Biloxi, MS (August 12, 2012)We're four days into the WSOP Circuit's newest season and have seen three first-time champions take home gold.

Things started off Friday evening at IP Casino Resort and Spa when Blake Barousse won the opening event of the 2012-13 WSOP Circuit presented by Southern Comfort 100 Proof.  Baussman outlasted 202 entrants to win the first gold ring of 2012-13.

"It feels pretty good. It has been a while since I've won a tournament," Barousse said. "I haven't won one in about a year and I've played a lot of them -- especially WSOP Circuit events. Last year I think I played 35 or 40 events and cashed in maybe two or three of them."

While Barousse paid his dues, some players, like Event #2 champion Elisa Burkett, were much more fortunate to break through early in their tournament poker careers.  In only her second live tournament and her first WSOP appearance, Burkett bested 103 players in the $580 No-Limit Hold'em tournament that took place Friday in Biloxi, MS.

Even more impressive, it took her just over ten hours from start to finish to send the rest of the field packing -- that's the fastest ring event in the WSOP Circuit's history. In fact, the event played out so fast, it actually finished before the day's restart that brought back 11 players, technically making Burkett the first champion of 2012-13.

Burkett pocketed the lion's share of the $51,500 prizepool and her first-ever WSOP gold ring, but the rest of the finishers did not go home empty handed. Twelve spots finished in the money. 

"The ring lasts forever and money doesn't," Burkett said. "I have something to look at and know I made an accomplishment. This feels awesome. I'm very, very excited." 

The WSOP Circuit's third ring of the weekend went to Travis Johnston of Lafayette, LA. He worked his way through a manageable field of 78 entrants and outlasted the likes of Tim Burt and Justin Truesdell at the final table of the $365 Pot-Limit Omaha tournament.  The Louisiana dealer might arguably have the game in his blood, as both his mother and grandmother also worked in the poker industry.

Event #4 got underway on Saturday and generated the biggest numbers of the series so far.  In all, 461 entrants put up the $365 buy-in for their shot at a piece of the $138,300 prizepool.  The event is the second largest Circuit event ever held at IP Biloxi, trailing last year's record-setting field of 477 by just 16 players.

After Day 1, just 73 remained. The field is back in action on Sunday to play down to a winner.  One player who began Day 2 near the top of the counts is none other than Barousse, who finished Day 1 second in chips.  Barousse is currently in a three-way tie in the Casino Champions race with the two other ring winners, but an in-the-money showing today would separate him from the pack.

Two new champions will be awarded gold rings Sunday in Biloxi, MS. The first will go to the victor of the re-entry tournament and the second will go to the individual who win the $365 No-Limit Hold'em Turbo tournament that begins at 2 p.m. Registration for the turbo tournament will be open through the first break.
WSOP Circuit events at IP Biloxi will run through August 20. The Main Event will take place August 18. Stay locked into WSOP.com for all official results.