Bossier City, LA – September 8, 2011 will likely be remembered as a day of new beginnings.  On the same day the National Football League regular season kicked off (Green Bay defeated the New Orleans Saints in a thriller) and President Barack Obama addressed a joint session of Congress hoping to jump start the economy, the eighth season of the World Series of Poker Circuit began play in Bossier City, Louisiana.
 
Horseshoe Bossier City, nestled on the Red River overlooking Downtown Shreveport, is hosting a WSOP Circuit stop for the first time.  The Horseshoe Casino and Hotel series is the first of 16 scheduled WSOP Circuit stops this season.  All the tournament action takes place inside a special pavilion constructed on the rooftop of the casino.  Indeed, every card dealt out at the Horseshoe is a “river card,” since the casino is actually located a riverboat.  The outer deck of the rooftop overlooks a bustling city full of buildings, bridges, and barges and is just steps away from all the poker action. 

It’s fitting that Louisiana, widely-acknowledged as the birthplace of poker, will serve as both the opening and closing destinations for the new season.  After events conclude here at Bossier City on September 19th, followed by 14 more WSOP Circuit stops in between, the season finale will take place at Harrah’s New Orleans, next May.

Based on the strong early turnout and lots of enthusiasm for poker here in the Shreveport area, the forthcoming WSOP Circuit season appears to be headed for another successful year.

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The first tournament of the new season was a $345 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em event.  There were 418 entrants, a figure which surpassed the expectations of organizers who were hoping for 300 players to the first-ever WSOP-related event held in Northern Louisiana.  The two-day mid-week tournament generated a total prize pool of $120,288 in prize money.  The top 45 players were paid and received National Championship ranking points.

The season’s first champion is Jeff Overton, from Shreveport.  He is a 44-year-old petroleum engineer.  Overton is originally from Hackleburg, AL which was nearly destroyed six months ago by a tornado.  He enjoyed his first major tournament victory after playing poker for several years.  This was his third time to play in a WSOP Circuit event.

“I am thrilled to win this,” Overton said afterward as he was being congratulated by his supporters.  “This ring means a lot to me.  It’s what I was playing for.”

“I guess I will always be the first winner here in Bossier City,” he added.

Overton collected a nice score amounting to $26,460 in prize money.  He defeated a tough foe heads up named Nicholas Gorman.  The final duel of the tournament lasted 90 minutes.

A full list of all players who cashed in EVENT #1 can be seen here.

The tournament was played over two consecutive days.  After most of the starting field was eliminated on Day One, 29 survivors from the starting field of 418 returned for Day Two action.  Final table play began on late Friday afternoon.  The nine finalists and their starting chip counts were as follows:

Seat 1:  Bryan Chaler (Shreveport, LA) – 964,000 in chips          
Seat 2:  Christopher Din (Houston, TX) – 148,000 in chips
Seat 3:  Jeff Overton (Shreveport, LA) – 590,000 in chips 
Seat 4:  Nicholas Gorman (South Lake Tahoe, CA) – 231,000 in chips 
Seat 5:  Bobby Newman (Bossier City, LA) – 558,000 in chips 
Seat 6:  Jason Schwartz (Bozeman, MT) – 241,000 in chips 
Seat 7:  Homer Salinas (La Joya, TX) – 248,000 in chips 
Seat 8:  Hiep Pham (Bossier City, LA) – 327,000 in chips 
Seat 9:  Gennady Kalim (Houston, TX) – 377,000 in chips 
Seat 10:  Brian Schneid (Saginaw, TX) – 423,000 in chips  


Final table play began at 7 pm and ended at 12:30 am – making the total duration about 5.5 hours.  The official order of finish was as follows:

Tenth Place:  The first player eliminated was Jason Schwartz, from Bozeman, MT.  He is a 42-year-old investor.  He previously made a final table appearance at a WSOP Circuit event held at Harrah’s Rincon.

Ninth Place:  The ninth place finisher was Hiep Pham, from Bossier City, LA.

Eighth Place:  Bobby Newman took eighth place.  He is a 36-year-old student from Bossier City.  This was Newman’s first entry in a WSOP Circuit tournament. 

Seventh Place:  Seventh place went to Gennady Kalin, a 46-year-old petroleum engineer from Houston, TX.  He is originally from the Ukraine.  This marked Kalin’s first time to play in a WSOP Circuit tournament.

Sixth Place:  Homero Salinas finished in sixth place.  He is a 24-year-old student from La Joya, TX.

Fifth Place:  Christopher Din took fifth place.  He is a 23-year-old poker player from Houston who is playing on the WSOP Circuit for the first time.  Din made a nice jump up the money ladder, since he began the final in tenth place when play was at ten-handed.  He earned $6,690 in prize money.

Fourth Place:  Brian Scheid finished in fourth place.  He is a 37-year-old banker from Saginaw, TX.  Scheid, a native of New York City, added the handsome sum of $8,872 to his bank account.

Third Place:  Bryan Chaler arrived at the final table with a big chip.  But he took a few hits midway through the finale and ended up busting out in third place.  Chaler, a 28-year-old local player from Shreveport, collected $11,949 for two days of poker playing.

Second Place:  Nicholas Gorman finished as runner up.  The poker pro from South Lake Tahoe, CA has a shot to win.  But he ran card dead late in the tournament and had to settle for second place, which paid a very respectable $16,353.  Gorman is a former math and social studies teacher who now plays poker full-time.

The final duel of the tournament began with Gorman enjoying a slim chip lead over Jeff Overton – with 2,100,000 in chips to about 1,900,000.  Heads-up play lasted 90 minutes, during which Overton gradually seized control.  The final hand was dealt when Overton enjoyed a substantial chip lead.  Here’s how the last hand played out:

Gorman – As 9c
Overton – Ad Ks
Flop – Qh Jh 5s
Turn – Td
River – 2c

Gorman was in big trouble with a dominated hand – A-9 versus A-K.  Things got worse on the flop when Overton picked up a straight draw to go along with his better hand.  The ten on the turn sealed the victory for Overton, giving him a straight.  Gorman finished as runner up and Overton was declared the winner.

First Place:  Jeff Overton became the first WSOP Circuit champion of the new season.  He earned his first major tournament victory and first WSOP Circuit gold ring with an impressive win at Horseshoe Bossier City.  First place paid $26,460.

With his victory, Overton rocketed into the early chip lead on every WSOP Circuit Leaderboard.  He is the point-leader here at the Horseshoe Bossier City series.  Overton is also the national leader – at least for a day. 
 
Jeff Overton's profile page can be viewed here.

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The player who accumulates the most overall points in the twelve 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.

There are eleven more gold ring events remaining in what is being billed as a “12 rings in 12 days” poker series.  The WSOP Circuit at Horseshoe Bossier City continues through September 19th.  This year’s schedule includes not only 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 Horseshoe Poker Room.

For further information, please see the Horseshoe Bossier City schedule.