings over the last four months, including two thirds and one fourth-place performance.  Most players would be quite satisfied with such a record.

But Wiley had higher aspirations and remained hungry for more.  His next goal was a major tournament victory.

As though nothing could interrupt his destiny, Wiley became the latest WSOP Circuit champion.  He won the $560 buy-in Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em tournament, held at the Horseshoe Casino, near Chicago.  For his effort, Wiley was rewarded with $38,244 and his first WSOP Circuit Gold Ring.

The tournament attracted 322 players. The top 36 players collected prize money.  This was the sixth of 11 events on this year’s schedule at the Horseshoe Casino.

Final table play began with Bob Chow as the chip leader.  He ultimately finished as the runner-up.  The final six players were as follows:

SEAT 1:  Ian Wiley (Las Vegas, NV) – 570,000
SEAT 2:  Jason Newburger (Vernon Hills, IL) – 623,000
SEAT 3:  Russell “Rusty” Boyker (Texas) – 282,000
SEAT 4:  Bob Chow (Chicago, IL) – 1,185,000
SEAT 5:  Daniel Pyszynski (Chicago, IL) – 800,000
SEAT 6:  Alfredo Ceballos (Chicago, IL) – 383,000

The final table began at 7:30 pm on a Wednesday evening.  Play concluded past midnight.

No doubt, the biggest hand of the tournament took place when the early chip leader Chow was playing very hyper-aggressively.  He was bullying the smaller stacks (usually, the strategically correct thing do) and appeared to be unstoppable.  Ian Wiley sat across the table and had seen enough raising from his powerful adversary.  So, on one hand -- which completely swung the momentum of the final table in his favor -- Wiley made a bold stand by re-raising all-in with 7-4 offsuit from the big blind.  Wiley was obviously expecting his rival to fold.  Unfortunately, Wiley picked a horrible time to try his clever move.  His all-in move was called by Chow.  Wiley appeared doomed.  However, he ended up making a straight on the hand and catapulted into serious contention for the first time.  Wiley went on to eliminate two players at the final table before going heads-up against Chow.

The final hand of the tournament took place when Wiley was dealt     against Chow’s    .  By that time, Chow was outchipped by about a 4 to 1 margin.  He moved all-in, was called.  Again, Chow was the favorite.  But this was to be Wiley’s night.  The final board showed          .  That gave Chow a pair of deuces.  But Wiley made a pair of kings and ended up with the victory.  

Players were officially paid and finished as follows:

6th Place – Russell “Rusty” Boyker was the first player to be eliminated from the short-handed final table.  The Texan was playing in a WSOP Circuit event for the first time.  He collected $5,887 in prize money.

5th Place – Alfredo Ceballos, a 33-year-old physician from Chicago, IL, was the fifth-place finisher.  He has been playing poker seriously for many years and even supported himself financially by playing poker while he was in medical school.  Ceballos previously cashed in a WSOP Circuit event held in Chicago two years ago.  This time, he earned $8,188 for a fine effort.

4th Place – Jason Newburger, a 26-year-old poker player and owner of a real estate company, finished in fourth place.  He is a former NCAA basketball player, where he played for Bradley University.  Newburger, who now resides in Vernon Hills, IL, earned $11,519.

3rd Place – Daniel Pyszynski, a 36-year-old contractor from Chicago, IL finished in third place and earned $16,399 in his first WSOP Circuit final table finish.

2nd Place – Bob Chow, a 50-year-old consultant from Chicago, IL, did just about everything he could to win,  but the cards did not cooperate.  Chow had to settle for second place.  After the tournament ended, Wiley congratulated his pesky rival and complimented his game.  “He frustrated me the entire final table,” Wiley said.  Chow received $23,629 in prize money.

1st Place – Ian Wiley grew up in Iowa.  After earning his degree, he worked in banking for three years.  But Wiley began playing poker part-time and gradually discovered both a passion and talent for the game.  He enjoyed a breakthrough at this past WSOP and now has an additional $38,244 in his poker bankroll.  Wiley also won pre-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.
With this victory, Wiley joins the previous Gold Ring champions in Chicago – including Juan Rodriguez, Cheech Barbaro, John Nguyen, Chad Graves, and Brett Schwertley.  They are the current 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.  See the complete HORSESHOE HAMMOND poker tournament schedule here.  This year’s events take place from October 15-28.  The full WSOP CIRCUIT SCHEDULE for the 2010-2011 season, including all upcoming stops and dates is also listed.