Stephen Hesse Wins First WSOP Circuit Gold Ring

23-Year-Old Poker Player Defeats Becky Makar in All-Night Marathon Match

WSOP Circuit Continues at Horseshoe Bossier City – 616 Entrants Show Up for Event #2

Shreveport Area Hosting First-Ever WSOP Circuit Events through September 19th

Bossier City, LA – On a day when most of the nation paused to remember the horrifying events of September 11th, the World Series of Poker Circuit at Horseshoe Bossier City took a moment to pay tribute to former and current patriots who serve a thankful nation. 

During one of Sunday’s numerous events, the action was paused momentarily.  Active duty military and former veterans were asked to stand and be recognized.  The large room filled with spectators obliged with a rousing round of applause.

The second tournament of the new season was a $345 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em event.  Attendance was expected to be heavy.  The turnout matched what was anticipated.  There were 616 entrants, a substantial increase from the 418 who entered the first event.  The three-day weekend tournament, which stretched into a fourth day, generated a total prize pool of $177,906 in prize money.  The top 63 players were paid.  All players that cashed received WSOP Circuit National Championship ranking points.

The season’s latest new poker champion is Stephen Hesse, from Nassau Bay, TX.  He earned every penny of his win, putting in nearly three full days of poker playing.  The final hand was dealt at 6:10 just as the sun was rising over the Red River.

Hesse defeated a tough foe named Becky Makar, who resides in both Dallas and Las Vegas.  She came close to becoming the second female WSOP Circuit gold ring winner in two days, following Felicia Johnico’s victory the night before.  Makar came close to victory, but Hesse played a masterful game and walked away with the top prize in what was the most exhausting final match of the new Circuit season.

Hesse collected $37,351 in prize money, which was his best live career payout ever.  He enjoyed some success in online tournaments in the past.  But Hessse, like many poker players, is now concentrating more on live play.

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

The tournament was played over four consecutive days.  After most of the starting field was eliminated during the multiple Day Ones (played on a Friday and Saturday) only 107 survivors from the starting field of 616 returned for Day Two action. 

The final table was not reached until past midnight of Day Three.  Scott Standridge arrived in the finale with a sizable chip advantage.  In fact, from the start, it seemed to be a two-player race with Standridge and Todd Elwood holding more than half of the total chips in play.  But Hesse had his own ideas about what would come.

The ten finalists and their starting chip counts were as follows:

Seat 1:  Stephen Hesse (Nassau Bay, TX) – 491,000 in chips
Seat 2:  Becky Makar (Las Vegas, NV) – 530,000 in chips
Seat 3:  Joe Bowen (Union Grove, TX) – 320,000 in chips
Seat 4:  Scott Standridge (Fort Smith, TX) – 1,990,000 in chips
Seat 5:  Cody Alan Cunningham (Russellville, AR) – 343,000 in chips
Seat 6:  Todd Elwood (Keller, TX) – 1,025,000 in chips
Seat 7:  James Namken (Houston, TX) – 311,000 in chips
Seat 8:  Oran Haynes (Shreveport, LA) – 382,000 in chips
Seat 9:  Zack Weddle (Sachse, TX) – 239,000 in chips
Seat 10:  Russell Ivy (Carrizo Springs, TX) – 459,000 in chips 

Final table play began at 1:15 am, much later than anticipated due to the large turnout.  The tournament ended at 6:10 am – making the total duration about 5 hours.  The official order of finish was as follows:

Tenth Place:  Joe Bowen was the first player to be eliminated.  He is a 64-year-old self-employed man from Union Grove, TX.

Ninth Place:  James Nanken finished in ninth place.  He is a 49-year-old real estate broker from Houston, TX.

Eighth Place:  Zack Weddle finished in eighth place.  He is a 32-year-old engraver and part-time poker dealer from Sachse, TX.  

Seventh Place:  Seventh place went to Cody Alan Cunningham, from Russellville, AR.  He is a 25-year-old student and poker player.  Cunningham previously cashed in a WSOP gold bracelet event.  He also has many accomplishments as an online poker player.

Sixth Place:  Todd Elwood, from Keller, TX, ended up in sixth place.  He has been playing on the WSOP Circuit over the past four seasons.  Elwood’s elimination in the middle of the pack was something of a surprise, since he was one of only two players with more than $1 million in chips when the final table began.

Fifth Place:  Oran Haynes took fifth place.  He is a business owner from Shreveport, LA.  He has played in a few local poker tournaments.  But this was Haynes first time to cash on the WSOP Circuit.

Fourth Place:  Russell Ivy finished in fourth place.  He is retired and lives in Carrizo Springs, TX.  Fourth place paid $12,539.

Third Place:  Accomplished poker tournament veteran Scott Standridge finished in third place.  The part-time player from Fort Smith, AR has four major tournament wins and 25 major cashes.  However, he came up short in this event.  Neverthe less, Standridge could take great pride in outlast 613 players and winning $16,898 in prize money.

Second Place:  Rebecca (Becky) Makar, from Las Vegas, NV finished as runner up.  She collected a nice consolation prize amounting to $23,108.

First Place:  Stephen Hesse became the second WSOP Circuit champion of the new season.  He earned his first major live tournament victory and first WSOP Circuit gold ring with an impressive win at Horseshoe Bossier City.  First place paid $37,351.

With his victory, Hesse rocketed into the top five in the points race for the WSOP Circuit National Championship.  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 eight 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.  See schedule here.

For further information, please stay tuned in to WSOP.COM.