Are You Ready for Some – Monday Night Poker?

David Nicholson Wins Monday Night Poker Showdown

Biloxi Poker Pro Tops Field of 475 Players

Horseshoe Bossier City Crowns First Main Event Champion of New Season

Chris Gamboa Edges Out Felicia Johnico in Best All-Around Player Race

2011 WSOP Circuit Attendance Up By More Than 100 Players per Event Over 2010



Bossier City, LA (September 20, 2011) – The first World Series of Poker Circuit Main Event champion of the 2011-2012 season is David Nicholson, from Biloxi, Mississippi.

Nicholson won the $1,600 buy-in Main Event Championship, held at the Horseshoe Casino and Hotel, in Bossier City.  He collected $148,590 in prize money, which was his biggest career poker payout ever.  The professional poker player defeated a sizable tournament field totaling 475 players.  Nicholson enjoyed a late surge at the final table and defeated another tough pro -- David Olson, from Addison, TX in heads-up play, who ended up finishing second.

To commemorate his impressive victory, following his victory Nicholson was presented with the coveted gold ring, which is the ultimate token of achievement for winning a WSOP Circuit tournament.  This year, all official gold ring events award the token jewelry keepsake to winners.

Nicholson also won an automatic seat into the WSOP Circuit National Championship, to be played at season’s end, a special gold bracelet tournament to be played in Las Vegas.

Nicholson, age 25, had been playing poker professionally for about three years.  This marked his eighth time to cash on the WSOP Circuit.  Nicholson plays in both cash games and tournaments.  He expects to play in more events the remainder of the season and looks forward to taking his seat in the National Championship.

“I’ve been out here grinding for a while,” Nicholson said afterward.  “This really feels good to win.  And to have my friends here with me really makes it special.”

Nicholson was cheered on by several supporters who watched the final table action, mostly fellow poker players he has befriended at the tables in recent years.

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The inaugural WSOP Circuit at Horseshoe Bossier City was enormously successful.  Average turnout for all events combined was about 300 players per event -- an impressive number given this is the very first year the Circuit has been held in northern Louisiana.  A total of 3,545 entries turned out for the “12 gold rings in 12 days” campaign.  The combined prize money awarded at this year’s Bossier City series was $1,703,525.

Attendance was up substantially versus last year’s opener.  Attendance increased by an average of more than 100 players per event from last year’s first WSOP Circuit stop when there were a combined 1,940 entries for the first ten gold ring tournaments in 2010.  Main Event attendance also skyrocketed this year, from 251 players last year at Council Bluffs to 475 in 2011 at Bossier City.

The Main Event Championship was a $1,500 (+100) buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament.  There were 475 entries for three-day competition.  The total prize pool came to $681,125.  The top 54 players were paid.  All players who cashed in the Main Event received WSOP Circuit National Championship ranking points.

A full list of all players who cashed in Event #11 can be seen here.

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The finale was played over three days – Saturday through Monday.  After more than half the starting field was eliminated during two starting sessions on Day One -- 237 survivors from the starting field of 475 returned for Day Two action.  Following another ten hours of play, Day Three resumed with 27 players.

An unusual occurrence for a poker tournament took place near the end of Day Two.  Play was suspended because of a severe storm in the area.  Since the tournament was played on the rooftop of the casino (inside a special room that overlooks the city), high winds and rain were a big concern.  So, tournament officials decided to stop play early and allow the players a chance to travel home or to their hotels in the area in case the storm proved to be dangerous.  As it turned out, the high winds and rain passed and did little to dampen the enthusiasm of the Circuit’s first championship in Bossier City.

When final table play finally began on Monday evening, Matt Newcombe arrived as the chip leader.  The ten finalists and their starting chip counts were as follows:

Seat 1:  Ai Duong (San Antonio, TX) – 397,000 in chips
Seat 2:  Russell Ivy (Carrizo Springs, TX) – 742,000 in chips
Seat 3:  Matt Newcombe (Ada, OK) – 2,000,000 in chips
Seat 4:  Clay Henry (Many, LA) – 380,000 in chips5
Seat 5:  Chris Gamboa (Houston, TX) – 652,000 in chips
Seat 6:  Rob Dreyfuss (Colleyville, TX) – 1,25,000 in chips
Seat 7:  David Olson (Addison, TX) – 1,222,000 in chips
Seat 8:  Kenny Milam (La Place, LA) – 1,310,000 in chips
Seat 9:  David Nicholson (Biloxi, MS) – 1,024,000 in chips
Seat 10:  Jeffrey Frye (Palestine, TX) – 741,000 in chips


Final table play began at 7:30 pm and ended at 2 am – making the total duration about 6.5 hours.  The official order of finish was as follows:

Tenth Place:  The first player eliminated was longtime tournament veteran Kenny Milam, from La Place, LA.  Milam has five WSOP Circuit cashes and three final table appearances.  Milam played great poker considering he was one of the shortest stacks during most of the middle stages of the tournament.  He remained patient and then landed at the final table in second place after going on a bit of a rush.  Unfortunately, he flopped a set on his final hand and lost.  Milam, a Vietnam vet who owns a trucking company, drove away with $11,120 in prize money.

Ninth Place:  The ninth-place finisher was Jeffrey Frye, from Palestine, TX.  He is an oil field service consultant.  Frye, who has three WSOP cashes including an in-the-money finish in the 2008 Main Event, collected $13,788 in what was his first time to cash on the Circuit.

Eighth Place:  Rob Dreyfuss ended up in eighth place.  He was in good position to double up on what turned out to be his final hand.  But his opponent rivered a straight, leaving Dreyfuss with a $17,327 payout.  Dreyfuss, who was making this third WSOP Circuit cash, is a business owner from Colleyville, TX.

Seventh Place:  Seventh place went to Clay Henry, a contractor from Many, LA.  He was low on chips and lost his seat about 90 minutes into final table play.  Henry, making his third WSOP Circuit cash earned a nice payout totaling $22,081.

Sixth Place:  Players battled for two hours when play was six-handed.  The next player finally went out when Ai Duong missed a draw and made his exit.  Duong is a 31-year-old poker player from San Antonio, TX.  He earned $28,543 in prize money.

Fifth Place:  Russell Ivy took fifth place.  He is retired and lives Carrizo Springs, TX.  He collected $37,418 in prize money in what was his second WSOP Circuit cash.

Fourth Place:  Early chip leader Matt Newcombe finished in fourth place.  He struggled a bit late in the tournament and exited with $49,754.  Newcombe is a 31-year-old contractor from Ada, OK.  This was his first time to cash in a WSOP-related tournament.

Third Place:  Chris Gamboa took third place in what was his third cash at this year’s Bossier City series.  The 32-year-old poker pro from Houston, TX collected $67,115 in prize money.  With the 45 points he earned for finishing third -- added to his 40 points for the two earlier cashes -- Gamboa accumulated the most points in the 12 combined gold ring events.  Hence, he won the best all-around title and earned an automatic seat into the WSOP Circuit National Championship. 

Gamboa edged out Felicia Johnico (Hutto, TX) who posted two impressive finishes in Bossier City -- including first- and fourth place showings.  She finished with 77.5 points to Gamboa’s 85 points.

Second Place:  David Olson, from Addison, TX finished as runner up.  He is a 25-year-old poker pro who specializes in limit high stakes cash games.  He cashed in the WSOP Main Event twice – finishing 192nd in 2008 and 378th in 2009.  His consolation prize for this impressive showing amounted to $91,971 in prize money. 

The final duel of the tournament began with Nicholson holding the chip lead.  Heads-up play lasted 25 minutes, during which Nicholson gradually seized control and his advantage.  Here’s how the last hand played out:

Nicholson –    
Olson –    
Flop –      
Turn –  
River –  

Olson was in big trouble with a dominated hand – A-Q versus A-K.  Things got worse on the flop when a king flopped, leaving Olson as a huge underdog.  The turned card sealed the win for Nicholson.  Olson finished as runner up and Nicholson was declared the winner.

First Place:  David Nicholson became the first WSOP Circuit Main Event champion of the new season.  He earned his first major tournament victory and first gold ring with an impressive win at Horseshoe Bossier City.  First place paid $148,590.

With his victory, won and automatic seat into this season’s WSOP Circuit National Championship. 

The $1 million 2011-2012 WSOP Circuit National Championship will be held in Las Vegas, when the season concludes after all 16 Circuit stops have ended, which takes place next May. 

There next WSOP Circuit stop will be held at Horseshoe Southern Indiana.  The 12-tournament series runs September 29th through October 10th.  To see the complete schedule of events, please visit WSOP.COM.

Note:  Be sure and follow all WSOP news and updates on Twitter @wsop


Note:  Special thanks to all the players who attended WSOP Circuit opener in Bossier City and to:

Executive Staff, World Series of Poker Circuit – Horseshoe Bossier City
Casino Operations Manager – Richard Morris
Director of Events – John Meacham
Director of Communications – Shelli Briery
Tournament Director – Jimmy Sommerfeld
Assistant Tournament Director – Bill Bruce