TUNICA, MS. – All the buzz was about Superbowl XLVI this past weekend, however, poker players looking for the “Big Game” could find it right here at the WSOP Circuit Events at Harrah’s Tunica.

Event #2, ($345 buy-in, No-Limit Hold’em) kicked off promptly at noon Saturday with a starting field of 701 players, each with their eye on a WSOP Circuit Gold Ring and $41,544 in first place prize money. With an additional 170 players returning later that afternoon from a starting field of 1,128 in Event #1, not a single seat was open in the massive Harrah’s Tunica Event Center.

Many hours after the dramatic conclusion of this year’s NFL Championship saw Eli Manning and his G-Men each claim their stake on a Super Bowl ring, Paul Sokoloff, a 42-year-old self-employed amateur player from Toronto, ON was adorned with a ring of his own, a WSOP Circuit gold ring.  

It was a grueling day two for Sokoloff, who endured over 16 hours of play en route to victory, including eight hours at the final table, which lasted through daybreak Monday morning.

Event #2 generated a $203,991 prize pool, from which 72 players would take home their share.

About fifty players returned for day two just a few hours before kickoff Sunday to play down to a winner. By around 10 PM, the final nine players were determined.

 

 Name

Hometown

Seat

Chip Count

Terry Griffith

Magnolia, AR

1

531,000

Andrew Bhcaric

Nashville, TN

2

560,000

Gary Lambert

Quincy, IL

3

315,000

Jerry Ard

Monticello, MS

4

931,000

Brad Albrinck

Cincinnati, OH

5

1,550,000

Jayaram Kottimugalur

Columbus, IN

6

430,000

Paul “Bicycle” Sokoloff

Toronto, ON

7

611,000

Jeff Overton

Hamilton, AL

8

1,554,000

Randy RItterbush

Forsyth, MO

9

565,000

9th Place

Not long after the start of final table play just after 10:00 pm, Randy Ritterbush saw his chip stack whittled down to the felt before being eliminated in ninth place. Ninth place paid $3,887.

8th Place

Jayaram Kottimugalur, a 24-year-old Engineer from Columbus, IN, was the eighth place finisher in this event. His third WSOP Circuit final table earned him $4,896.

7th Place

Another engineer, 26-year-old Brad Albrinck of Cincinnati, OH was eliminated in seventh place. Albrinck, who plays recreationally and has final tabled a number of poker tournaments throughout the Midwest, took home $6,245 for his efforts.

6th Place

Jeff Overton, a 44-year-old poker player who came away with a ring win back in September at Horseshoe Bossier City, was hoping to duplicate that feat here in Event #2 at Harrah’s Tunica, but fell short of his goal after being eliminated in sixth place. He pocketed $8,071.

5th Place

Andrew Bucaric was determined to take down Event #2, but busted out a few spots short of his goal. Visibly disappointed after being eliminated, he headed off to the payout table to collect $10,568.

4th Place

Dr. Gary Lambert is one of the more colorful personalities on the WSOP Circuit tour. The 48-year-old chiropractor and married father of 6 “with one on the way!” kept the table jovial through the early morning hours. He even donated his services to Terry Griffith, relieving Griffith of a strained neck after which he proclaimed. “I’m not a chiropractor, but I did stay a Holiday Inn Express last night!”

After his fourth place elimination, Sokoloff even stood up to thank him for the “positive energy that he brought to the final table.” Fourth place paid $14,021.

3th Place

Jerry Ard’s elimination in 3rd place ($18,854) set the stage for a four-hour heads up duel between Griffith and Sokoloff. With seven million chips in play distributed about evenly between the two, it soon became clear that neither player was willing to leave it to the cards to decide a winner.

Play between the two was tight and deliberate, with much pre-flop raising and folding and almost no hands ever going to showdown. At one point, Sokoloff was finally able to build a substantial lead over his final opponent, however Griffith found a double up to even the score. An hour or so later, it was Sokoloff who against the rail but he was able to double up after flopping a pair of aces all-in vs. Griffith’s pocket queens.

With new life, Sokoloff never looked back. Around 7:30 am, with his opponent on life support, Sokoloff got him all-in with his own pair of queens vs. Griffith’s A-6. This time, no ace fell on the board and Griffith was declared the runner-up

Griffith hails from Magnolia, AR. He collected $25,705 for second place.

For his victory, Sokoloff was awarded $41,544 and the coveted WSOP Circuit gold ring. He joins Chip Ervin and Andrew Mcilvain atop the Harrah’s Tunica Casino Championship leaderboard.

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 10 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

662-357-6924

pcollins1@caesars.com

Alan Fowler

WSOP/Caesars Interactive Entertainment

702.498.7532

afowler@caesars.com

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 www.wsop.com.

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 www.caesars.com.