Las Vegas (April 23, 2011) – The World Series of Poker Circuit at Caesars Palace continued in Las Vegas today with the play and conclusion of Event #6.  With this tournament now complete, the WSOP Circuit schedule has now crossed the midway point.

Bob Whalen, from Milwaukee, WI won the $500 (+60) buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament.  He collected $34,517 in prize money.  Whalen has numerous tournament cashes and wins on this poker tournament resume.  This marked his 28th career cash.  He now has five wins, four of which took place at the Venetian (Deep Stack Extravaganza) – all within the past three years.  This marked Whalen’s first WSOP-related victory, which was rewarded with a gold ring.

Whalen’s great poker accomplishment was probably his in-the-money finish in the 2009 WSOP Main Event.  He finished 105th out of 6,494 players.  The cash was good for $40,288.

This was the sixth of ten official gold ring events played this year at Caesars Palace Las Vegas.  The total prize pool amounted to $146,880.  The top 33 finishers collected prize money.  A complete list of all players who cashed in EVENT 6 can be found here. 

The tournament was played over two consecutive days.  After most of the starting field was eliminated on Day One, twenty survivors returned for Day Two action.  Final table play began with ten players on a Saturday afternoon in the top section of the Caesars Palace Poker Room.  The finalists and their starting chip counts were as follows:

Seat 1:  Jeff Epstein (Omaha, NE) – 103,000 in chips            
Seat 2:  Daniel Sindelar (Las Vegas, NV) 534,000 in chips         
Seat 3:  Christopher Felix (Las Vegas, NV) – 595,000 in chips        
Seat 4:  Dan Eichhorn (Henderson, NV) – 395,000 in chips 
Seat 5:  Saeed Sotoudeh (Toronto, ON Canada) – 663,000 in chips      
Seat 6:  Mike Holm (Naperville, IL ) – 230,000 in chips          
Seat 7:  Carter King (Las Vegas, NV) – 185,000 in chips
Seat 8:  Norihisa Okada (Gumma, Japan) – 349,000 in chips
Seat 9:  Bob Whalen (Milwaukee, WI) – 374,000 in chips
Seat 10:  Vincent Maglio (Revere, MA) – 230,000 in chips

Final table play began at 4 pm.  Play ended at past midnight – making the total duration about eight hours.  The official order of finish was as follows:

Tenth Place:  Jeff Epstein, from Omaha, NE was the first player to exit.  He was low on chips and lasted only a short time.  Epstein is a 48-year-old business owner.  He is married and has four children.  Epstein was shooting for his second WSOP Circuit gold ring.  He won his first title at the season opener, held at Horseshoe Council Bluffs (Iowa).  Epstein also took second place in another event during the same tournament series.  With his third final table appearance in 2010-11, Epstein is in the running to make an at-large bid for the WSOP Circuit National Championship. 

Ninth Place:  Norihisa Okada hoped to become the second Japanese player in history to win a WSOP Circuit gold ring, but fell short.  He is the 48-year-old owner of a sports management company.  This is Okada’s first WSOP Circuit tournament.  He did previously win an event at the Venetian in Las Vegas as well as at the Hustler Casino in Los Angeles.

Eighth Place:  Saeed Sotoudeh, an IT consultant from Toronto went out in eighth place.  He has two other major tournament cashes on his poker resume.  This was Sotoudeh’s first WSOP Circuit event.

Seventh Place:  Vincent Maglio, a 22-year-old poker pro from Revere, MA was the seventh-place finisher.  He took eighth place a few days ago in another WSOP Circuit event here at Caesars, thus becoming one of only two player so far who has made two final table appearances.  Maglio also cashed a few months ago at the WSOP Circuit series played at the Palm Beach Kennel Club (Florida).   

Sixth Place:  Carter King (a.k.a. Zachary King), from Las Vegas by way of Marietta, GA was another player gunning for his second WSOP Circuit gold ring.  He won his first WSOP Circuit title in 2007 at Harrah’s New Orleans.  When play became six-handed, things did not go well for King.  He was eliminated and had to settle for a payout totaling $6,555.  Interestingly, King won the 2008 World Championship of Online Poker Main Event.  He laments the fact he “used to play poker on the Internet.”

Fifth Place:  Mike Holm, a longtime tournament veteran poker player from the Chicago area, went out in fifth place.  He was up and down most of the final table, rarely taking the conservative approach.  Holm earned a nice paycheck amounting to $8,595.  Holm came to Las Vegas from his hometown, where he recently won an event at the Chicago Poker Classic.  He credits much of his success at the poker table and happiness in life to his wife, who he says gives him immense support in his pursuit of poker dreams. 

Fourth Place:  Christopher Felix, a 28-year-old poker pro from Las Vegas ended up in fourth place.  He began play as chip leader and lasted about five hours, before busting out.  Felix took second place in a recent Caesars Poker Classic Deepstack tournament.  This marked his first time to cash in any WSOP-related event.  Fourth place paid out $11,449.

Third Place:  Dan Sindelar, a 27-year-old poker pro from Columbus, NE took third place.  Three-handed play went about two hours.  But Sindelar was unable to make a move and seriously threaten either of his two adversaries.  Sindelar did receive a nice payout, totaling $15,500. 

Second Place:  Dan Eichhorn was the runner up.  He is a 27-year-old poker pro from Henderson, NV.    Eichorn’s previous accolades include victory in an 11,000-player field in an online tournament.  This was   Eichhorn’s best WSOP-related finish, although he has numerous cashes in various tournaments played in Las Vegas.  He collected a consolation prize amounting to $21,342.

When heads-up play began, Eichhorn enjoyed nearly a 2 to 1 chip advantage.  The duel lasted more than two hours.  Whalen gradually overcame his disadvantage and won a most impressive victory.  Here’s how the last hand played out:

Eichhorn – Ad 2d
Whalen – Ts 8h
Flop – Ah 8s 7c
Turn – 6s
River – 9s
The blinds were 25,000-50,000 with a 10,000 ante.  Eichhorn raised 100,000 from the small blind.  Whalen called.  Eichhorn flopped top pair, and Whalen had second pair.  Eichhorn bet out 145,000 and Whalen called.  The turn gave Whalen a straight draw.  Eichhorn pushed all-in, and Whalen called.  The river card gave Whalen a straight.  Eichhorn finished as runner up and Whalen was declared the winner.

First Place:  Bob Whalen became the latest WSOP Circuit champion.  He earned his first WSOP Circuit gold ring with an impressive win at Caesars Palace.  First place paid $34,517.  With this finish, Whalen now has career earnings totaling $350,000.  He is a 53-year-old poker pro from Milwaukee, WI.
Six gold ring events have been played at Caesars Palace, to date.  The list of champions reads as follows:

EVENT 1:  Giuseppe Biancoviso – Florence, Italy
EVENT 2:  Randy Huberty – La Grange, KY
EVENT 3:  Randy Crowe – Los Osos, CA
EVENT 4:  Taylor Nguyen – Houston TX 
EVENT 5:  Jesse Bryant – Conway, AK
EVENT 6:  Bob Whalen – Milwaukee, WI

Jessie Bryant, with 1st and 15th place finishes so far, is the current leader in points for Best All-Around Player for the Caesars Palace series.  The player who accumulates the most overall points in the ten gold ring tournaments receives a pre-paid entry into the $1 million 2010-2011 WSOP Circuit National Championship, to be held at Caesars Palace Las Vegas, next month.  At least two players from Caesars Palace will qualify for the WSOP gold bracelet event.  A FULL SCHEDULE can be seen here.

There are still five more gold ring events remaining.  The WSOP Circuit at Caesars Palace continues through April 30th.  This year’s schedule includes ten gold ring events, along with multiple second-chance tournaments, single table and mega satellites, plus cash games going around the clock inside the Caesars Poker Room.