New Orleans, LA (May 11, 2011) – Here’s a riddle:  What has six hands, spews out tens of thousands of dollars in prize money, and has a gold ring?  If you answered the latest World Series of Poker Circuit tournament, you would be correct.

Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em initially began as an online poker game.  As Internet poker became increasingly popular over the last ten years, six-handed poker games gradually came to outnumber standard nine-handed tables at some major poker sites.  Due to the steady demand for this form of poker, the World Series of Poker first introduced and event called Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em as a live tournament, back in 2005.  It has been a part of the WSOP ever since.  The past three years, it has also been spread at many WSOP Circuit locations.

No one knows what impact recent changes to the online poker landscape will have on six-handed poker games and tournaments.  But one thing is for sure.  For the time being, six-handed tournaments are just as popular as regular events with full tables.

The third of 11 WSOP Circuit gold ring events held at Harrah’s New Orleans was a $355 buy-in Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em tournament.  Even with a mid-week start, attendance was heavy in anticipation of a busy two-week poker festival.  The tournament attracted 312 entries.  The total tournament prize pool amounted to $89,856.  The top 33 finishers collected prize money.  A complete list of all players that cashed in EVENT #3 can be found here. 
The tournament was played over two consecutive days.  After most of the starting field was eliminated on Day One, three tables of 18 survivors returned for Day Two action.

Final table play began with six players on a Wednesday afternoon in the main stage of the special events center at Harrah’s New Orleans.  From the start, Texan Mark Utterback was in control.  He had the chip lead much of the way.  But late surges by Danny Doucet and Daniel Galindo completely altered the final outcome.

When play began, the finalists and their starting chip counts were as follows:

Seat 1:  Daniel Galindo (San Antonio, TX) – 591,000 in chips 
Seat 2:  Kyle Caslin (St. Louis, MO) – 125,000 in chips 
Seat 3:  Randy Gordon (Metairie, LA) – 350,000 in chips 
Seat 4:  Danny Doucet (Lafayette, LA) – 600,000 in chips 
Seat 5:  David Jackson (Jonesboro, GA) – 368,000 in chips  
Seat 6:  Mark Utterback (San Antonio, TX) – 1,100,000 in chips  

Final table play began at 4 pm.  Play ended at about 10 pm – making the total duration about six hours.  The official order of finish was as follows:

Sixth Place:  The player with the lowest stack was the first to bust out.  Kyle Caslin, from St. Louis, MO lasted only a short time before hitting the felt in sixth place.  This was Caslin’s highest WSOP Circuit finish, to date.  It marked the fifth time he has cashed.  He finished twice in the money last money at Harrah’s St. Louis.

Fifth Place:  Randy Gordon took a bad beat on what turned out to be his final hand.  He was dealt pocket queens and appeared to be in great position to double up.  But his opponent had two spades in his hand and caught runner-runner spades on the turn and river to make a flush, which knocked Gordon out of the tournament.  The contractor from nearby Metairie, LA has played in many WSOP Circuit tournaments.  This was his best finish, so far.

Fourth Place:  David Jackson, from Jonesboro, GA lost a coin flip for all his chips when he took pocket fives up against A-T.  The flop came with a ten.  Then, an ace on the river was overkill making two pair, thus knocking Jackson out of the tournament.  Jackson has several previous cashes in major tournaments – including a second, third, and fifth place showing.  He also cashed in the most recent tournament series at Harrah’s Tunica.
Third Place:  Mark Utterback ran low on chips and moved all-in with A-2.  He was in the lead when he got a call from Danny Doucet, who had a huge stack to back up his 9-4 offsuit.  A four on the turn ended Utterback’s chances of making a comeback and made him the third-place finisher.  Utterback is a 41-year-old poker pro from San Antonio, TX.  He has five previous cashes at the WSOP in Las Vegas.  He also won an event a few years ago at the Scotty Nguyen Poker Classic.

Second Place:  Daniel Galindo, a 21-year-old student and part-time poker player from San Antonio, TX finished as the runner up.  He collected $13,056.  Remarkably, this was Galindo’s first WSOP Circuit tournament.

Galindo could very well have been the champion were it not for some horrible misfortune during the last 15 minutes of play.  He lost three consecutive all-in situations, allowing his rival Danny Doucet to seize the chip lead and eventually win.  The last hand was dealt out as follows:

Doucet –    
Galindo –    
Flop –      
Turn –  
River –  

Doucet made two pair – sevens and sixes and won the tournament.
First Place:   The winner was Danny Doucet, from Lafayette, LA.  He earned his first WSOP Circuit gold ring with an impressive win at Harrah’s New Orleans.  First place paid $21,116.

Doucet joined two players -- John Christian and John Holley, the winners of Events #1 and #2 respectively -- in the point race for Best All-Around Player for the Harrah’s New Orleans series.  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, which is to be held at Caesars Palace Las Vegas, next month.  At least 11 players from Harrah’s New Orleans will qualify for the nationally-televised WSOP gold bracelet event.

New Orleans is the fifteenth and final WSOP Circuit destination of a season which began in Iowa, nearly nine months ago.  Tens of thousands of players competed in 145 poker tournaments which have now been completed at 14 tour stops.  Now, with everything on the line and as many as 50 at-large spots still remaining in the first-ever WSOP National Championship, players from all over the country are flooding into New Orleans faster than the mighty Mississippi.

A FULL SCHEDULE of remaining events at Harrah’s New Orleans can be found here.


A Short History of the WSOP Circuit at Harrah’s New Orleans:

The first major poker tournament held at Harrah’s New Orleans was called the “Cajun Poker Classic,” which took place in early 2004.  The three-day tournament attracted 536 players and inspired the casino to host more poker events in the future.  Later that year, the first Bayou Poker Challenge was held, which consisted of six tournaments. 

Next, Harrah’s New Orleans became a charter member of the World Series of Poker Circuits, which officially started play in 2005.  Since then, New Orleans has hosted the final stop on the circuit each year, which takes place in mid-May just prior to the start of the WSOP at the Rio in Las Vegas.  The first two WSOP Circuit championships held at Harrah’s New Orleans were televised by ESPN and were among the most exciting tournaments broadcast at the time.  They still occasionally appear in re-runs to this day.

WSOP Circuit events in New Orleans proved to be so successful that a second tournament series was created, starting in 2007.  This became known as the “Bayou Poker Challenge” (a.k.a. the Winter Bayou Poker Challenge), which has since become a December attraction.  This tournament series is categorized as a World Series of Poker Satellite, since its Main Event winner earns an entry valued at $10,000 seat (plus expense money) into the WSOP championship, held the following year. 


New Orleans Poker Trivia:

Question:  What city is widely considered to be the birthplace of poker?

Answer:  Most scholars and historians agree that New Orleans was the birthplace of poker as we know it today.  Poker actually evolved from an early French card game called Poque – which was frequently mispronounced by English-speaking players.  When French colonists first settled in around the New Orleans region during the 1700s, they brought many of their old customs with them -- including Poque.  Early versions of this type of poker played in southern Louisiana and later on Mississippi riverboats were similar to the modern game we know today as five-card draw.  However, there were fewer cards in the deck when the game first began.  Later, as poker became increasingly popular as part of America’s westward expansion during the later half of the 19th century, the number of cards in a standard playing deck increased to 52 in order to accommodate a larger number of players who often played in games.  After its formative days in New Orleans, the next bona fide poker boom occurred in Northern California during the Gold Rush.  Thereafter, poker became widely known as an American game.