Photo Caption: Ashly Butler has recorded first and second-place finishes at IP Biloxi totaling 87.5 points toward the Casino Champion's race and putting him well ahead of second place Cory Wood (67.5). With just three events remaining, Butler's competition will have to step up its game if they hope to catch the 32-year-old poker professional.
Photo Credit: Image Masters Poker 
Biloxi, MS (August 17, 2012)Ashly Butler leads the Casino Champion's race at IP Casino Resort and Spa through nine events. Butler has recorded second and third-place finishes and amassed 87.5 points toward the season-ending $1 Million WSOP National Championship to be held in New Orleans May 21-23, 2013.

The title of Casino Champion goes to the individual who earns the most points throughout the 12 scheduled ring events at each WSOP Circuit stop. That player is awarded automatic entry into the $1 million freeroll. An additional seat will be awarded to the Main Event champion at each stop. 

IP Biloxi's Main Event, the first of the 2012-13 WSOP Circuit season, begins Saturday. 

The first of two starting flights in the $1,675 re-entry championship tournament (officially recognized as Event #11) begins at 12 p.m. local time and will play 12, 40-minute levels on Day 1. That flight will overlap the 5 p.m. flight which will also play 12 levels. Both starting fields will combine on Sunday at 12 p.m. for Day 2. Registration will remain open until the start of level 13.

The third and final day of play will begin Monday at 12 p.m. and cards will be in the air until the season's first Main Event champion is crowned. 
Last year's Main Event winner was Jerry Monroe. Monroe outlasted 337 entrants and recorded his second-consecutive final table appearance at the IP Biloxi Main Event to take home the lion's share of the $490,335 prize pool.
Monroe, 44, has not yet enjoyed the success in 2012-13 that he did in past years. He has yet to record a cash in the first few events at IP Biloxi, but is sure to come into the Main Event focused and hungry.
WSOP Circuit events at IP Biloxi have been running since August 9. Updates on Events #1-3 and #4-6 are available on 

Event #7, which concluded earlier this week, was the first tournament of the 2012-13 WSOP Circuit to feature a six-handed format. These tournaments are commonplace on the Circuit tour, and players can expect to see at least one at a majority of this season's stops. 

The $365 buy-in event at IP Biloxi attracted 139 players and awarded $11,675 to Ronnie Givens for first. Givens is a 41-year-old construction contractor from Monteagle, TN. The win marked his first-ever WSOP cash.

Event #8, a $365 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em tournament also concluded this week. That event was won by Jonathan Taylor of Phil Campbell, AL, though the headline was Butler's run at becoming the 2012-13 WSOP Circuit's first two-time champion.

Butler made it by 146 of the 147 players he had to beat in Event #8, but was unable to best Taylor heads-up. Butler finished second, one spot shy of becoming the season's first two-time champion. The second place finish awarded Butler 37.5 points toward the Casino Champion's race bringing his total points to 87.5 and moving him well ahead of second place Cory Wood (67.5).
The most recent WSOP Circuit champion won Event #9, the season's first $1,125 buy-in tournament. As expected, the event drew some of the best and brightest the WSOP Circuit has to offer. Former November Niner John Dolan, four-time WSOP Circuit champion Kurt Jewell, three-time WSOP Circuit champion Dwyte Pilgrim and Allen Kessler decorated the field. When the dust settled, Ben Mintz came out victorious.
Mintz is a successful high stakes poker player and prior to his Event #9 win his most notable WSOP in-the-money finish came in the 2011 Main Event when he placed 75th.
“It feels really good to get closure and win one,” Mintz said after the victory. “With the World Series of Poker just ending I feel like this is the beginning of the new poker year. I hope to build on this win and I feel like this is one where the momentum train can get rolling.”
WSOP Circuit events at IP Biloxi continue through August 20th. All official results and updates can be found on