New York Poker Pro Collects $37,926 for First Place

Atlantic City, NJ (December 7, 2011) – The World Series of Poker Circuit continued tonight at Harrah’s Atlantic City.  The fifth event of 12 scheduled gold ring tournaments provided another exciting finish.

Peter Ippolito, a professional poker player from East Meadow, NY won his second WSOP Circuit victory.  He made a dramatic comeback during the final few hours of the tournament and won gold ring number two for his career.  Ippolito collected $37,926 in prize money for his victory.

Ippolito’s win came 19 months after winning his first WSOP Circuit title, which took place in March 2010, at Caesars Atlantic City.  Ippolito now has eight WSOP Circuit cashes, six final tables appearances, and two wins.  He also finished third in a WSOP gold bracelet event at this year’s WSOP in Las Vegas, which paid nearly more than a quarter-million dollars.  

Ippolito was presented with his first WSOP Circuit gold ring, given by John Arthur – Poker Director for Harrah’s Atlantic City.

The new champion is quite an inspiration, given what he’s endured in recent years.  In 2009, Ippolito was diagnosed with a defective heart valve and had major surgery.  He recovered and then won his first gold ring exactly one year to the date of his surgery.

Following his victory, Ippolito was not thinking of himself.  Instead, he wanted to give notice to two other people in his life who have meant a great deal to him over the years.  Ippolito’s two twin sisters – Kristin and Nicole – were celebrating their birthdays on this night.  The younger Ippolito wanted to dedicate his victory to them.


The 340-player field was another nice turnout, particularly for a mid-week tournament.  The four previous tournaments attracted 704, 888, 288, and 555 players respectively.  Based on these solid numbers so far, one can expect large field and big prize pools for the reminder of the WSOP Circuit schedule.

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.

Final table action was streamed on  As is the case with all gold ring event final tables, there is a five-minute delay.  Poker fans may tune in and watch the action daily, which normally begins late in the afternoon and runs most of the evening.


Event #5 was a two-day $500 (+55) No-Limit Hold’em tournament.  Play began on Tuesday at noon and ended late on Wednesday night.  The total prize pool came to $164,900.  The top 36 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 #5 can be viewed here.

During the first playing session, more than ninety percent of players were eliminated.  There were 25 survivors who resumed action on the final day and played down to the final table.  After another four hours of play, the ten finalists were determined as follows:

SEAT 1:  Scott Davies (Las Vegas, NV) – 425,000 in chips
SEAT 2:  Jeffrey Gurfinkel (Brooklyn, NY) – 300,000 in chips
SEAT 3:  Chris Tryba (Boston, MA) – 386,000 in chips
SEAT 4:  David Lauper (XXXXXX   310,000 in chips
SEAT 5:  Robert Parker (Staten Island, NY) – 679,000 in chips
SEAT 6:  Jonathan Rice (Frederick, MD) – 811,000 in chips
SEAT 7:  David Zeitun (Brooklyn, NY) – 305,000 in chips
SEAT 8:  Peter Ippolito (East Meadow, NY) – 294,000 in chips
SEAT 9:  Tommy Hwang (Centreville, VA) – 526.000 in chips
SEAT 10:  David King (New York, NY) – 72,000 in chips

Jonathan Rice arrived at the finale as the player to beat.  He enjoyed a strong chip advantage over the field, since he had half the table covered by more than a 2 to 1 margin.  But his position on the proverbial mountaintop would not last long.

Also among the finalists was Jeffrey Gurfinkel, who was shooting for his second gold ring victory this week in Atlantic City.  Gurfinkel won the largest event of this series so far, overcoming 888 players and achieving his victory in Event #2.  However, he too would fall short of victory in this tournament.

Final table play began at 7:30 pm local time.  Play finished at 12:15 am, making the total duration almost five hours.

10th Place – David King was the first player to bust out.  He lost to a flush on his final hand.  King, who is retired and lives in Brooklyn, NY collected $2,884 in prize money for a fine effort.  The former real estate investor now has 20 major tournament cashes and two wins.  This was his fourth time to cash in a WSOP Circuit event.

9th Place – Jonathan Rice, from Frederick, MD went out in ninth place – a disappointing outcome given his early status as the chip leader coming into the finale.  But nothing seemed to go right for Rice, during his hour-long stay in the game.  He is a 27-year-old poker pro.  Rice cashed for the third time in a WSOP Circuit event and now has six major tournament in-the-money finishes.  Rice is a graduate of the University of Maryland and holds a degree in chemical engineering.  Ninth place paid $3,565.
8th Place – David Zeitlin exited about 90 minutes into the action.  He is a 38-year-old former attorney who is now playing poker full time.  Zeitlin had the most impressive resume of any player among the final ten.  He has more than $1.2 million in career tournament winnings, to date, including five major tournament victories.  Zeitlin cashed in the 2006 WSOP Main Event Championship, which still stands as the largest live tournament in poker history.  He also cashed in the 2009 Main Event.  His payout amounted to $4,465 for this showing.

7th Place – Scott Davies, a 31-year-old poker pro from Las Vegas, finished in seventh place.  He missed a straight draw on his final hand and exited with $5,673 in prize money.  Davies is a former lawyer.  He has numerous cashes in major tournaments, including a deep run in the LAPT’s Main Event in Brazil last year.  He also finished in the money in this year’s WSOP Main Event Championship (356th place).  

6th Place – Jeffrey Gurfinkel, who won his first WSOP Circuit gold ring four days earlier, hoped to complete a parlay in this tournament.  He came up short by finishing in sixth place, but did manage to take a slim points lead in the race for Best All-Around player at this Atlantic City series.  Gurfinkel added another $7,310 to his winnings and has earned more money than any other player at this point among all players who have entered events at this series.
5th Place – An-Ming Hwang finished in fifth place.  He came in with an average-sized stack and ended up in the middle of the pack.  Hwang is an information technology specialist from Centerville, VA.  He cashed for the first time in a WSOP Circuit event and collected $9,558.

4th Place – David Laufer, from Syalorsburg, PA ended up in fourth place.  This was his first recorded cash in a WSOP-related tournament.  Fourth place paid $12,687.

3rd Place – Longtime tournament veteran Chris Tryba finished in third place.  The Boston-area poker pro travels around the country regularly, playing in numerous WSOP Circuits.  Tryba hoped to win his second career gold ring, but fell two spots short.  Tryba, who is one of the Circuit’s most colorful poker players, experienced a wild roller coaster ride on his final day, bounding around between being a threat for the chip lead and the shortest stack.  For finishing third, Tryba ended up with $17,105 in prize money, which should keep him going for at least a few more months on the tournament trial.  But given his eating and drinking habits, Tryba will likely need a few more big scores to make it to the end of the season.

2nd Place – Robert Parker, a.k.a. “Bobby Bunz” finished as the runner up.  He is the owner of a bar and restaurant on Staten Island, NY.  Parker also plays in a band which is called “The Barnyard Boys.”  Parker enjoyed his biggest tournament finish yet with this impressive performance.  His consolation prize amounted to $23,447.

The last hand of the tournament was dealt as follows:

Ippolito :     

Ippolito found a dream scenario.  His opponent moved all-in pre-flop on a bluff, and Ippolito woke up with pocket aces.  The final outcome was never in doubt, especially when an ace flopped.   Parker ended up as the second place finisher and Ippolito was declared the winner.

1st Place – Peter Ippolito won his second career WSOP Circuit gold ring victory.  The 25-year-old poker pro from East Meadow, NY collected $37,926 in prize money.

With his victory, Ippolito joins the four previous winners as the current leaders in this WSOP Circuit’s “Best All-Around Player” standings.  However, Jeffrey Gurfinkel and Richard Smith appear to be the two  to beat at this point, each with two deep runs.

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 fifth tournament wrapped up, there are still seven 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.

WSOP Circuit Gold Ring Winners at Harrah’s Atlantic City:

Event 1:  Richard Smith (Warrenton, VA) defeated 704 players and won $41,995
Event 2:  Jeffrey Gurfinkel (Brooklyn, NY) defeated 888 players and won $50,446
Event 3:  Michael Linster (Levittown, NY) defeated 288 players and won $35,529
Event 4:  Jeffrey Manns (Philadelphia, PA) defeated 555 players and won $33,922
Event 5:  Peter Ippolito (East Meadow, NY) defeated 370 players and won $37,926