Las Vegas, NV (May 28, 2011) – The final table of the inaugural World Series of Poker Circuit National Championship is now set.

Jonathan Poche, from St. Martinsville, LA is the chip leader entering the final day.  Poche won the WSOP Circuit Main Event Championship held ten days ago at Harrah’s New Orleans.  He is well on his way to having a monster two-week run and could conceivably become the first player in history to win both a Circuit gold ring and a WSOP gold bracelet within the same month.

However, Poche faces a difficult test.  He faces the very best of the best from this year’s WSOP Circuit, including other former champions and gold ring winners.  Here is the seating order and chip counts of each of the nine finalists, who are now all guaranteed prize money:

Seat 1:  Charles “Woody” Moore (Las Vegas, NV) – 65,500 in chips
Seat 2:  Adam Hui (Markham, ON Canada) – 239,000 in chips
Seat 3:  Drazen Ilich (Lincoln, NE) – 118,000 in chips
Seat 4:  Jonathan Poche (St. Martinsville, LA) – 534,000 in chips
Seat 5:  Josh Evans (Dallas, TX) – 222,500 in chips
Seat 6:  La Sengphet (Dallas, TX) – 245,000 in chips
Seat 7:  Sam Barnhart (Little Rock, AR) – 166,000 in chips
Seat 8:  Jim Anderson (Berea, OH) – 235,000 in chips
Seat 9:  Matt Lawrence (Tulsa, OK) – 140,000 in chips

This three-day poker festival, scheduled just prior to the start of the WSOP, is taking place at Caesars Palace Las Vegas.  The tournament’s total prize pool amounts to a cool $1 million.  The No-Limit Hold’em competition will be featured on national television.  The broadcast will appear on The Versus Network during this summer.

The winner will become the first-ever “WSOP Circuit National Champion.”  He or she will receive first-place prize money, amounting to $300,000.  The winner is also presented with the very first WSOP gold bracelet of the year.  The top ten finishers collect prize money. 

The unfortunate “bubble” finisher was Doug “Rico” Carli.  Proving there is no justice in poker, Carli has paid his dues on the WSOP Circuit more than any other player during the past seven seasons.  Carli holds the record for most Circuit cashes in history, with 50.  He barely qualified for a seat in the National Championship.  But once he arrived in Las Vegas from his home in Alliance, Ohio and finished the first day with plenty of chips, it seemed Carli might finally get the recognition he is due.   Sadly, Carli ended up finishing just one spot out of the money in 11th place, just missing the guaranteed $27,500 payout.

Finishing in tenth place was Huy Nguyen, who earned $27,500 for two days of poker playing.

The “freeroll” tournament started Friday with 100 qualifiers, 97 of whom made the journey to Las Vegas in order to compete.  All competitors earned their way into the event.  Players were not permitted to buy-in.  The field size was limited to an exclusive club of 100 finalists who had accumulated enough points on a ranking scale or made Regional Championship final tables during the course of the WSOP Circuit season. 

The 2010-2011 season began last August in Council Bluffs, IA and ended one week ago in New Orleans, LA.  There were a total of 15 WSOP Circuit stops, which created a wide array of National Championship qualifiers – of all ages and from different parts of the country, and even some from abroad.  Indeed, the field was comprised of many amateur players as well as seasoned professionals and even a few former WSOP gold bracelet champions.  Among those who earned seats their this year were notable names from the tournament trail including – Steve Zolotow, Chris Klodnicki, Allen Kessler, Allie Prescott, Chris Bell, Blair Hinkle, “Captain” Tom Franklin, and others.  A few players who earned their tournament poker stripes on the WSOP Circuit also qualified – including Doug “Rico” Carli and Dwyte Pilgrim.

The final table will be played on Sunday, starting at noon.  The locale will be the Caesars Palace poker room, which is accustomed to hosting high-profile poker events.  Caesars Palace hosts several major tournaments ever year, including the NBC Heads-Up National Championship, played every March.

Visitors are welcome to watch the final table.  Seating is free and open to the public to anyone over the age of 21.

LIVE UPDATES at the WSOP.COM website will begin on Sunday once the action gets underway at noon PST.