Rudy Sisson Wins Gold Ring at Lake Tahoe – WSOP Circuit Reaches Midway Point

Sisson Discusses His Tournament Strategy and Methods Following Victory
2011 WSOP Circuit at Harvey’s at Lake Tahoe Still Has Six Gold Ring Events to Go

Stateline, NV (November 15, 2011) – Rudy Sisson has an unusual way to keeping himself focused while playing in poker tournaments.

He writes down most of his hands and chip counts as he plays.  Then, during breaks and sometimes after the tournament ends, he goes back and looks at what succeeded and what failed.

When Sisson reflects later and looks back at the results of his most recent poker tournament, he is likely to be quite satisfied as what he sees.  Sisson overwhelmed a 221-player field and won the most recent World Series of Poker Circuit tournament, which took place at Harvey’s Lake Tahoe.

For his victory, Sisson collected $15,741 in prize money.  He was presented with the coveted gold ring, which is the ultimate token of achievement for winning a WSOP Circuit tournament.

Sisson is a 37-year-old self-employed man, who lives in Sacramento, CA.  He describes himself as low key about most things.  However, he was willing to share a few of his thoughts on poker strategy.

“I had a feeling that I might win before I was playing,” Sisson said in a post-tournament interview.  “I wasn’t all in during the tournament but one time.  I made three really good reads when players tried to bluff me.  That gave me a lot of confidence.”

During the first day of play, Sisson was in the zone.  Following the dinner break, he went on a major rush which resulted in his stack going from 20,000 up to 227,000 by day’s end.  His good fortune continued at the final table where he rocketed from fifth in chips to his first major tournament victory.

“I was tracking my hands and chip counts the whole way and that really helped me making decisions,” Sisson said later.  “My records helped me to keep on doing what was working.  It helped me stay in track.  It was a self-motivating type of way of looking at the game.”

Sisson noted that his hand tracking also helped him to remain focused when things were not going well.  “If I took a bad beat, I would write it in there and mentally make notes,” Sisson said.  “When I was chipping up, it was easier to recognize what I was doing right and then keep in doing those things.  It’s a good way to motivate myself to play my best.”

Sisson’s victory came in the sixth of 12 gold ring tournaments scheduled at the Lake Tahoe series.  The two-day $300 (+45) No-Limit Hold’em event generated a total prize pool amounting to $54,708.  The top 21 players were paid.  All players who cashed received WSOP Circuit National Championship ranking points.

A full list of all players who cashed in Event #6 can be seen here.

The first playing session (Day One) began on November 14th.  There were only ten survivors from the first session.  Day Two resumed on Tuesday, November 15th.  The final ten survivors were as follows:

Argeh Cohen    Brooklyn, NY    121,000    1
Gary Isaacson    Brentwood, CA    135,000    2
Jim Rogers    Wasilla, AK    78,000    3
Peter Sullivan    Roscoe, IL    343,000    4
Reid Walker Harris, III    St. Simons Island, GA    190,000    5
Jarrett Fenlon    Richmond, CA    265,000    6
Jeff Surdez    San Ramon, CA    299,000    7
Collins Guillebeaux    Bloomington, MN    161,000    8
Paul Evans    Mount Shasta, CA    391,000    9
Rudy Sisson    Sacramento, CA    227,000    10

Final table play began at 3 pm.  Play ended at 9:45 pm local time.  The duration of play was 5:45 hours (there was a one hour dinner break).

10th Place – Collins Guillebeaux, from Bloomington, MN bubbled the official final table (nine players) and exited in tenth place.  He is a former radio broadcaster who has worked in the poker industry in recent years.  He’s also succeeded as a player, winning previous events at the Pot of Gold and Venetian Deep Stack series. 

9th Place – Jarrett Fenlon, from Richmond, CA went out in ninth place.  He is a 30-year-old executive recruiter.  Fenlon came into the final table with a healthy stack size but was unable to establish any momentum during his hour stay.  Fenlon has two previous WSOP cashes.  He also won a major online poker tournament.  Fenlon is a true Renaissance man.  Not only is he a poker player.  He also was a walk on football player at Cal.  Fenlon has also written and produced two albums of original songs.

8th Place – Eighth place went to Gary Isaacson, from Brentwood, CA.  He is a 52-year-old real estate investor.  Isaacson’s commission amounted to $1,826 for this performance.  Isaacson has two previous WSOP cashes.

7th Place – Jeff Surdez, a 27-year-old insurance agent from Discovery Bay, CA had his final table policy cancelled for running out of chips.  He ended up with $2,323 in prize money.  This marked Surdez’s second time to cash in a major poker tournament.

6th Place – Pete Sullivan, an attorney from Roscoe, IL had his motion to stay at the final table overruled by the remaining players.  Sullivan now has 14 cashes in WSOP Circuit events – including four final tables.  Interestingly, his final table finishers are now 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – and now 6th.  He collected $3,000 in prize money.

5th Place – Paul Evans, a former business owner from Mt. Shasta, CA arrived at the final table with the most impressive poker resume among the final nine.  He has accumulated nearly $1 million in career tournament winnings, including several major cashes at the WSOP.  Evans finished twice in gold bracelet events, dating back to 2000.  This marked Evan’s 41st career cash, worth $3,933.

4th Place – Jimmy Rogers, from Wasilla, AK ended up as the fourth-place finisher.  The Alaskan froze up when play became four-handed, failing to catch a big hand that might have put him back into contention.  Rogers is a 57-year-old masonry and concrete contractor.  Remarkably, this was the first WSOP Circuit event Rogers had ever played, which was good for $5,236.  Roger began the final table with the smallest stack by far, and jumped six spots up the money ladder.

3rd Place – Aryeh Cohen made his second final table appearance this week at Lake Tahoe.  Just a few days after coming in seventh, Cohen returned to the feature table and improved on his previous showing, by finishing third.  Cohen is now in serious contention for the “Best All Around Player” award, with his two deep runs.  Cohen is an attorney from Brooklyn, NY.  Third place paid $7,081.

2nd Place – Reid Harris III finished as the runner up.  He is a 25-year-old poker pro from Georgia.  Harris played superbly, but could not overcome the chip advantage of his final opponent.  Had he been able to double up on what was a race during the final hand, he might have been able to achieve the victory.  Instead, he had to settle for a consolation prize amounting to $9,729.

The final hand was dealt as follows:


Sisson had his opponent covered by a considerable margin.  All of Harris’ chips went in pre-flop and Sisson called with middle pair.  The race was on.  Harris failed to connect with any of the five board cards, which gave the final pot of the night to Sisson.  Harris finished second.

1st Place – Rudy Sisson, from Sacramento, CA won his first major poker tournament.  He had two previous cashes at Harvey’s Lake Tahoe, both in 2009.  For his win, Sisson collected $15,741 and the WSOP Circuit gold ring.  His victory was shown on a live streaming broadcast at

With his victory, Sisson joins five 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
Event #5:  Daniel Aran (San Jose, CA) defeated 188 players and won $13,874
Event #6:  Rudy Sisson (Sacramento, CA) defeated 221 players and won $15,741

Through the first six events, Michael Rosenbach (San Francisco, CA) continues to be the leader in the WSOP Circuit’s “Best All-Around Player” standings for Lake Tahoe.  His lead comes from two final table appearances so far – including a fifth and a first-place showing.  However, Daniel Aran now ranks in second place. 

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 six tournaments now wrapped up, there are still six 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.