The Long Road to Victory

Local Poker Pro Nick Long Wins Gold Ring at Lake Tahoe

WSOP Circuit at Harvey’s Lake Tahoe Crosses Midway Point – Events Continue through Nov. 21st

Stateline, NV (November 16, 2011) – Nick Long is a big fish in a small pond.  Not that there’s anything small about living next to one of the world’s largest alpine lakes.  But when it comes to local poker players, Long is certainly one of the area’s most respected and well-liked players. 

That was confirmed in the most recent World Series of Poker Circuit event, which was just completed at Harvey’s Lake Tahoe.  Long, who has lived in South Lake Tahoe, CA for the past three years after moving to the area from his native Ohio, made it to the final table.  He brought along a cheering section of high-fiving fellow players and friends, who watched their colleague win his first major tournament victory.

But Long’s biggest fan wasn’t in attendance.  Watching the live stream of the final table at was his mother, who lives back in Ohio.  Immediately following his victory, Long went up to the camera and waved to his mother, watching the celebration at her home 2,000 miles away.

With the win, Long collected $14,705 in prize money.  He was presented with the coveted gold ring, which is the ultimate token of achievement for winning a WSOP Circuit tournament.

Long’s victory came in the seventh of 12 gold ring tournaments scheduled at the Lake Tahoe series.  The two-day $300 (+45) Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em event generated a total prize pool totaling $57,909.  The top 21 players were paid prize money.  All players who cashed received WSOP Circuit National Championship ranking points.

A full list of all players who cashed in Event #7 can be seen here.

The first playing session (Day One) began on November 15th and ended with only two tables of 12 survivors.  Day Two resumed on Wednesday, November 16th.  The final seven survivors who made it to the “unofficial” final table were as follows:

SEAT 1:  Ivan Holmes (Berkley, CA) – 460,000 in chips
SEAT 2:  Steve Rujubu (Sacramento, CA) – 141,000 in chips
SEAT 3:  Nick Long (South Lake Tahoe, CA) – 245,000 in chips
SEAT 4:  Paul Kossluk (Ashland, OR) – 276,000 in chips
SEAT 5:  Merwick J. Black (Las Vegas, NV) – 328,000 in chips
SEAT 6:  Josh Roberts (Jackson, CA) – 117,000 in chips
SEAT 7:  Clay Richardson (South Lake Tahoe, CA) – 470,000 in chips

When seven players were still in, the two tables consolidated which was the only point After Josh Roberts was eliminated in seventh place, the official final table began at 4:15 pm.  Play ended at 8:40 pm local time.  The duration of play was about 4.5 hours.

6th Place – Paul Kossluk, from Ashland, OR finished in sixth place.  This marked his first time ever to cash in a WSOP Circuit tournament.  Kossluk earned $2,735 in prize money.

5th Place – Clay Richardson (a.k.a. John Richardson) made his second final table appearance at this year’s Lake Tahoe series.  He finished seventh in a previous event.  Richardson moved two spots up from that finish in this tournament, with his cash in fifth place.  The local poker pro from South Lake Tahoe collected $3,599 in prize money.

4th Place – Merwick J. Black is instantly recognizable inside any poker room.  The man is black with the stylish cowboy hat hoped to win a second WSOP Circuit gold ring victory.  His previous triumph took place in 2007, when he won a $500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em event worth $44,477.  Black ran deep in this tournament but finally busted out during the third hour.  This was his third time to cash in a WSOP-related event and fifth time to make a top five finish in a major poker tournament.  The retired aerospace engineer from Las Vegas collected $4,817 for fourth place.

3rd Place – Ivan Holmes, from Berkley, CA was eliminated going into the fourth hour of play.  He was also going for what would have been his second WSOP Circuit gold ring victory.  Holmes won an event at the 2009 Lake Tahoe series, nearly two years to the day of this tournament.  However, Holmes was the low man in chips at three-handed and was not able to double up.  Instead, he collected $6,559 for a fine effort.  This marked Holmes 28th time to cash in a major poker tournament.  He has accumulated nearly $200,000 in career earnings.

2nd Place – Steve Kujubu, a.k.a. AK-47, ran out of bullets and ended up finishing in second place.  He runner-up finish was pretty impressive given that he ranked sixth in chips when play was seven-handed.  Second place paid $9,084.  Kujubu, who lives in Sacramento, CA now has 29 major cashes on his record, including a win at Reno’s Pot of Gold series two years ago. 

When heads-up play began, Nick Long enjoyed nearly a 4 to 1 chip lead over Kujubu.  The duel lasted nearly an hour, a testament to Kujubu’s never-give-up attitude.  But in the end, Long had too many chips and was playing his best poker, which make him an insurmountable obstacle.  The final hand was dealt as follows:


Long had his opponent covered by a considerable margin.  All of Kujubu’s chips went in pre-flop.  The race was on.  Kujubu was a dog from the start.  He failed to connect with any of the five board cards, which gave the final pot of the night to Long, who ended up with a pair of sevens.  Kujubu finished second.

1st Place – Nick Long, from South Lake Tahoe, CA won his first major poker tournament.  Prior to this win, he had two previous cashes at Harvey’s Lake Tahoe, and another at Horseshoe Hammond (Chicago).  For his win, Long collected $14,705 and the WSOP Circuit gold ring.  His victory was shown on a live streaming broadcast at

With his victory, Long joins six 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
Event #7:  Nick Long (South Lake Tahoe, CA) defeated 199 players and won $57,909

Through the first seven events, Michael Rosenbach (San Francisco, CA) remains as 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 seven tournaments now wrapped up, there are still five 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.