Josh Roberts Wins Tahoe’s Biggest Poker Tournament in Six Years

Nor Cal Poker Pro Tops 521-Player Field – Highest Turnout Since 2005

WSOP Circuit at Harvey’s Lake Tahoe Runs through November 21st

Stateline, NV (November 13, 2011) – If ever there was a tournament that played out much like a World Series of Poker gold bracelet event, it was the most recent WSOP Circuit competition, which recently completed at Harvey’s Lake Tahoe.

There was a near record-sized field.  There were big crowds of spectators.  There were chants.  There was intensity.  There was a nine-hour final table.  And there was a new poker champion staggering across the finish line, feeling as though he had endured the ultimate test of mental and physical endurance.

Just as the clock struck 6 am on Monday morning, Josh Roberts raked in the final pot of what had been a 16-hour day and night.  He defeated Drew Casen on a dramatic last hand in the final duel of one of Lake Tahoe’s toughest poker battles ever.  Roberts’ triumph came in the second gold ring event played at this year’s World Series of Poker Circuit stop here in Northern Nevada.  He collected $32,300 in prize money. 

With his victory, Roberts was presented with the coveted gold ring, his first, which is the ultimate token of achievement for winning a WSOP Circuit tournament.

With 521 entries, this was the biggest turnout for any poker tournament held at Lake Tahoe in six years.  The all-time high mark was set on April 27, 2005 when 542 players showed up for the inaugural WSOP Circuit series held in Northern Nevada.  Hence, this tournament currently stands as the second-largest poker tournament ever played at Lake Tahoe.

This was the second of 12 gold ring tournaments which are to be played this season (Note:  At time of this report, the first four tournaments have completed).  The three-day $300 (+45) No-Limit Hold’em event ran long hours, just as expected.  The total prize pool came to $151,611.  The top 54 players were paid.  All players who cashed received WSOP Circuit National Championship ranking points.

A full list of all players that cashed in Event #2 can be seen here.

The first of two “Day One” playing sessions (Day 1-A) began on November 11th and included a Veterans Day tribute to all those who have served.  Prior to the “Shuffle Up and Deal” announcement, veterans amidst the big crowd were asked to stand and be recognized, which brought a room full of applause.

 The re-entry day (called Day 1-B) was played on November 12th.  There were 70 survivors from the two first sessions.  Day Two resumed on Sunday, November 13th and played down to the final table.  After five hours of play resulting in 61 more eliminated players, the nine final survivors were determined as follows:

SEAT 1:  Sam Lee (San Francisco, CA) – 363,000 in chips
SEAT 2:  Bryan Borders (Granite Bay, CA) – 1,223,000 in chips 
SEAT 3:  Drew Caseri (Merced, CA) – 369,000 in chips
SEAT 4:  Jed Hoffman (Reno, NV) – 181,000 in chips
SEAT 5:  Andrew Barber (Sacramento, CA) – 1,255,000 in chips
SEAT 6:  Josh Roberts (Jackson, CA) – 844,000 in chips
SEAT 7:  Adrian Wise (San Jose, CA) – 163,000 in chips
SEAT 8:  Matthew Weber (Sacramento, CA) – 730,000 in chips
SEAT 9:  Robert Gallina (Carson City, NV) – 88,000 in chips

Final table play began at 8:30 pm.  Play ended at 6 am local time – making the total duration of play about 9.5 hours.

9th Place – Robert Gallina was the first player eliminated.  He got involved in a big three-way pot that could have put him into contention had he won.  Instead, the part-time poker player from Carson City, NV had to settle for ninth place and a payout just short of $3,000.

8th Place – Adrian Wise, from San Jose, CA played well and outlasted more than 500 players.  But he went out in eighth place after taking an early hit and then losing a race to one of the big stacks.  Wise, who is a San Francisco State University political science professor, finished in third place in this same event which took place last year.  He earned $3,767 in prize money. 

7th Place – Samuel Lee, from San Francisco, went bust about three hours into play.  He is a project manager for a high-tech company and a graduate of Cal-Berkley.  This was his fourth time to cash in a major poker tournament, and first WSOP-related in-the-money finish.  Seventh place paid $4,801.

6th Place – Matthew Weber, a 23-year-old student from Sacramento, CA finished in sixth place.  He bounced out about four hours into play.  This was Weber’s tenth time to cash in 2011.  He won a WSOP Circuit gold ring last season at Harrah’s Rincon, and had a second-place finish here at Lake Tahoe.  Weber added $6,206 to his poker bankroll for sixth place.

5th Place -- Bryan Borders, a 49-year-old commercial lender from Granite Bay, CA could have used a loan himself, about five hours into play.  He ran out of chips and ended up in fifth place.  Borders was cheered on to his best tournament finish ever by his wife, who was in attendance along with a large crowd of spectators.  He ended up with a nice payout totaling $8,135.

4th Place – Andrew Barber, a 28-year-old professional poker player from Sacramento, CA ended up in fourth place.  He previously worked as an engineer before deciding to play full time.  This was Barber’s 20th major cash, including three WSOP in-the-money finishes as well as three additional Circuit showings.  He enjoyed wins at the Pot of Gold and World Poker Challenge, both held in Reno. 

3rd Place – Jed Hoffman, a.k.a. “The Human,” an investor from Reno, NV took third place.  This was his 22nd major tournament cash – which includes four second-place and three third-place finishes, mostly at tournaments played in Northern Nevada.  Hoffman added $14,692 to his poker bankroll.

2nd Place – Drew Caseri, from Merced, CA finished as the runner up.  This was his highest tournament finish ever.  He collected $19,974 in prize money.  Caseri previously finished fifth in last year’s WSOP Circuit Main Event championship, held here at Harvey’s Lake Tahoe.

When heads-up play began, Josh Roberts enjoyed a sizable chip lead.  It took nearly an hour for the final dramatic hand to be dealt, which came as follows:


“That was a sick turn card and a worse river” was all the runner up could say after staring at a bad beat board.  Indeed, it was an ugly ending for Caseri.  He was all-in pre-flop and holding the best hand, and then flopped top pair.  But the turn gave Roberts a huge number of outs – with straight and flush draws.  Then, the river was the final nail in Caseri’s tournament coffin.  Roberts ended up dragging the pot with an ace-high straight.

1st Place – Josh Roberts, a 26-year-old poker pro from Jackson, CA won his first live poker tournament and first career WSOP Circuit gold ring following several other impressive showings.  He collected $32,300 in prize money.  His victory was cheered on by several friends in the crowd.  This was his third time to cash on the WSOP Circuit.  Robert also has three WSOP cashes in Las Vegas.

With his victory, Roberts joins three previous champions who now have gold rings at the 2011 Lake Tahoe series:

Event #1:  David Clark (Dallas, TX) defeated 260 players and won $18,208
Event #2:  Josh Roberts (Jackson, CA) defeated 521 players and won $32,300
Event #3:  Mark Bonsack (Maple Valley, CA) defeated 85 players and won $7,484
Event #4:  Michael Rosenbach (San Francisco, CA) defeated 101 players and won $13,874

Through the first four events, Michael Rosenbach (San Francisco, CA) leads in the WSOP Circuit’s “Best All-Around Player” standings for Lake Tahoe.  His lead stems from two final table appearances, so far – including a fifth and a first. 

The player who accumulates the most overall points in Lake Tahoe’s twelve combined gold ring tournaments receives a pre-paid entry into the $1 million 2011-2012 WSOP Circuit National Championship, to be held in Las Vegas, next May.  At least two players from this tournament series will qualify for the WSOP Circuit National Championship, which is classified as a WSOP gold bracelet event.  The other automatic qualifier will be the winner of Lake Tahoe’s Main Event championship – coming on Nov. 19th.

With the first four tournaments now wrapped up (Events 3 and 4 have also been completed), there are still eight more gold ring events remaining in what is being billed as a “12 rings in 12 days” poker series.  The WSOP Circuit at Harvey’s Lake Tahoe continues through November 21st.  This year’s schedule includes not only all the gold ring events, but multiple second-chance tournaments (at 5 pm and 7 pm most days), single table and mega satellites, plus cash games going around the clock inside the Harvey’s Poker Room.