Atlantic City, NJ (March 12, 2011) – Imagine a show taking place on the Jersey Shore with a bunch of characters who actually have talent and brains.
This weekend, poker players are the marquee attraction on the world’s most famous boardwalk.  Caesars Atlantic City has been poker central over the past two weeks.  This is the tenth (of 15) World Series of Poker Circuit stops of the current 2010-2011 season.  Players flocked to the Jersey Shore from all over the Northeast and beyond to compete for ten gold rings, piles of prize money, and critical ranking points necessary to qualify for the WSOP Circuit National Championship, coming up in two months.

The final event on the Caesars Atlantic City schedule is the $1,500 buy-in Main Event Championship.  The three-day No-Limit Hold’em tournament began on Friday.  Competition concludes Sunday with the final table. 

The tournament attracted 442 entries, surpassing even the most optimistic of projections about tournament attendance in what is one of the gaming industry’s most challenged markets.  Main Event participation was way up not only from last year’s number (there were 174 players), but was significantly ahead of the championship event which took place at Harrah’s Atlantic City, last December.  That tournament attracted 352 entries.

The Caesars Atlantic City prize pool amounted to $633,110.  The top 46 finishers were paid.  Here is a list of players who have finished in-the-money, so far: 

10    Adam Lippert    BROOKLYN, NY    $10,661
11    Leo Whitt    LOUISVILLE, KY    $10,661
12    Timothy Begley    FREEHOLD, NJ    $10,661
13    Edward Pham    LANSDALE, PA    $8,749
14    Scott Carpenter    FAIRFAX STATION, VA    $8,749
15    Kevin Wilkie    OCEANSIDE, CA    $8,749
16    Michael Kosowski    STATEN ISLAND, NY    $7,280
17    Angel Modica    ASTORIA, NY    $7,280
18    Mukul Pahuja    HICKSVILLE, NY    $7,280
19    Lynne Mitchnick    NORTH BERGEN, NJ    $6,134
20    Pratyush Buddiga    CO. SPRINGS, CO    $6,134
21    Peter Lee    N/A    $6,134
22    Dylan Drazen    ASTORIA, NY    $5,235
23    Jeffrey Vanchiro    BROOKLYN, NY    $5,235
24    Russell Crane    HOWELL, NJ    $5,235
25    Frank Argano    MIAMI BEACH, FL    $4,526
26    David Zeitlin    BROOKLYN, NY    $4,526
27    Sefula Seji    OAK RIDGE, NJ    $4,526
28    David Fruchter    MONTCLAIR, NJ    $3,963
29    Randy Humphries    OXFORD, NC    $3,963
30    Alex Smith    HIGHLAND PARK, NJ    $3,963
31    Robert Johnson    BRIDGEWATER, NJ    $3,513
32    Daniel Buzgon    MARLTON, NJ    $3,513
33    Michael Leah    INNISFIL, ON, CANADA    $3,513
34    Richard Austin    LANSDALE, PA    $3,152
35    David Fox    CORAM, NY    $3,152
36    Ariel Albilia    SYOSSET, NY    $3,152
37    John Lecato    BELLE HAVEN, VA    $2,861
38    Joseph Udine    VOORHEES, NJ    $2,861
39    Robert W. Carter    FUQUAY MARINA, NC    $2,861
40    Robert Pfeister    MIDDLE VALLEY, NY    $2,861
41    Mark Dambrosio    NUTLEY, NJ    $2,861
42    Donald Durey    VIRGINIA BEACH, VA,    $2,861
43    David Cubeta    FALLS CHURCH, VA    $2,861
44    Wooyang Lin    MORRISTOWN, NJ    $2,861
45    Vasilious Hrisafini    BRONX, NY    $1,431
46    Vincent Moscati    VERPLANCK, NY    $1,430

After more than 75 percent of the starting field was eliminated on Day One, just 82 survivors returned for Day Two action.  Those players played down to the final table during Day Two.  Play will commence with Day Three starting at 2 pm Sunday afternoon inside the Palladium Ballroom, located on the second floor at Caesars Atlantic City. 

The nine finalists and their starting chip counts are as follows:

Seat 1:        A. G. Winchester       
   Falls Church, VA      1,034,000 in chips
Seat 2:        E. Jeff Frazier           
     Troy, VA                     956,000 in chips
Seat 3:        Roland Israelashvili      New York, NY           645,000 in chips
Seat 4:        Brian Ali                           Brooklyn, NY            1,380,000 in chips
Seat 5:        Joe Caffrey                     Silverton, NJ             759,000 in chips
Seat 6:        Patrick Houchins          Annapolis, MD          1,621,000 in chips
Seat 7:        John Andress                Doylestown, PA       808,000 in chips
Seat 8:        Jerry Van Strydonck   Arlington, VA             1,177,000 in chips
Seat 9:        Jeff Rowland                  Indianapolis, IN        438,000 in chips

Among the most notable players among the final nine is Roland Israelashvili, who is the defending champion of this event.  Should he win, Israelashvili would become the first-ever WSOP Circuit Main Event champion to repeat in the seven-year history of the national tournament series.

The current chip leader is Patrick Houchins, from Annapolis, MD.  He is a 26-year-old professional poker player.  Houchins is known online as “Cake Jones.”

The winner receives $139,284 for first place.  He also receives the coveted gold ring, the token prize for winning a WSOP Circuit event.  The champion will also gain an automatic seat into the season-end National Championship finale, which is to be televised from Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

This final tournament caps yet another successful tournament series at Caesars Atlantic City.  The following players won the first nine events: 

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 ($350 OM-HIGH)
Event 8 – Gregg Fishberg defeated 185 players and won $46,657 ($1,100 NLHE)
Event 9 – Vincent Basilicata defeated 288 players and won $20,113 ($350 TURBO NLHE)

At present, Mun Nguyen, from Pittsburgh, PA leads the race as the Best All-Around Player for the Caesars Atlantic City series.  With his first and second-place finishes in two previous tournaments, he was the point leader coming into the Main Event.  In addition to the Main Event winner, 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.