Stateline, NV (November 21, 2011) – Bryan Schultz has plenty of tournament cashes on his tournament resume. The Chicago-based poker player finished in the money numerous times, mostly at tournaments played in the Midwest. But he had to fly 2,000 miles and cross a couple of mountain ranges to book his first major tournament win.
Schultz’s debut triumph came in the World Series of Poker Circuit Main Event Championship, held at Harvey’s Lake Tahoe in Northern Nevada. He overcame a near-record field for the championship, outlasting 326 other players who each posted the $1,600 entry fee.
Schultz pocketed his first six-figure score – amounting to $111,812. The 25-year-old part-time player was also presented with his first WSOP Circuit gold ring.
The winner’s path to victory was not easy. In fact, the odds were stacked against him from the start. Not only did Schultz manage to defeat several former WSOP gold bracelet and WSOP Circuit gold ring winners, he also made a dramatic final table comeback –both at a full table and when play was heads up.
Schultz arrived at the final table ranked eighth of nine players. He remained patient and won the key hands that put him into a final duel against another tough player named Daniel Lowery. Then, he overcame more than a 2 to 1 chip disadvantage and went on to achieve his biggest career win.
The three-day tournament generated a total prize pool of nearly half a million dollars. The top 33 finishers collected prize money. A full list of all players who cashed in Event #11 can be seen here.
This was the eighth consecutive year that Harvey’s Lake Tahoe has hosted the WSOP. In fact, Harvey’s is a charter member of the WSOP Circuit tournament trail, having hosted a stop during all eight seasons of the tour. This year’s dozen gold ring events at Harvey’s were memorable for a number of reasons. Here’s a short look back at the top five moments from the previous two weeks at Lake Tahoe:
1. Alexandru Masek wins fourth WSOP Circuit gold bracelet: Recent law school graduate Alexandru Masek (San Diego, CA) has posted some impressive results in Circuit events, especially for a part-time player. He moved into a tie for second place in career wins with his fourth tournament victory in Event #8 at Lake Tahoe. Masek is now one win behind the all-time leader, Mark “Pegasus” Smith – who has five victories.
2. Michael Rosenbach wins two gold rings, makes three final tables, and is “Best All-Around Player” for Lake Tahoe series: This has been a breakthrough series for Mark Rosenbach, from San Francisco. He won two gold rings, and also posted a fifth-place finish in another tournament. His three final tables catapulted him into an automatic seat in the WSOP Circuit National Championship.
3. Bryan Schultz wins Main Event Championship: Bryan Schultz won his first major poker title by winning the Main Event. Schultz’s six-figure payout was his highest ever. This was the highest Main Event turnout at Lake Tahoe in five years.
4. Nicholas Long becomes the only four-time casher at Lake Tahoe: Nicholas Long had a great 12 days, coming in the money four times – more than any other player. Long, a local poker player from South Lake Tahoe, won his first gold ring and acquired 85 points towards the WSOP Circuit National Championship.
5. Attendance and prize money up over last year at Lake Tahoe: Attendance and prize money were both up at Harvey’s this year over the previous year. The second gold ring event was the biggest poker tournament at Lake Tahoe in that last six years, with 521 entries. Main Event attendance also increased by 20 percent.
The Main Event's first playing session (Day One) began on Saturday, November 19th with two starting brackets. There were 175 survivors from Day One – which was about half the starting field. Day Two resumed on Sunday, November 20th. By the end of the 14-hour session, only 11 players remained. On Day Three, the final table was set after Rom McMillen (11th) and Dennis Pevarnick (10th) were eliminated.
The final nine players were as follows:
SEAT 1: Chris Clark (Grants Pass, CA) – 320,000 in chips
SEAT 2: Casey McCarrel (Lafayette, CA) – 831,000 in chips
SEAT 3: Hank Czarnecki (Tahoe City, CA) – 939,000 in chips
SEAT 4: Joe Fernandez (Turlock, CA) – 556,000 in chips
SEAT 5: David Clark (Dallas, TX) – 1,115,000 in chips
SEAT 6: Jim Atwood (Turlock, CA) -- 557,000 in chips
SEAT 7: Bryan Schultz (Chicago, IL) – 438,000 in chips
SEAT 8: Ron Segni (El Cajon, CA) – 1,036,000 in chips
SEAT 9: Daniel Lowery (Peter Pender, AR) – 672,000 in chips
Final table play began at 12:30 pm. Play ended at 6:30 pm local time. The duration of play was about six hours.
9th Place – Casey McCarrel arrived at the final table with a healthy stack. But he went out in ninth place, which paid $10,320. McCarrel is a 30-year-old poker from Lafayette, CA. He has many top tournaments finishes, including a win at the World Poker Tours’ Atlantis event. McCarrel also final tabled a WSOP event earlier this year, finishing in seventh place.
8th Place – Chris Clark, from Grants Pass, OR finished in eighth place. He is the 51-year-old owner of an RV park/business. Clark cashed in a WSOP Circuit event two years ago. But his was his highest major tournament finish ever, which paid $12,932.
7th Place – Joe Fernandez (a.k.a. Jose Fernandez) wasone of two finalists from Turlock, CA. He ended up in seventh place. He took a tough beat on his final hand when he made trip aces, but lost to a full house. Fernandez, 62, who works at the Turlock Poker Room received a payout totaling $16,448. This was his second time to cash at Lake Tahoe. He finished second in an event here three years ago.
6th Place – David Clark, a two-time gold ring winner from Dallas came up short in his quest for a trifecta. Hoping to win a second event here at Lake Tahoe, Clark was in great chip position for a while, but then ran card dead late and ended up in sixth place. The poker pro, who travels around the country playing in many WSOP Circuit events, locked up $21,234 in prize money. This was his fourth top-ten finish this season on the WSOP Circuit.
5th Place – Jim Atwood was the second player from Turlock, CA to bust out. He ended up in fifth place. This was Atwood’s best career cash, worth $27,843 in prize money. He previously had two second-place finishes and a third-place showing at other tournaments played in Northern Nevada.
4th Place – Hank Czarnecki, a 27-year-old poker pro from Tahoe City, CA finished in fourth place. Most of his poker accomplishments came from online play. However, Czarnecki appears to be making a comfortable transition to live tournaments. He’s cashed at the WSOP in Las Vegas. He also cashed in a previous WSOP Circuit event, in addition to some in-the-money finishes at various tournaments in the Reno area. Fourth place paid $37,087.
3rd Place – Ron Segni, from El Cajon, CA finished in third place. He is a 54-year-old general contractor. Segni came to the final table ranked second in chips, but could not overcome the rush by his two final opponents – Lowery and Schultz. This marked Segni’s 12th time to cash in a WSOP Circuit event. He has six final table appearances, but has yet to win the top prize, although he come in second once and third twice. With the $50,210 he earned in this event, Segni now has nearly $200,000 in career tournament earnings.
2nd Place – Daniel “MF” Lowery, a 37-year-old sawmill owner and operator from Arkansas, buzzed through most of the field before being decapitated in second place. This marked Lowery’s fourth time to make it to a final table in Lake Tahoe. He also won the one and only Latin American Poker Tour event ever held in Mexico, which took place three years ago. Lowery pocketed $69,132 for a strong run in this tournament.
When heads-up play began, Lowery was ahead by about a 2 to 1 margin over Schultz. It appeared he might win his first gold ring. But about 20 minutes into the duel, rival Schultz took the lead when he hit a flush. Then, Schultz closed out the heads-up match with a dramatic ending by hitting a card on the river, when he made a higher pair. The final hand of the tournament went as follows:
Lowery was behind when cards were exposed, but took the lead when he flopped a pair of eights. Still, Schultz had two overcards. The turn was a blank, but a nine on the river brought a mixture of celebration and anguish from the players and spectators gathered around the final table. Schultz’s pair of nines beat Lowery’s pair of eights, and he was declared the champion.
1st Place – Bryan Schultz, from the Chicago area, won his first WSOP Circuit gold ring. He collected $111,812 in prize money.
With his victory, Schultz joins nine previous champions who have won gold rings at the 2011 Lake Tahoe series. He is the only duel winner:
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
Event #8: Alexandru Masek (San Diego, CA) defeated 206 players and won $15,236
Event #9: Troy Declue (Wildomar, CA) defeated 186 players and won $13,724
Event #10: Michael Rosenbach (San Francisco, CA) defeated 221 players and won $26,796
Event #11: Bryan Schultz (Carpentersville, IN) defeated 327 players and won $111,812
Michael Rosenbach, from San Francisco, is declared the official winner of the WSOP Circuit’s “Best All-Around Player” contest for Lake Tahoe. His winning point total (125 points) resulted from three final table appearances – including two wins and a fifth-place finish.
Hence, Schultz and Rosenbach are the two players who receive pre-paid entries into the $1 million 2011-2012 WSOP Circuit National Championship, to be held in Las Vegas, next May.
Coming up next on the WSOP Circuit will be a stop at Harrah's Atlantic City. Tournaments run from December 1-12. SEE SCHEDULE HERE.
ABOUT HARVEY’S LAKE TAHOE RESORT & CASINO
Harveys Resort & Casino is the largest resort casino property at Lake Tahoe. A wide variety of resort features include: 740 rooms and suites; nearly 75,000 square feet of casino space; five great restaurants including the stunning 19 Kitchen • Bar (overlooking beautiful Lake Tahoe), Hard Rock Cafe, Sammy Hagar’s famous Cabo Wabo Cantina and the elegant Sage Room Steakhouse (est. 1947); a full-service health club and pool; elaborate convention center services; Harveys Cabaret theatre (home of the Improv Comedy Club); race and sportsbook; poker room; wedding chapel; and family arcade. Harveys also presents the celebrated Lake Tahoe Summer Concert Series, which features superstar artists including Elton John, Eagles, Bob Dylan, Kenny Chesney and many more. In 2010, Harveys Resort & Casino was awarded 35 Casino Player Magazine Best of Gaming Awards including: Best Steakhouse (Sage Room); Best Headliners; Best Video and Reel Slots; Best Race/Sportsbook; Best Poker Room and Best Poker Tournaments. For more information and reservations, please visit: www.HarveysTahoe.com.