Hammond, IN -- We’re in the money! 

At promptly 3 am on Day Two, the money spots were reached in the inaugural World Series of Poker Circuit Regional Championship, currently taking place at the Horseshoe Casino, near Chicago.  There are only 24 players still remaining from an initial starting field of 226 entries.

The first-ever $10,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Regional Championship started on Monday.  At stake is a monster-sized prize pool amounting to $2,101,800 – the largest WSOP Circuit purse in more than three years.  The winner will receive $525,449, plus the WSOP Circuit Gold Ring. 

The inaugural champion also wins a reserved seat in the $1 million freeroll National Championship tournament, to be held next May in Las Vegas – just prior to the start of the 2011 WSOP.  All nine players who make it to the final table here in Chicago will also be guaranteed seats.  Only 100 players overall will qualify to participate in what will be a Gold Bracelet event, making it one of the most attractive overlays ever in poker.

After two days of play, the current chip leader is Gabe Patgorski (a.k.a. John Gabriel Patgorski), from New York, NY.  He is a top online poker player who plays under the screen name "gp333."  Patgorski has achieved two WSOP cashes in his short career.  His best previous live showing was a 13th-place finish at the 2008 WSOP.  He has fared considerably better online, where he has reportedly finished high in several majors. 
 
Second place currently belongs to Curt Kohlberg, from Weston, MA.  Current standings can be viewed under TOURNAMENT UPDATES.
 
Many of game’s top players played in this first-time event.  Among the well-known names which entered the Nationally Televised Regional Championship were – Barry Greenstein, Gavin Smith, David Baker, Chris Bell, Chad Brown, Nick Binger, Matt Brady, Doug “Rico” Carli, Eric Froehlich, Matt Glantz, Blair Hinkle, Frank Kassela, Allen “Chainsaw” Kessler, Kathy Liebert, Jeff Madsen, Jason Mercier, Brock Parker, Sorel Mizzi, Tony Rivera, Vanessa Selbst, Dan Shak, Shannon Shorr, Justin Smith, Matt Stout, and Steve Zolotow.  However, most of those names are now long gone.

The top 24 finishers will receive prize money.  The lowest payout is $19,400 (22nd through 24th).
 
Day Three will continue until players reach the final nine survivors – which will constitute the final table.  Those fortunate enough to make the final nine are guaranteed to receive at least $48,615 in prize money.  But no one seems to be thinking about that number at the moment.  Most of those who still remain are shooting for the half-million dollar victory. 

The final table will be played on Thursday, October 28th.  Starting time is scheduled at 2 pm.  Spectators are invited to attend.  Viewing is free and open to the public, who are over age 21.  All action takes place inside The Venue, the large entertainment center located inside the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, IN. 

The final table will be televised on the Versus Network.  This marks the first time in three years that a WSOP Circuit Championship will appear on national television.  The date(s) and time(s) will be announced later at WSOP.COM

Check here to see the complete 2010-2011 WSOP CIRCUIT SCHEDULE, which lists many upcoming events around the nation.