Las Vegas (April 24, 2011) – The World Series of Poker Circuit at Caesars Palace continued today with the play and conclusion of Event #7.
With a whopping 530 entries, Caesars Palace attracted its biggest WSOP Circuit tournament field in more than four years. The $300 (+50) buy-in No-Limit Hold’em competition was the largest event held in the luxurious poker room since the WSOP Circuit opener was held at Caesars Palace on April 23, 2007. That tournament attracted 601 players, which still stands as the house record. This event became the second 500-player field this week. Just five days earlier, Event #4 had 500 entrants.
The winner was Todd Chew. He is from Nowhere, IL. Chew was hardly the Nowhere Man in this tournament, ending up with the top prize and an impressive major victory.
Chew is a 43-year-old businessman. He is originally from Indianapolis. He came to Las Vegas on vacation and decided to enter a few WSOP Circuit tournaments. He estimates he’s entered about ten Circuit events in the past. This was his first WSOP-related victory.
The win was a grueling test of skill and endurance. Clocking in at nearly 11 hours, this was one of the longest final tables of the 2010-11 WSOP Circuit season. Heads-up play lasted nearly four hours, another near-record for the Circuit.
This was the seventh of ten official gold ring events played this year at Caesars Palace. The total prize pool amounted to $152,640. The top 54 finishers collected prize money.
The tournament was played over two consecutive days. After most of the starting field was eliminated on Day One, 28 survivors returned for Day Two action. Final table play began with ten players on a Sunday afternoon in the top section of the Caesars Palace Poker Room. The finalists and their starting chip counts were as follows:
Seat 1: Joe Walior (Seattle, WA) – 128,000 in chips
Seat 2: Jeff Sluzinski (Las Vegas, NV) – 444,000 in chips
Seat 3: James “Sarge” Glenn (Redding, CA) – 205,000 in chips
Seat 4: Bruce Young (Loveland, CO) – 480,000 in chips
Seat 5: Justin “Choctaw” Kruger (Denison, TX) – 730,000 in chips
Seat 6: Adam Hui (Markham, ON Canada) – 249,000 in chips
Seat 7: Thomas Pletzer (Austria) – 1,052,000 in chips
Seat 8: Mike Wasserman (Las Vegas, NV) – 513,000 in chips
Seat 9: Todd Chew (Nowhere, IL) – 376,000 in chips
Seat 10: Thomas Alex Hult (Borlange, Sweden) – 1,027,000 in chips
Final table play began at 4 pm. Play ended at 3 am – making the total duration about 11 hours. The official order of finish was as follows:
Tenth Place: Bruce Young, from Loveland, CO was the first final table casualty. He lost a coin flip holding pocket jacks, which lost to A-Q (an ace flopped). Young could still be proud of a nice tournament run and the fact he outlasted 520 players.
Ninth Place: James “Sarge” Glenn busted out a few hands later. He also lost to a pair of aces, which topped his pocket pair. Glenn was dealt 8-8 and moved all-in. He was called by an opponent with A-7. Things looked good for Sarge until the river, when the dreaded ace fell. “Sarge” Glenn is active in the military. He just returned from a tour of Iraq six weeks earlier. Glenn has four tournament wins to date, including a victory at the World Poker Challenge, in Reno.
Eighth Place: Adam Hui, from Markham, Ontario (Canada) went out in eighth place. He went busto when his pocket queens lost to ace queen. An ace hit the board. That meant the first three players who were knocked out fell victim to aces. Hui is a 23-year-old business entrepreneur and part-time poker player who has numerous cashes on both live and online tournaments. This marked his first time to cash in the WSOP Circuit.
Seventh Place: Joe Walior hoped the aces would continue, but he ran out of luck. Wailor pushed with A-K and hoped to win a race versus Q-Q. This time however, no overcards came to the queens which put Wailor out in seventh place. Wailor is a 43-year-old maintenance supervisor from Seattle. He earned $4,877 for a fine two-day effort.
Sixth Place: Thomas Pletzer, a 26-year-old student visiting the U.S. from his home in Austria, was eliminated in sixth place. Down to his last 200,000, he shoved with pocket aces. He got a call from a player with A-5, and appeared to be in a dream situation to double up. However, a five on the flop and a five on thee river ripped the pocket aces to shreds and knocked Pletzer out of the tournament. He is studying business administration. The early chip leader received a nice payout totaling $6,304.
Fifth Place: Justin “Choctaw” Kruger has been on a tear since his breakthrough performance at the Choctaw Casino (Oklahoma) in January. He has won a WSOP Circuit gold ring last month at Harrah’s Rincon and now has appeared at five final tables in the past four months – more than any other player on the Circuit. Kruger went out in fifth place and picked up enough player points to have a very good shot at the National Championship. The 22-year-old poker from North Texas went bust hen his pocket jacks were demolished by A-K after the flop came A-K-K. Krugen ended up with $8,264 in prize money for another fine effort.
Fourth Place: Mike Wasserman was on the wrong end of A-K was he was dealt the big hand at the worst possible time. He ran into pocket aces, leaving him drawing to long odds. Wasserman failed to improve and – left with few chips -- went out in fourth place a few hands later. He collected $10,989 in prize money. Wasserman is a 29-year-old poker pro from Las Vegas. He has numerous tournament cashes on his poker resume. However, this was his best WSOP-related finish.
Third Place: Thomas Alex Hult is used to intense competition. He is a professional hockey player in Europe. Hult most recently played for the team in Amsterdam. He has also played in Russia and his native Sweden. Hult also played one year for the American CHL team based in Shreveport. Hult got a few shots on goal in this tournament, ultimately ending up in third place. He was low on chips and moved all-in holding A-T on what turned out to be his final hand. Hult ran into pocket queens and was unable to catch an ace, nor improve. Hult settled for $14,823 in prize money.
Second Place: Jeff Sluzinski, from Las Vegas, finished as the runner up. He is a 27-year-old former telemarketer who now plays poker full-time. The consolation prize for second place was $20,290.
When heads-up play began, Sluzinski enjoyed a 2 to 1 chip advantage. The duel lasted nearly four hours. A major turning point seemed to come early when Chew made a higher two pair versus Sluzinski (K-T against 7-6 to a board showing K-T-7-6-8) and managed to seize the chip lead. But Sluzinski regained the chip lead due to a patient deliberate strategy mixed in with some well-timed aggression. Nevertheless, the chip lead swung back into Chew’s favor again when he doubled up on another big hand. The see-saw battle featured Sluzinski winning more pots. But the bigger, more meaningful pots were won by Chew.
Finally, players looked at their watches and noted they final table had dragged on nearly 11 hours in duration. Given the high blinds and antes in relation to both stack sizes, the two finalists decided to chop the money. Jeff Sluzinski finished in second place and Todd Chew was declared the winner.
First Place: Todd Chew became the latest WSOP Circuit champion. He earned his first WSOP Circuit gold ring with an impressive win at Caesars Palace. First place paid $32,809.
Seven gold ring events have been completed. The list of Caesars 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
EVENT 7: Todd Chew – Nowhere, IL
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.
There are still three 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.