The World Series of Poker Circuit Events at Harrah’s St. Louis continued Friday evening with the conclusion of Ring Event #7.

The winner of the $555 buy-in No Limit Hold’em tournament was Keith Woernle of Montgomery, AL. It was his largest-ever major tournament win, earning him $31,477 and the coveted WSOP Circuit gold ring.

276 players entered the two-day tournament, generating at total prize pool of $131, 171. The event paid out 30 spots.

16 players returned on day two to play it out on day two and a few hours into play it was down to the official final table. Although Woernle started the final table as the chip leader, it would not be an easy road to victory. Joining him was notable pro Ari Engel who was in the middle of the pack.





Chip Count

Keith Woernle

Montgomery, AL



Shawn Arnold

Tulsa, OK



Don Norman

Marion, IL



Gary Welch

Perryville, MO



Darren Dwyer

Salem, IL



Joel Shulruf

Buffalo Grove, IL



Noah Nodine

Oklahoma City, OK



Ari Engel

Las Vegas, NV



Jovan Sudar

Omaha, NE



Ninth Place

A couple of the short stacks were able to double up early after final table play began at 3:25 pm with blinds and antes at 1,000/4,000/8,000, but Darren Dwyer wasn’t as lucky after moving all-in with    from the small blind and getting a call from Shawn Arnold who tabled   . The board paired both players’ kickers, leaving Arnold trailing through the river. The Salem, IL resident earned $2,888 for ninth.

Eighth Place

2010 Horseshoe Council Bluffs Main Event champion Jovan Sudar couldn’t get much going with his deficient stack of chips and was eliminated after moving all-in preflop with pocket jacks vs. Joel Shulruf’s K-Q when a king hit the turn. Since his first major tournament cash back in 2007at the Horseshoe Classic in Council Bluffs, Sudar has had strong results, including two final table finishes at the Venetian deep stack in February. The 28-year-old poker pro from the former Yugoslavia now living in Omaha, NE earned $3,620 for his efforts in Ring Event #7 at Harrah’s St. Louis

Seventh Place

Blinds crept up to the 6,000/12,000 level before Noah Nodine made a final all-in stand with    and was called by Engel, who had pocket 8’s. The eights held firm through a jack-high board giving Engel the pot and eliminating Nodine. Nodine is a 37-year-old pharmaceutical sales rep from Oklahoma City, OK. He has numerous major tournament cashes worth over a total of $176,000. He added another $4,607 to his total earnings for his seventh place finish.

Sixth Place

The rest of the level saw a number of double ups by the short stacks, but the 8,000/16,000 level of blinds brought a barrage of bust outs. Shawn Arnold was the first in the level to bust after moving all-in from the big blind with    vs. Engel’s pocket jacks. Don Norman was eliminated a short while later after getting rivered with A-J all-in vs. Shulruf’s A-8. Fifth and sixth places paid $7,811 and $5,953, respectively.

Fourth Place

The fourth place finisher was Gary Welch. He saw his exit after moving all-in pre-flop with    and failing to improve on the board against Engel, who called with pocket queens. The Perryville, MO resident earned $10,415 for fourth.

Third Place

In addition to playing poker for a living, Engel is an esteemed poker coach. Years ago, he picked up Shulruf as a student, teaching him much of what he knows of the game. Through most of the second half of the final table, teacher and pupil were atop of the leader board.

However, when play got down to three, the two chip leaders got tangled in an all-in pot when Engel got all his chips in the middle with    and Shulruf made the call with   . The board ended up pairing the pupil’s seven, sending teacher to the rail in $14,117.

Engel is 27-years-old from Las Vegas, NV by way of Brooklyn, NY. He has numerous major tournament cashes including two WSOP Circuit championships. He added another cash worth $14,117 to his resume for third place.

Heads up play was between Shulruf and Woernle. With Shulruf at a 5-1 advantage over his opponent, it was almost certain to be a quick matchup. However, this is poker and after doubling up twice, Woernle was able to pull within even before cruising to a 2-1 lead over Shulruf. Heads up play lasted over two hours with the duo trading the chip lead back and forth between one another.

The final hand of the night occurred with both players all-in after turn on a      board. Shulruf turned over pocket tens for the turned set, but was left needing to pair the board or pick up the last ten in the deck after Woernle tabled    for the flush.

The river was the  , giving Woernle his first major tournament victory and a runner up finish to Shulruf.

Shulruf is a 26-year-old poker pro from Buffalo Grove, IL. A one-time WSOP Circuit champion, Shulruf was denied a second gold ring but picked up $19,455 for second.

For his victory, Woernle pocketed a healthy $31,477 and the coveted WSOPC gold ring. He played a well-fought match to earn his win, coming back from a huge deficit to win it all.

Still to come are 13 events and 3 ring events. See the complete Harrah’s St. Louis Circuit schedule and previous results here. The WSOP Circuit at St. Louis runs through April 12th. You can find the complete 2010/2011 WSOP CIRCUIT SCHEDULE here.