Atlantic City, NJ (March 7, 2011) – The WSOP Circuit at Caesars Atlantic City continued with a $750 buy in No-Limit Hold’em tournament.  This was the sixth of ten gold ring events on this year's schedule.

The latest poker champion is Travell “T” Thomas, a 30-year-old business owner from Buffalo, NY.  He is a former college football player who previously starred at the University of Buffalo.  Thomas played wide receiver.  He turned down a chance to play in NFL-Europe in order to pursue business opportunities in his hometown of Buffalo.

Thomas was eager to continue competing in something after his athletic career was ended.  So, he turned to poker.  And now, he's picking up right where he left off after catching touchdown passes for four seasons as a Bison.
This was Thomas’ third poker tournament victory and his biggest career win, to date.  He overcame a tough field of 155 players on the Jersey Shore and won a well-deserved victory.  This marked Thomas’ first time ever to cash in a WSOP-related tournament.  First place paid $30,445.  Thomas was also presented with his first gold ring, the token of achievement awarded to all WSOP Circuit event winners.  

The total prize pool amounted to $112,762.  The top 18 finishers collected prize money.  A complete list of all in-the-money finishers for Event O can be found here. 
Among those who cashed was local poker pro Chris Reslock, a four-time WSOP Circuit gold ring winner (and former WSOP gold bracelet winner).

The tournament was played over two days.  After most of the field was eliminated short of a payout on Day One, the following session included just 18 survivors.  It took only about an hour to play down to the final table of ten players.

Final table play began on a late Tuesday afternoon inside the Palladium Ballroom, located on the second floor at Caesars Atlantic City.  The ten finalists and their starting chip counts were as follows:

Seat 1        Matt Kalinowski -- 122,000 in chips
Seat 2        V. Arkhangelsky --
243,000 in chips
Seat 3        Travell “T” Thomas --
475,000 in chips
Seat 4        Esfandiar Dara --
380,000 in chips
Seat 5        Shelly Turk -- 200,000 in chips
Seat 6        Kamen Lesichkov -- 434,000 in chips
Seat 7        Greg Joslyn -- 164,000 in chips
Seat 8        Mickey Wall -- 111,000 in chips
Seat 9        Steven Krasner -- 115,000 in chips
Seat 10      Kevin Mina -- 86,000 in chips   

The final table began at 3 pm and ended at 10 pm.  Players were eliminated in the following order.

Tenth Place:  It took more than an hour to eliminate the first player.  That happened when Greg Joslyn shoved with a weak ace and ran into a dominant hand.  Esfaniar Dara called the all-in move and showed A-Q.  A queen on the river (good for a pair of queens) sealed Joslyn’s fate, a tenth-place finish worth $2,197.  Joslyn has made three WSOP Circuit final tables this season.  He is a graduate of SUNY-Oswego and is an aspiring screenwriter.

Ninth Place:  Shelly Turk, from Marlboro, NJ ended the tournament with a roller coaster of emotions.  He was fortunate to go deep considering he was down to just a few chips at one point midway through the tournament.  On the other hand, Turk had plenty of chips in the finale, but lost them all on a tough beat.  On his last hand “T” Thomas was on the button and pushed all-in with A-Q, on what was expected to scoop a round of blinds.  But Shelly Turk looked down in the big blind and saw pocket kings.  He called instantly, and then watched in horror when an ace hit on the turn.  Turk ended up in ninth place with $2,713.
Eighth Place:  Kevin Mina, a systems analyst from Durand, MI went out next.  He was eliminated holding A-T.  After Mina pushed all-in with the strong hand, the bigger stack (Thomas) had more than enough chips to make the call with a weak hand.  He tabled 8-5, which caught an eight on the river.  Mina received $3,402 for a fine effort.  Mina is a graduate of Michigan State University.  He also served in the U.S. Air Force for four years.

Seventh Place:  Mickey Woll, a CPA from Manahawkin, NJ ran low on chips and ultimately ended up in seventh place.  Woll pushed with K-8 hoping to steal some chips.  But he got called by Steven Krasner, who showed A-Q.  An ace on the turn left Woll drawing deal    $4,336

Sixth Place:  Kamen Lesichkov went out next.  He was dealt pocket nines on his final hand.  All his chips went into the pot after the flop came with three low cards.  Unfortunately for Lesichkov his opponent hled pocket sixes to match a six on the flop.  The set held up leaving Lesichkov with a sixth-place finish worth $5,618.  Lesichkov is a Bulgarian-born bartender from Gaithersburg, MD.  He has a few minor cashes in other tournaments.  But this was his first WSOP-related in-the-money finish.
Fifth Place:  V. Arkhangelsky, from Brooklyn, NY ended up as the fifth-place finisher.  He collected $7,403.

Fourth Place:  Matt Kalinowski, a HVAC technician from Westampton, NJ was the fourth-place finisher.  He received $9,926.  Kalinowski, age 32, is a huge baseball fan.  He is also a proud family man who has two daughters. 

Third Place:  Steven Krasner, a stock broker from Long Island, NY finished in third place.  He earned $13,543.  Krasner was born in the Ukraine.  He is mostly a high-stakes cash game player.  Krasner is dedicated to various charities which specialize in helping children, animals, and helping people around the world. 

Second Place:  The runner up was Esfandiar Dara, who was making his second final table appearance at this year’s series at Caesars.  Dara previously finished fifth in Event &.  He improved on that performance in this tournament and took $18,815.  Dara is originally from Iran.  He is now age 71 and worked as a restaurant manager before retiring.  Dara cashed in the 2007 WSOP Main Event.  He has numerous other cashes in various tournaments, mostly on the East Coast.

First Place:  Travell Thomas, a.k.a. “T” was crowned the champion.  He received $30,445 for first place, plus the coveted WSOP Circuit gold ring.

Thomas has been playing tournament poker for the past five years.  He competed in the WSOP Main Event in Las Vegas a few years ago.  Thomas has two previous tournament wins, five final table appearances, and 14 major cashes on his resume.  However, this was his biggest career tournament win, to date.

Thomas is a 30-year-old business owner from Buffalo, NY.  He owns and runs a collection agency, which means he is likely on a first-name basis with many poker players.  Thomas graduated from the University of Buffalo.

“T” now joins previous event winners who are battling for the top spot in the best all-around player race.  Esfandiar Dara is now in the lead -- with his second and fifth place showings in two events.  Also in the running for the top player at the Atlantic City series are each of the six previous winners: 

Event 1 – Thung “Patrick” Lu defeated 742 players and won $43,184 ($350 NLHE)
Event 2 – Peter Ippolito defeated 254 players and won $30,181 ($570 NLHE)
Event 3 – Mike Summers defeated 158 players and won $12,414 ($350 LHE)
Event 4 – Paul Lambrakis defeated 386 players and won $41,186 ($570 NLHE)
Event 5 – Jaeik Cho defeated 477 players and won $138,807 ($350 NLHE)

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 in May at Caesars Palace Las Vegas.

There are still four more gold ring events remaining.  The WSOP Circuit at Caesars Atlantic City continues through March 13th.  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.