Friendship makes prosperity more shining and lessens adversity by dividing and sharing it. - Cicero

TUNICA, MS. – As any poker player who knows would tell you, the tournament trail can be cold and unforgiving - and despite being surrounded by hundreds of people at any given time, it can also sometimes be lonely.

While many circuit grinders prefer traveling solo across the country in pursuit of the money and glory, there are others who see the benefits of traveling with trusted friends, such as a lent ear, shared lodging expenses and someone to share strategy with.

Many of these crews rise and fall with the results of the individual. When one member suffers bad misfortune, everyone feels it, however, when good comes to one of the team, the boost in morale and confidence is shared by all.

Such was the case after the conclusion of WSOP Circuit Event #3, $555 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em at Harrah’s Tunica, when Drew Mcilvain, a 23-year-old food and beverage manager from Temecula, CA beat out 229 opponents to claim 1st place prize, worth $27,552 and a WSOPC Gold Ring.

Soon after the final hand was dealt, fellow player Ryan Young, rushed to the final table to give his childhood buddy of 21 years a big embrace.

“We’ve been playing poker for a long time and for one of us to finally take one down is huge,” said Young. “Our other friend is at the final table in the other event (Event #2) so it gives you self-confidence to do well in the Main Event.”

Without the support of his good pals, Mcilvain believes that his night would have turned out much differently.

“Going into day two today, I truly thought that I wasn’t even going to cash,” said Mcilvain after the win. “I was down to 22 big blinds and felt that I was really short stacked, but my buddies convinced me that I wasn’t.”

Mcilvain was one of 50 survivors to make day two, and after four hours of play, went from 22 big blinds to second in chips heading into the final table.  Joining him there were the familiar faces of Patty Till and Michael “Car Wash” Schneider.




Chip Count

Patty Till

Brownsburg, IN



Michael Kaczmarek

Concord, NC



Michael “Carwash” Schneider

Covington, GA



Caufman Talley

Lafayette, LA



Rick Holliday

Lawrenceville, GA



Justice Litle

Reno, NV



Houston White

Nashville, TN



Chris Sebeny

Bloomington, IL



Drew Mcilvain

Temecula, CA



9th Place

Michael Kacznerick was the first to exit the final table stage after his pocket 8’s failed to hold up all-in vs. Justice Litle’s A-J. Kacznerick is a 41-year-old MD specializing in emergency medicine from Concord, NC. 9th paid $2,549.

8th Place

With    in the hole, Houston White made the call for his tournament life after a raise by Mcilvain, who held pocket kings. The kings held through the river, eliminating White in 8th. White is a 26-year-old poker pro from Nashville, TN and one-time Sunday Million winner. He took home $3,196.

7th Place Michael “Car Wash” Schneider, a tournament veteran with over $600,000 in career earnings listed his poker ambition as “not finishing in 9th place” in this event. Schneider managed to accomplish his short-term goal with a seventh place showing, worth $8,071.

6th Place

Rick Holiday, a 46-year-old salesman from Lawrenceville, GA was eliminated a short while later in 6th place and pocketed $5,521 for sixth.

5th Place

Chris Sebeny was eliminated in fifth place after running pocket fours in an all-in into Till’s pocket nines. Sebeny is a 34-year-old construction worker from Bloomington, IL. His first-ever WSOP Circuit cash was worth $6,884.

4th Place

With 15 major tournament final tables, but no 1st place finishes under her belt, the saying, ”Always the bridesmaid, never the bride” can easily be applied to saleswoman and tournament semi-pro Patty Till. Since making her first cash in 2006, she has performed consistently well on the tournament trail, but has been unable to seal a win. Her best poker accomplishment is a 3rd place finish in the 2008 WSOP Ladies Event. Till’s 4th place finish in Circuit Event #3 at Harrah’s Tunica earned her $9,165.

The elimination of Caufman Talley in 3rd place ($12,393) set the stage for heads up between Mcilvain and Litle just before midnight. Mcilvain had a 2-1 lead over his opponent which he continued to build until the final hand when Litle got his stack in the middle with    vs. Mcilvain’s   . The last flop of the tournament came down       to seal the victory for Mcilvain and a runner up finish for Litle. Litle is a 36-year-old money manager from Reno, NV. 2nd place paid $17,028.

In addition to $27,552 in first place prize money, Mcilvain picked up a coveted WSOP Circuit gold ring and joins Event #1 ring winner Chip Ervin at the top of Harrah’s Tunica Casino Championship leader board.

The Casino Champion is the player who earns the most points through the 12 events at Harrah’s Tunica. This player will earn an automatic seat to the $1 million WSOP Circuit National Championship to be held in late May. More information about the WSOPC National Championship can be found here. An explanation of the points system can be found here.

Still to come are 9 events. See the complete Harrah’s Tunica Circuit schedule and previous results here. The WSOP Circuit Events at Harrah’s Tunica runs through February 13th. You can find the complete 2010/2011 WSOP CIRCUIT SCHEDULE here.

Media Contacts:

Patrick Collins

Harrah’s Tunica


Alan Fowler

WSOP/Caesars Interactive Entertainment


About the WSOP

The World Series of Poker (WSOP) is the largest, richest and most prestigious gaming event in the world awarding millions of dollars in prize money and the prestigious gold bracelet, globally recognized as the sport's top prize. Featuring a comprehensive slate of tournaments in every major poker variation, the WSOP is poker's longest running tournament in the world, dating back to 1970. In 2010, the event attracted 72,966 entrants from 117 different countries to the Rio in Las Vegas and awarded over $187 million in prize money. In addition, the WSOP has formed groundbreaking alliances in broadcasting, digital media and corporate sponsorships, while successfully expanding the brand internationally with the advent in 2007 of the World Series of Poker Europe.  The WSOP Circuit Tour is entering its seventh season in 2010-11, and will feature 12 stops throughout the U.S., plus for the first ever, a stop in South Africa. For more information on the World Series of Poker, please visit

About Harrah’s Tunica

Harrah’s Tunica is located 20 minutes south of Memphis, Tennessee and was originally opened in 1996 as Grand Casino. On May, 23, 2008 Paula Deen cut the official grand opening ribbon at Harrah’s Tunica featuring the first of its kind Paula Deen Buffet and an interactive gaming floor that is the largest in the region. Spanning over 2,000 acres Harrah’s Tunica features the Links at Cottonwoods championship golf course designed by Hale Irwin, Willows Sporting Clays and Hunting Center, the Mid-South Convention Center offering over 65,000 square feet of indoor meeting space, three elegant hotels totaling 1356 hotel rooms, the 200-space Mid-South RV Resort, Bellissimo Spa and Salon, and a 2,400 seat event center that features headline entertainment

About Caesars Entertainment:

Caesars Entertainment Corporation is the world's largest casino entertainment company. Since its beginning in Reno, Nevada, more than 70 years ago, Caesars has grown through development of new resorts, expansions and acquisitions, and now operates casinos on four continents. The company's resorts operate primarily under the Harrah's®, Caesars® and Horseshoe® brand names. Caesars also owns the World Series of Poker® and the London Clubs International family of casinos. Caesars Entertainment is focused on building loyalty and value with its guests through a unique combination of great service, excellent products, unsurpassed distribution, operational excellence and technology leadership. Caesars is committed to environmental sustainability and energy conservation and recognizes the importance of being a responsible steward of the environment. For more information, please visit