Atlantic City’s Second Gold Ring Event Draws Another Big Crowd – 888 Entrants

Atlantic City, NJ (December 4, 2011) – The World Series of Poker Circuit continued today in Atlantic City with the second of 12 scheduled gold ring tournaments.  Following in the path of a huge opener on the previous day which attracted 704 players, the following event was even bigger – with 888 entrants jamming into the tournament ballroom at the Harrah’s Resort and Casino.

The latest tournament champion was Jeffrey Gurfinkel, from Hallandale Beach, FL.  He is originally from Brooklyn, NY.  Gurfinkel, a 26-year-old professional poker player who has been playing full time for a few years, won a decisive victory.  He dominated final table play during most of the final stages of the tournament.

For his second major tournament victory, Gurfinkel collected $50,446 in prize money – his biggest cash ever.  He was also presented with his first WSOP Circuit gold ring, given by Harrah’s Atlantic City Poker Manager John Arthur.  Garfunkel’s other tournament win took place last summer at the Borgata Open, in Atlantic City.  However, that tournament win was worth only half of what he earned with this victory.

Gurfinkel was cheered to victory by a several close friends.  In fact, the final table turned into a slumber party, of sorts.  The finale began at past midnight and ended just as the sun started to rise over the Atlantic Ocean, outside the Harrah’s Casino.

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Harrah’s Atlantic City has a rich history hosting WSOP Circuit events.  In fact, it was the very first casino ever to host such a tournament, which occurred back in January 2005, during the Circuit’s inaugural season.  Since then, Harrah’s Atlantic City has been a staple on the national tour, having hosted a tournament series during each and every season.  During most years, Harrah’s has been the final event of the year, with its events usually taking place in December.  It’s one of only four Caesars properties to host a WSOP Circuit stop during all eight seasons – the other casinos being Harrah’s Rincon (San Diego), Harrah’s New Orleans, and Harvey’s Lake Tahoe.  Indeed, Harrah’s Atlantic City has established itself as a flagship stop on the national tour, and this year appears to be no exception based on the early turnout.

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Event #2 was a three-day $300 (+45) No-Limit Hold’em tournament.  Play began on Friday and ended on early Monday morning after a marathon final playing session.  The total prize pool came to $258,699.  The top 90 players were paid.  All players who cashed received WSOP Circuit National Championship ranking points – used to qualify for a seat in the season-ending championship freeroll to be played later in Las Vegas.

A full list of all players who cashed in Event #2 can be seen here.

The first of two playing sessions included the elimination of 798 players during the first two days.  There were 90 survivors who resumed action on the final day and played down to the final table.  After another nine hours of play, the ten finalists were determined as follows:

SEAT 1:  Miriam DuBois (Teaneck, NJ) – 393,000 in chips
SEAT 2:  Akib Ali (North Brunswick, NJ) – 363,000 in chips
SEAT 3:  Erik Gorman (Washington, DC) – 579,000 in chips
SEAT 4:  Oliver Entine (Philadelphia, PA) – 1,108,000 in chips
SEAT 5:  Jeffrey Gurfinkel (Hallandale Beach, FL) – 1,200,000 in chips
SEAT 6:  Christopher Kusha (Staten Island, NY) – 1,006,000 in chips
SEAT 7:  Len Vizirov (Chalfont, PA) – 675,000 in chips
SEAT 8:  Eric Nathan (Columbia, MD) – 1,421,000 in chips
SEAT 9:  Adam H. Feldman (Reading, PA) – 777,000 in chips
SEAT 10:  D.C. Conant (Sutton, WV) – 1,384,000 in chips

   
The final table included an interesting mix of players and personalities.  There were two college professors, a doctor, and two insurance executives.  But a couple of younger players aarrived as the two to beat. 

Eric Nathan, who described himself as a “professional baller” arrived as the chip leader.  College student D.C. Conant was a close second in chips.  However, these two big stacks would end up going out in the middle of the pack, paving the way for a wide open finale.

Coming into the finale table, five players had in excess of one-million in chips, while the other five had less than 800,000 in their stacks.  Final table play began at 12:30 am local time – a usually late hour due to the large field and many chips in play.  Play finished at 6:15 am, making the total duration almost six hours.

10th Place – Akib Ali, a senior underwriter from North Brunswick, NJ was the first player to bust off the final ten.  He was low on chips and survived for nearly an hour before biting the dust.  Ali, playing in his first WSOP Circuit event ever, enjoyed a terrific debut tournament.  His wife bought him into the event as a birthday present.  Her investment paid off nicely, as Ali was awarded a birthday present totaling $3,862.

9th Place – Adam Feldman, a doctor from Reading, PA was diagnosed with a ninth place finish after his pocket kings were cracked on what turned out to be his final hand.  Feldman, a two-time former national fencing champion, was stabbed on a bad beat.  Nevertheless, this was his best tournament finish ever, which paid $4,801 in prize money.
   
8th Place – Christopher Kusha, from Staten Island, NY ended up in eighth place.  The math professor collected a nice figure -- totaling $6,041 in prize money.  This was his second time to cash in a WSOP Circuit event, after taking ninth place last year in a tournament played at Harrah’s Chester.  It was his fifth major tournament cash.

7th Place – Eric Nathan, the self-described “baller” ended up as the seventh-place finish – not quite was he was hoping for.  Although he was the early chip leader, Nathan went out about two hours into play.  He ended up collecting $7,694 in prize money.

6th Place –Douglas Conant (a.k.a. “D.C. Conant”), a college student from West Virginia, earned a nice payout totaling $9,921.  Although he’s only 21, Conant has already made it to two major tournament final tables.  He won an event earlier this year at Turning Stone (New York).  
   
5th Place – Oliver Entine, a PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania, went out in fifth place.  He is specializing in statistics.  Entine will look back upon this tournament as an excellent return on his $345 investment and he ended up collecting $12,956 in prize money.  This was Entine third top five finish this year on the WSOP Circuit, after making two second-place showings last Spring at Caesars Atlantic City and Harrah’s Chester.  Entine says he considers poker to be just a hobby.  It’s also turning out to be a profitable one at that, given his penchant to deep finishes in the few events he’s entered.

4th Place – Miriam DuBois, from Teaneck, NJ finished in fourth place.  She earned a very respectable $17,136 in prize money.  DuBois has a most unusual background.  She officiates professional tennis matches.  This marked her best showing ever in a major poker tournament.

3rd Place – Erik Gorman took third place.  He works as a professional glassblower.  Gorman came close to victory but those dreams were shattered and he was forced to accept a $22,962 payout.  Gorman endured arguably the most dramatic roller coaster ride of anyone at the final table, wavering between a short stack and a big stack during the entire final match. 

2nd Place – Len Vizirov finished as the runner up.  The Russian-born part-time poker player now living in Chalfont, PA earned $31,173 in prize money.  Vizirov works as an IT manager.  This was his fourth time to cash on the WSOP Circuit and was his 12th major tournament cash.  He now has about $80,000 in live career tournament winnings.

1st Place – Jeffrey Gurfinkel won his second career victory and biggest tournament payout ever.  He collected $50,446 for first place, plus his first WSOP Circuit gold ring.

Gurfinkel’s win was a most decisive victory.  He was never in serious danger of elimination.  During the nearly six-hour final table, he was near the chip lead or held the top spot during the entire time.  He began play ranked third in chips, but once the bigger stacks were knocked out, Garfunkel became the player to beat.  Yet no player was able to overcome his decisive advantage.

With this victory, Gurfinkel joins the Event #1 winner (Richard Smith) as the two early leaders in this WSOP Circuit’s “Best All-Around Player” standings.  The player who accumulates the most overall points in Atlantic City’s twelve combined gold ring tournaments receives a pre-paid entry into the $1 million 2011-2012 WSOP Circuit National Championship, to be held in Las Vegas, next May.  At least two players from this tournament series will qualify for the WSOP Circuit National Championship, which is classified as a WSOP gold bracelet event.  The other automatic qualifier will be the winner of Harrah’s Atlantic City’s Main Event championship.

With the second tournament wrapped up, there are still ten more gold ring events remaining in what is being billed as a “12 rings in 12 days” poker series.  The WSOP Circuit at Harrah’s Atlantic City continues through December 12th.  This year’s schedule includes not only all the gold ring events, but multiple second-chance tournaments (at 5 pm and 7 pm most days), single table and mega satellites, plus cash games going around the clock inside the Harrah’s Poker Room.