North Carolina Poker Pro Collects $28,646 for First Place

Atlantic City, NJ (December 8, 2011) – The World Series of Poker Circuit continued tonight at Harrah’s Atlantic City, which the midway point of the two-week long tournament series.  The sixth event of 12 scheduled gold ring tournaments ended with another first-time winner.

The latest tournament champion was Jeremy Burleson, from Charlotte, NC.  He is a full-time poker pro who has been playing for the past six years.  Burleson mostly played online, at least until the events of last spring, when he was forced to start playing more live cash games and tournaments.

This was Burleson’s third trip to Atlantic City, and as the saying goes – the third time turned out to be a charm.  He won his first live major tournament and collected $28,646 in prize money.  He was also presented with his first WSOP Circuit gold ring, given out by John Arthur – Poker Director for Harrah’s Atlantic City. 

Burleson is relatively new to the WSOP Circuit.  He has played the last two years at the WSOP in Las Vegas.  But this marks new territory for the 28-year-old pro.

Burleson overcame a sizable field of 428 players and managed to outlast three former WSOP Circuit gold ring winners at the final table.  But his toughest opponent proved to be Jamie Kerstetter, a tax attorney and part-time poker player from Monroe, NJ.  Kerstetter finished as the runner up and in doing so became the second-highest female finisher ever for an open gold ring event in Atlantic City. Ashira Levine was the first woman to win an open gold ring event in 2009.

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The 428-player field was a huge turnout for a six-max tournament.  The five previous tournaments attracted 704, 888, 288, 555, and 340 players respectively.  But no one could have expected such a large field for a shorter-handed competition, played during the middle of the week.  Based on these solid numbers, 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 WSOP.com.  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.

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Event #6 was a two-day $300 (+45) Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em tournament.  Play began on Wednesday at noon and ended late on Thursday night.  The total prize pool came to $124,548.  The top 48 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 #6 can be seen here.

During the first playing session, more than ninety percent of players were eliminated.  There were only 19 survivors who resumed action on the second day, which then played down to the final table.  After another three hours of play, the seven finalists were determined as follows:

SEAT 1:  Mike Summers (Charlottesville, VA) – 367,000 in chips
SEAT 2:  Jamie Kerstetter (Monroe, NJ) – 968,000 in chips
SEAT 3:  Jeremy Burleson (Charlotte, NC) – 554,000 in chips
SEAT 4:  Danny Iscovici (Staten Island, NY) – 109,000 in chips
SEAT 5:  Chinmay Patel (Brigantine, NJ) – 1,200,000 in chips
SEAT 6:  Roman Valerstein (Newtown, PA) – 950,000 in chips
SEAT 7:  Greg Joslyn (Middletown, NY) – 234,000 in chips

   
The final table began seven-handed and was a clear division of haves versus have-nots.  Three players – Chimnay Patel, Jamie Kerstetter, and Roman Valerstein -- hovered close to the million-chip mark.  The remaining four players all had 554,000 or less when the first hand was dealt. 

The finale also featured three former WSOP Circuit gold ring winners – Mike Summers, Roman Valerstein, and Greg Joslyn.  Both players were shooting for their second career victories, while the other maidens were looking for their first win.

Final table play began at 5:30 pm local time.  Play finished at 1:00 am, making the total duration about 7.5 hours – longer than many were expecting for the six-max finale.

7th Place – About one hour into play, Mike Summers took a horrible beat and went out in seventh place.  He was dealt pocket aces, which were cracked by pocket tens when a ten flopped.  Summers, who won a WSOP Circuit gold ring held last Spring at Caesars Atlantic City, collected $3,406 in prize money and left the table with a bad beat story.  Summers, from Charlottesville, VA now has nine WSOP Circuit cashes on his record – all of which have taken place at the two events held each year in Atlantic City.

6th Place – Danny Iscovici, a retired police officer from Staten Island, NY was furloughed from the final table during the third hour of play.  After a seemingly endless back and forth battle between the final six, it took nearly 50 hands to break the next player.  Iscovisi ended up with $4,649 in prize money.  This was his second time to cash in a WSOP Circuit event
   
5th Place – Entering the fourth hour of play, the next player was eliminated when Roman Valerstein finally hit the rail.  The Moldovan-born poker pro now living in Newtown, PA won the Turbo event two years ago at Caesars Atlantic City.  He played tough but came  up short this time, ultimately settling for $6,410 in prize money.

4th Place – Chinmay Patel hoped to win his first gold ring and was on pace to accomplish the task.  But he went card dead late in the tournament and ended up in fourth place.  Patel, primarily a cash game player in Atlantic City, collected $8,924 in his best WSOP-related finish.

3rd Place – Greg Joslyn, from Middletown, NY was the third-place finisher.  He won a gold ring at the WSOP Circuit stop held at Southern Indiana, but could not repeat here.  Joslyn made strong run at the final table and ended up with a payout totaling $12,604.

2nd Place – Jamie Kerstetter, a tax attorney from Monroe, NJ finished as the runner up.  She had two previous impressive finishes – including a final table at the Mohegan Sun championship as well as an in-the-money finish at this year’s WSOP Main Event.  Kerstetter received a nice consolation prize totaling $17,813 for this performance.  In fact, this was her third time to cash at this series.  But she had higher aspirations and nearly became Atlantic City’s first WSOP Circuit champion (for an open event).  

When heads-up play began, Burleson enjoyed about a 5 to 1 chip advantage over Kerstetter.  The duel lasted about 90 minutes.  Kerstetter managed to double up early in the duel, but suffered some bad luck on the final hand.  The last hand of the tournament was dealt as follows:

Burleson:      
Kerstetter:     
Flop:       
Turn:  
River:   

The pivotal moment came on the turn when Kerstetter bet about half of her stack with trip tens.  Burleson thought long and hard for several minutes and finally called.  He has his opponent covered by about 3 to 1.  Burleson was on a flush and inside-straight draw.  The river brought a third diamond, completing a flush for Burleson.  Kerstetter could not have liked the final card, but moved all in and ended up with a tough beat on what turned out to be her final hand – trip tens losing to a flush. 

1st Place – Jeremy Burleson, from Charlotte, NC won his first career WSOP Circuit gold ring.  He collected $28,646.

With his victory, Burleson joins the five previous winners as the leaders in this WSOP Circuit’s “Best All-Around Player” standings.  Two players – Jeffrey Gurfinkel and Richard Smith appear to be the players 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 sixth 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.

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
Event 6:  Jeremy Burleson (Charlotte, NC) defeated 428 players and won $28,646