Kyle Cartwright Now Tied with Nguyen and Masek – One Gold Ring Win Behind All-Time Leader Mark “Pegasus” Smith

St. Louis, MO (April 21, 2012) – Kyle Cartwright inched one step closer to making poker history today with his victory at the latest World Series of Poker Circuit event, played at Harrah’s St. Louis.

Cartwright won his fourth career gold ring title, a remarkable feat given that he has only been playing tournament poker for about two years.  Cartwright returned triumphantly to the site of his third gold ring win, which took place here at Harrah’s St. Louis in the Main Event.  In fact, he now has two wins in St. Louis to match his parlay of victories last year at Harrah’s Tunica (Mississippi). 

The victor was awarded $53,354 in prize money to go along with this burgeoning jewelry collection.

Cartwright is a 24-year-old professional poker player from Bartlett, TN.  He burst upon the scene during last year’s WSOP Circuit at Tunica, winning two events at the very first stop he played.  Two months later, Cartwright traveled to Harrah’s St. Louis where he won the 2011 Main Event, plus a ticket into the season-ending National Championship.  Incredibly – as of April 2011 – Cartwright had won three of the four WSOP Circuit events in which he cashed.

Cartwright’s success has continued well into this season.  This was his seventh time to finish in the money and fourth final table appearance in 2012.  His impressive record has attracted the notice of many observers, including sponsors.  Cartwright is currently a sponsored tournament player, with

With his victory, Cartwright joined two other accomplished players – Alexandru Masek and Men “the Master” Nguyen – who each have four career gold ring victories.  Senior journeyman Mark “Pegasus” Smith currently leads all other players with five wins.  Indeed, the future certainly favors players like Cartwright and Masek, who are both in their mid-20s.  The younger guns may very well obliterate all WSOP Circuit records should they remain loyal to the tournament trail.

The runner up was poker pro A.P. Phahurat, from Tulsa, OK.  This was his third cash at this series, after taking 10th and 11th in the two previous showings.

Also of note was the fifth-place finish in this event by Amanda Musumeci, from Philadelphia.  This marked her fourth time in-the-money at St. Louis, more than any other player.


The tenth of a dozen gold ring tournaments began on Friday afternoon with Event #10 – a $1,090 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em competition.  The tournament attracted 229 entries.  The total prize pool came to $222,130.  The top 24 players were paid.  All players who cashed received WSOP Circuit National Championship ranking points.

A full list of all players who cashed in Event #10 can be seen here.

The tournament was played over two consecutive days.  Only 22 survivors -- took seats on the second day of action, played on Saturday.  It only took about two hours to determine the final table.  The final ten players were as follows.

Seat 1 – Sean Pramuk with 171,000 in chips
Seat 2 – Amanda Musumeci with 440,000 in chips
Seat 3 – Kyle Cartwright with 779,000 in chips
Seat 4 – Mike Mustafa with 522,000 in chips
Seat 5 – Shane Smith with 360,000 in chips
Seat 6 – Fred Vogt with 259,000 in chips
Seat 7 – Dan Healey with 106,000 in chips
Seat 8 – Cord Garcia with 300,000 in chips
Seat 9 – A.P. Phahurat with 319,000 in chips
Seat 10 – Ken Reeves with 145,000 in chips

The final table featured no former WSOP Circuit gold ring winners.  Hence, a first-time champion was guaranteed.  A few of the players were experienced professionals who had enjoyed previous tournament success.  But virtually all of the nine finalists were searching for their first live major tournament win.

The final playing session began at 3 pm local time.  Play finished at 7 pm making the total duration about four hours.  The official order of finish was as follows: 

10th Place – Dan Healey was the first player to bust out, exiting in tenth place.  He is a 25-year-old consultant for IBM who resides in Port Huron, MI.  Healey is a graduate of Western Michigan University, with a degree in computer information systems.  This was his first WSOP Circuit tournament.

9th Place – Ken Reeves took ninth place.  He is a 70-year-old jeweler from Hillsboro, MO.  He cashed four times previously at the WSOP in Las Vegas.

8th Place – Lance Garcia ended up in eighth place.  He is a 22-year-old poker pro from Houston.  This is Garcia’s third cash this season, and first final table appearance.

7th Place – Shane Smith was the seventh-place finisher.  He is a 33-year-old construction professional from Hiram, GA.  Smith has now cashed four times on the WSOP Circuit.  This was his highest finish, to date. 
6th Place – Sean Pramuk came in sixth place.  He is a 27-year-old poker pro from West Chester, OH.  This was his fifth time to cash on the WSOP Circuit.  Pramuk came in second in the big event played earlier this season at Horseshoe Southern Indiana. 
5th Place – Amanda Musumeci was the fifth-place finisher.  She is a 27-year-old poker pro from Philadelphia, PA.  This was his fourth cash at Harrah’s St. Louis and ninth overall cash this season.  She has also made four final table appearances.  Musumeci burst onto the poker scene at last year’s WSOP where she finished 62nd in the Main Event Championship.
4th Place – Mike (Musa) Mustafa ended up in fourth place.  He is a 41-year old dealer and poker player from Orland Park, IL.  Mustafa has previously cashed two times in the WSOP Main Event Championship.  His deep run in this event paid $18,475.

3rd Place – Fred Vogt took third place.  He is a part-time poker player from Cape Girardeau, MO.  Vogt collected $24,981 in prize money.

2nd Place – A.P. Phahurat was the runner up.  He is a 22-year-old poker pro from Tulsa, OK.  Phahurat, who was born in Thailand, has one of the most impressive tournament records of any non-winner active on today’s Circuit – with nine cashes and four final table appearances this season.  Second place paid $34,324 in prize money. 

1st Place – Kyle Cartwright became the ninth WSOP Circuit champion crowned this year at Harrah’s St. Louis.  He won $53,354.  Cartwright was also presented with his fourth gold ring.  He is an easy qualifier for the season ending National Championship, to be played in July.

This WSOP Circuit’s “Best All-Around Player” race is winding down.  The current leader remains Nik Stone, who finished 1st and 6th in two events played so far (72.5 points).  The next ranked player has 62.5 points. 

The player who accumulates the most overall points in Harrah’s St. Louis’ twelve combined gold ring tournaments receives a pre-paid entry into the $1 million 2011-2012 WSOP Circuit National Championship.  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 Main Event championship (to be held April 21-23).

Here is the list of gold ring winners at Harrah’s St. Louis, so far:

Event #1 – Shain Matthews (Marysville, CA) won $29,306 in $355 NLHE
Event #2 – Jerry Ard (Monticello, MS) won $32,147 in $565 NLHE
Event #3 – Kevin Balsman (St. Louis, MO) won $11,844 in $355 PLO
Event #4 – Roy Riley (Savoy, IL) won $57,139 in $355 NLHE (Re-Entry)
Event #5 – William Byrnes (St. Charles, MO) won $19,025 in $355 Turbo NLHE
Event #6 – Adam Laskey (Fargo, ND) won $23,449 in $355 NLHE
Event #7 – Nik Stone (Auburndale, WI) won $21,770 in $355 6-HANDED NLHE
Event #8 – Stephen Friedel (Vandalia, IL) won $33,664 in $565 NLHE
Event #9 – Eddie Smurzynski (Midlothian, IL) won $27,212 in $355 NLHE
Event #10 – Kyle Cartwright (Tulsa, OK) won $53,354 in $1,090 NLHE

With the first ten tournaments now wrapped up, there are only two more gold ring events remaining in what is being billed as a “12 rings in 12 days” poker series.  The WSOP Circuit at Harrah’s St. Louis continues through April 23rd.  This year’s schedule includes not only all the gold ring events, but multiple second-chance tournaments, single table and mega satellites, plus cash games going around the clock inside the action-packed poker room



Harrah’s St. Louis is a casino-resort located in Maryland Heights, MO -- about a 35-minute drive from Downtown St. Louis.  The international airport is even closer, just 15-minutes by car or shuttle.  In fact, the shuttle bus is free for hotel guests.  For poker players residing throughout the Midwest, the casino can be reached easily, which is located right off Interstate-70.

Harrah’s St. Louis is the 15th (of 17) WSOP Circuit host properties.  The 2011-2012 season is rapidly winding down, with only three more stops remaining on the schedule.  Harrah’s St. Louis is the Midwest’s final destination this season.  The other two remaining WSOP Circuit stops are at Harrah’s Chester (Philadelphia) – April 26 to May 7 and Harrah’s New Orleans – May 10 to May 21.

This marks the third straight season that the WSOP Circuit has visited Harrah’s St. Louis.  Previous tournaments played here drew large turnouts and generated big prize pools.  This year’s series appears to be no different based on heavy registration for the first few events.

Harrah’s St. Louis first opened in 1997 and has been one of gaming’s flagship properties in the Midwest ever since.  The hotel offers 455 deluxe rooms and 47 luxury suites.  Special hotel rates for players are available.  The property also has several fine restaurants at all price levels.  See for more information.

Harrah’s St. Louis’ “12 Rings in 12 Days” series is taking place April 12-23.  All the poker action takes place right on the main casino floor.  The final table is stationed right in the center of the floor, a highly-anticipated destination for every poker player. 

There's a lot at stake for poker players who will make their way to Harrah’s St. Louis over the next two weeks.  Not only are a dozen gold rings up for grabs, lots of prize money will also be awarded to those who cash.  All players who finish in the money will also earn ranking points, which are used to determine finalists for the season-ending WSOP Circuit National Championship.

Since the season began in September, all tournament players have been in the running for 100 guaranteed pre-paid seats in the $1 million WSOP Circuit National Championship finale – which will be a WSOP gold bracelet event to be played in Las Vegas, around the time of the World Series of Poker Main Event.