Atlantic City, NJ (March 10, 2011) – Go ahead.  Call him a fish.  He doesn't mind.  Greg “Fish” Fishberg just gobbled down several sharks and won the most recent World Series of Poker Circuit tournament at Caesars Atlantic City.

Fishberg bested a tough field of 185 players in the tournament tank en route to his third major career poker victory.  Fishberg enjoyed two previous wins which came at the Borgata in Atlantic City.  However, this was his first WSOP-related victory and third time to cash in a WSOP Circuit event.

Fishberg collected $46,657 in prize money for his victory.  He was also presented with his first WSOP Circuit gold ring, the token prize awarded to all tournament champions.  With this victory, Fishberg now has nearly $400,000 in live tournament earnings.

Oddly enough, Fishberg uses the impertinent poker nickname “Fish.”  Make that a fish in name only.  He swam through a very competitive lineup of final table players and overcame several chip disadvantages at various stages of the finale.  Then when play became short-handed, he gobbled down poker chips like guppies in a shark tank.

Fishberg is a 35-year-old self-professed gambler.  He previously owned a business related to golfing up until a few years ago.  Now, Fishberg mostly plays poker and gambles, which has provided enviable success up to this point.

Fishberg’s triumph came in a $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament.  This was the eighth of ten gold ring events at the Caesars Atlantic City series.  The total prize pool amounted to $179,450.  The top 21 finishers collected prize money.

Several players who finished in the money had previously enjoyed much success in WSOP-related tournaments.  The list of dignitaries included former WSOP gold bracelet winner Michael “Little Man” Sica (2003) and WSOP Circuit gold ring winners Alex Rocha, Mike Summers, and Roland Israelashvili – who is the defending champion from the 2010 Main Event at Caesars Atlantic City.  A complete list of all in-the-money finishers for Event #8 can be found at WSOP.COM.

The tournament was played over two days.  After most of the starting field of 185 players was eliminated on Day One, 21 survivors returned for Day Two action.

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

Seat 1        Joe Pitti            (East Meadow, NY)        148,000 in chips
Seat 2        Keith Crowder        (Elkins Park, PA)        414,000 in chips
Seat 3        Jeff Manning         (Chesapeake, VA)        570,000 in chips
Seat 4        Mike Summers        (Charlottesville, VA)        57,000 in chips
Seat 5        Jason Notter        (Lynbrook, NY)        380,000 in chips
Seat 6        Scott Carpenter        (Fairfax Station, VA)    428,000 in chips
Seat 7          Anchorman        (Philadelphia, PA)        254,000 in chips
Seat 8          Dimitri Bergos        (Baltimore, MD)        87,000 in chips
Seat 9          Greg Fishberg         (Willow Grove, PA)        265,000 in chips
Seat 10      Roland Israelashvili    (New York, NY)        155,000 in chips

Final table action began at 4 pm and ended at 10 pm.  Players were eliminated in the following order.

Tenth Place:  Dimitri Bergos lasted just two hands.  The 33-year-old poker pro from Baltimore, MD was too short-stacked to be a factor.  He ended up with $3,404 in prize money.

Ninth Place:  Mike Summers experienced the polar opposite of his final table experience just one week earlier.  Summers won Event #3.  His mission to win a second gold ring at this year’s Atlantic City series was derailed when he shoved with A-Q, which ran into pocket kings.  The two cowboys held up, which spelled the September of Summers’ life at the final table.  The Charlottesville, VA business owner accepted $4,199 in prizes money.  He is also second (behind Mun Nguyen) in the points race for Best All-Around Player at this series.

Eighth Place:  Roland Israelashvili won the Main Event here at Caesars Atlantic City last year.  He made the final table in the first event he played since then, which is quite an accomplishment.  But Israelashvili ran card dead late and ended up finishing in eighth place.  His last hand saw A-J against 6-6.  Israelashvili flopped a jack and took a temporary lead.  But a six on the turn wiped out the 53-year-old poker pro from New York City, and he ended up with $5,263 in prize money.

Seventh Place: Joe Pitti, from East Meadow, NY finished in seventh place.  He is a 76-year-old former Teamster.  Pitti cashed previously in the WSOP in Las Vegas.  This was only the second WSOP Circuit PItti has played.  He received $6,702 in prize money.

Sixth Place:  Jason Notter ran low and had to risk his tournament life on what he hoped would be a race.   He shoved with pocket deuces.  The bold move came at the worst possible time as the ducks were flattened by pocket aces.  The rockets held up, blowing up Notter’s chances of victory and putting him out in seventh place.  Notter, a finance manager from Lynbrook, NY collected $8,676.

Fifth Place:  Keith “The Ether” Crowder appeared to be one of the players to beat in the finale.  He had plenty of chips and was dominating the table at one point.  However, Crowder made a questionable decision late which cost him all of his chips.  Crowder tangled with the chip leader by re-raising pre-flop with A-J suited.  Jeff Manning shoved, which put Crowder into a five-minute decision to play for all his chips.  Crowder finally announced “call,” and showed the A-J.  His hand was dominated by A-K.  An ace on the flop did not help, as Crowder was eliminated in fifth place.  “He was playing small pocket pairs really fast,” Crowder later explained when queried as to his decision to call   “But I made a mistake.”  Crowder, a poker pro from Philadelphia received a payout totaling $11,418.

Fourth Place:  Scott Carpenter hoped to construct his first major tournament victory.  Instead, he had to settle for a very respectable fourth-place finish.  Carpenter lasted about four hours but finally busted out when he lost a race holding Q-J versus pocket tens.  The pair held up, leaving Carpenter with $15,283.  Carpenter is a realtor from Northern Virginia.  He placed 21st in the 2004 WSOP Main Event.

Third Place:  Edwin Lau, a.k.a. “Anchorman” was the lowest of the final three stacks.  In the fifth hour of play, he moved all-in holding A-5 suited.  Jeff Manning had plenty of chips and decided to make the call.  That turned out to be a wise decision as Manning caught two pair, putting Anchorman out in third place.  Anchorman, a real estate broker from Philadelphia received a nice commission from this tournament, which paid $20,810.  Anchorman has a number of cashes in tournaments on the East Coast, including in-the-money finishes on the WSOP Circuit.

Second Place:  Jeff Manning was the runner up.  He is a 23-year-old student from Chesapeake, VA.  Manning is studying engineering at Old Dominion University.  He has been playing poker since he was a teenager.  This was his first major live tournament cash.  Manning received a nice consolation prize amounting to $28,821 – not a bad prize considering he is currently on college spring break.

When heads-up play began, chip counts were close to even.  The two finalists battled back and forth for about 20 minutes when the last hand came suddenly.  The final hand was played as follows:

Manning – Qc Jh
Fishberg – Th 4h
Flop – Ts 4d 4s
Turn – 7c
River – 8d

All the chips went in after the flop.  Fishberg flopped an absolute dream – a full house.  Manning held two overcards.  Fishberg lead out with a small bet.  Manning decided to make a very bold move by raising all in with this two overcards.  Naturally, Fishberg called instantly.  Manning was drawing completely dead and Fishberg won with his full house – fours over tens.

When asked to explain his post-flop raise afterward, Manning stated that he did not think Fishberg had much of a hand.  He knew his opponent would likely surrender his hand with anything less than a pair of tens.  Since the odds dictated that Fishberg indeed likely did not have top pair (tens) or better, his bold move probably would have worked most of the time.  But in this case, it was a matter of courage coming at a horrible time.

First Place:  Gregg “Fish” Fishberg is the latest WSOP Circuit champion.  He received $46,657 for first place.  Fishberg joins previous event winners at the Atlantic City series including: 

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)
Event 6 – Travell “T” Thomas defeated 155 players and won $30,445 ($750 NLHE)
Event 7 – Mun Nguyen defeated 90 players and won $8,380 ($350 OM-HIGH)

Mun Nguyen, from Pittsburgh, PA remains as the points leader in the Best-All Around race.  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 is still one more gold ring event remaining.  The Main Event begins Friday, March 11th.  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.