Valley Center, CA (March 20, 2011) – Any lingering doubt that No-Limit Hold’em has become the domain of young guns was shattered further tonight, as 21-Year-old Mstr Lynch won his first-ever World Series of Poker Circuit victory.

Lynch is an aspiring poker professional who is coming off a successful run two months ago at the WSOP Circuit event, which took place at the Choctaw Casino-Resort in Durant, OK.  Lynch took third place in the Choctaw $1,500 buy-in Main Event Championship, where he earned a whopping $105,764.  He hoped that impressive showing would spark some future success down the road.  Indeed, that spark turned into a blaze in the latest Harrah’s Rincon tournament.

Lynch topped a tough field of 180 entries in the most recent $555 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em event en route to his first major poker tournament victory.  For first place, he earned $20,897.  Lynch was also awarded the WSOP Circuit gold ring.  All in all, it hasn’t been a bad few months for the young man who just turned legal age (to play poker) a few months earlier.

In addition to standing out for his poker tournament accomplishments coming at such a young age, Lynch is easy to identify for having a quite unusual first name.  Indeed, his first name is spelled “M-S-T-R,” which is appropriately pronounced “Master.”

When asked to explain the unusual spelling of his name, Lynch credited his father.

“My dad wanted to name me something that was very different,” Lynch said.  “So, he chose something that was sure to be original.”

Alas a quick Google search revealed no persons named Mstr anywhere – except one.  And, he’s now a poker champion.

Lynch’s victory was all the more impressive for the manner in which it happened.  He never had many chips until very late in the tournament during heads-up play.  Even then, he still had to overcome a 3 to 1 chip disadvantage.  Lynch began the final table ranked tenth in chips with ten players remaining (last place).  But nothing seemed to rattle the aspiring young poker star and he won what everyone considered to be a very impressive victory.

This tournament was the sixth of ten gold ring events held at this year’s Harrah’s Rincon series.  The total prize pool amounted to $77,400.  The top 19 finishers collected prize money (18th place was split between two players).  A complete list of all in-the-money finishers for gold ring Event #6 can be found here.

The tournament was played over two days.  After most of the starting field was eliminated on Day One, survivors returned for Day Two action.  Final table play began on a Sunday afternoon during the NCAA college basketball playoffs.  The poker tournament room was buzzing with bad beats -- both at the tables and on the courts.

The ten finalists and their starting chip counts were as follows:

Seat 1:  Vladimir Medvinsky (Oceanside, CA) – 301,000 in chips
Seat 2:  Steven Westberg (Menifee, CA) – 107,000 in chips
Seat 3:  Kevin Prendergast (Camarillo, CA) – 395,000 in chips
Seat 4:  Jonathan Persekian (San Diego, CA) – 125,000 in chips
Seat 5:  James Agentis III (Carlsbad, CA) – 216,000 in chips
Seat 6:  Miller Dao (Maricopa, AZ) – 325,000 in chips
Seat 7:  Master Lynch (Lewisville, TX) – 100,000 in chips
Seat 8:  Scott Panazzo (Cibolo, TX) – 121,000 in chips
Seat 9:  Mark Corbett (Temecula, CA) – 108,000 in chips
Seat 10:  Geramy Dickerson (San Diego, CA) – 369,000 in chips 

Final table action began at 3 pm and ended five hours later at 8 pm.  Players were eliminated in the following order.

Tenth Place:  Jonathan Persekian was the first player to exit.  He is a 22-year-old resident of San Diego who is attending college full time at Cal State-San Marcos. 

Ninth Place:  Steven Westberg, a 44-year-old tow trucker driver from Menifee, CA was hooked up and hauled away at the ninth-place finisher. 

Eighth Place:  Geramy Dickerson, from San Diego, finished in eighth place.  He now has two cashes on the WSOP Circuit. 

Seventh Place:  Scott Panozzo, who lives in the San Antonio area, ended up as the seventh-place finisher.  He is a day trader (stocks).  Panozzo had enjoyed some success on the poker tournament circuit.  He made two World Poker Tour final tables.  He also won an event a few years ago at the Cherokee Poker Championship, in Oklahoma. 

Sixth Place:  James Agentis III finished in sixth place.  He is a U.S. Marine Corps aviator who has proudly served his country for the past 13 years.  Agentis, who resides in Carlsbad, CA was playing in his first live poker tournament.  He played outstanding poker and earned a well-deserved final table appearance.

Fifth Place:  Mark Corbett was the fifth-place finisher.  He is a 56-year-old businessman from nearby Temecula, CA.  Corbett spent many years working in the insurance business, where he won a number of prestigious sales awards.  Corbett also coached baseball for 25 years.  In fact, his teams won the American Amateur Baseball Congress (AABC) World Series two times.  Someday, Corbett hopes to win another kind of World Series (poker).

Fourth Place:  Finishing in fourth place was Vladimir Medvinsky, who is originally from the Ukraine.  He now resides in Oceanside. CA.  Medvinsky is a 37-year-old businessman.  He started his own company called AngelPrint.com.  Medvinsky now has three WSOP Circuit cashes – all of which took place at Harrah’s Rincon.  This was his highest finish, to date.

Third Place:  Miller Dao was the third-place finisher.  He is a 33-year-old police officer from Maricopa, AZ.  Dao was born in Vietnam.  He’s previously cashed in a few tournaments, including the WSOP in Las Vegas.  This marked his first time to finish in-the-money in a WSOP Circuit event.  Third place paid $9,297.

Second Place:  The runner up was Kevin Prendergast, from Camarillo, CA.  He is 42-years-old.  Prendergast’s only other WSOP in-the-money finish was at the 2007 WSOP, where he took 20th in a $1,500 buy-in NLHE event.  This time, he received a nice consolation prize amounting to $12,915.

When heads-up play began, Prendergast enjoyed nearly a 3 to 1 chip advantage.  Oddly enough, just as everything had gone right for him up the that point, just about everything went wrong during the last 40 minutes of play.

Lynch managed to wrestle away the chip lead on a few key hands, although Lynch was never really put to the test as the all-in player.  He methodically chipped away at the bigger stack, as Prendergast was left to try and deal with a flurry of poor cards and flops.  The final hand was dealt when both players flopped top pair.

Lynch – Kh 9c
Prendergast – Tc 9s
Flop – 9h 3d 2c
Turn – 3s
River – Js

All the chips went in on after the flop.  Lynch has Prendergast covered.  Both players had top pair, but Lynch held the better kicker (a king).  Two blanks hit on the turn and river.  Prendergast finished as the runner up and Lynch was declared the champion. 

First Place:  Mstr Lynch was his first WSOP Circuit victory.  He is a 21-year-old former service industry worker who is now looking to do bigger things in poker.  So far this year, he has earned more than $120,000 on the WSOP Circuit.

Lynch became interested in poker from watching on television.  He lives in the Dallas area.  Lynch just started playing regularly at the Choctaw poker room, which is the closest casino to his home.  However, he expects to play in several future poker tournaments around the country.

Lynch joins a list of six gold ring winners so far at Harrah’s Rincon:

Event 1 – Alexandru Masek defeated 391 players and won $22,794 ($345 NLHE)
Event 2 – “Choctaw” Kruger defeated 149 players and won $17,505 ($550 NLHE)
Event 3 – Matthew Ardo 74 players and won $5,186 ($345 OMHL)
Event 4 – Michael Ippolito defeated 81 players and won $4,584 ($345 HORSE)
Event 5 – Kevin Hanson defeated 331 players and won $19,852 ($345 NLHE)
Event 6 – Mstr Lynch efeated 180 players and won $20,897 ($550 NLHE)

With six of ten gold ring events now completed, Brian Peterson from San Diego, CA stands alone as point leader in the best-all around race (currently with 75 points).  He has three cashes so far – 2nd, 4th, and 14th, which puts him ahead of all six previous winners.  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.

At least eleven players from the San Diego series will qualify for automatic seats in the $1 million WSOP Circuit National Championship tournament.  Qualifiers include the $1,500 buy-in Main Event winner.  The best all-around player (point leader) will also win a seat.  And, the nine players who make the final table of the Regional Championship will automatically qualify for a chance at the $1 million, plus a WSOP gold bracelet.  This is unquestionably the best chance for many poker players to make history and win the most coveted prize in all of poker.

The final event of this year’s Harrah’s Rincon series runs March 27-30.  The $10,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Championship will be televised on the Versus Network.  This will be the third of four WSOP Circuit Regional Championships held this season.  Satellites are being held at Rincon to earn a discounted seat into one of Southern California’s most prestigious tournaments of the year.

Harrah’s Rincon is the eleventh WSOP Circuit stop of the season, following well-attended tournaments held in several other locations throughout the U.S.  The current 2010-2011 season includes a total of 15 WSOP Circuit stops.

All poker tournaments take place inside the special events center, located on the main floor of specious and luxurious Harrah’s Rincon.  In addition to gold ring events, there more than 20 second-chance tournaments are on the schedule, as well as single table and mega satellites.  Cash games run around the clock inside the Harrah’s Rincon Poker Room.  To see the complete Harrah’s Rincon tournament schedule, please click here.

The WSOP Circuit at Harrah’s Rincon continues through March 30th.