Brian O'Donoghue Earns First WSOP Circuit Victory at West Palm Beach

New Yorker Dominates Final Table and Collects Gold Ring

WSOP Circuit Action at Palm Beach Kennel Club Continues through Feb. 28th

West Palm Beach, FL (February 25, 2012) – The World Series of Poker Circuit at the Palm Beach Kennel Club is entering the homestretch.

With eight gold ring tournaments now complete (of 12), two-thirds of the schedule has now been completed.  The final weekend is coming up, which promises to be an action packed conclusion to a record-breaking tournament series for South Florida.

The latest tournament champion is Brian O’Donoghue, from Bayside, NY.  He is a 27-year-old poker pro.

O’Donoghue collected $19,487 in prize money.  For his victory, O’Donoghue was also presented with the coveted gold ring, which is the ultimate token of achievement for winning a WSOP Circuit tournament.   


Officially listed as Event #8 -- the $345 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament attracted 279 entries – a nice field size considering this was played during the middle of the week.  The total prize pool came to $81,189.  The top 30 players were paid.  All players who cashed received WSOP Circuit National Championship ranking points.

A full list of all players that cashed in Event #8 can be seen here.

The first day’s action resulted in the elimination of nearly ninety percent of the starting players.  There were only 38 survivors who resumed action on Day Two.  After another few hours of play, the field was trimmed down to the final table.  The nine finalists and their starting chip counts were as follows:

SEAT 1:  Michael Carlson (Flowery Branch, GA) – 290,000 in chips  
SEAT 2:  Joseph Opie (Fair Haven, NJ) – 100,000 in chips
SEAT 3:  Brian O’Donoghue (Bayside, NY) – 550,000 in chips
SEAT 4:  Jonathan Marks (Weston, FL) – 445,000 in chips
SEAT 5:  Chris Tryba (Las Vegas, NV) – 204,000 in chips
SEAT 6:  James Biehl (Mancelona, FL) – 130,000 in chips
SEAT 7:  Chris Parsons (Mentor, OH) – 235,000 in chips
SEAT 8:  Ira Schwartz (Weston, FL) – 490,000 in chips
SEAT 9:  Rob Goldbaum (Armonk, NY) – 330,000 in chips

The final table was played simultaneous to the finale of another tournament, Event #7, which concluded a few hours earlier.  That tournament was won by James Henson, from Lake Jackson, TX.

The finalists were eliminated as follows:

9th Place – Rob Goldbaum, from Armonk, NY finished in ninth place.

8th Place – Joseph Opie, from Fair Haven, NJ finished in eighth place.

7th Place – Michael Carlson, an online equity analyst from Flowery Branch, GA finished in seventh place.

6th Place – Former WSOP Circuit gold ring winner Chris Tryba (Las Vegas, NV) went out in sixth place.  This marked his 23rd time to cash on the Circuit, which places him in the top-20.

5th Place – Chris Parsons cashed again here at West Palm Beach, finishing in fifth place.  He is a 25-year-old poker pro from Mentor, OH.

4th Place – James Biehl, a 54-year-old turkey farmer from Mancelona, FL finished in fourth place.

3rd Place – Ira Schwartz, from Weston, FL finished in third place.  He works in sales.  This marked his first time to cash in a WSOP-related event.  However, Schwartz did cash previously in an event at the U.S. Poker Championships in Atlantic City.

2nd Place – When heads-up play began, Brian O’Donoghue  enjoyed about a 3 to 2 chip advantage over Jonathan Marks.  The final duel lasted about an hour before the bigger stack finally overcame a stubborn effort by the lesser stack.  Marks, a CEO from Weston, FL ended up collecting $12,042 in prize money for what was his best WSOP-related finish, to date.

1st Place – First place went to Brian O’Donoghue, from Bayside, NY.  He earned $19,487 and won his first WSOP Circuit gold ring.

With his victory, O’Donoghue moves up near the top of the leaderboard in this WSOP Circuit stop’s “Best All-Around Player” standings.  The current leader is Charles Flett, who currently has two deep runs -- second and seventh place finishes – good for the highest point total.  Here are all the gold ring winners, so far:  

EVENT #1 – Anh Lu defeated 2,607 players in NLHE and won $183,750
EVENT #2 – Loni Harwood defeated 500 players in NLHE and won $30,994
EVENT #3 – Jason Reep defeated 247 players in HORSE and won $17,270
EVENT #4 – Adam Cook defeated 413 players in NLHE and won $26,142
EVENT #5 – Jake Schindler defeated 391 players in 6-HANDED NLHE and won $24,736
EVENT #6 – Joseph Casella defeated 353 players and won $23,315
EVENT #7 – James Henson defeated 290 players and won $33,432
EVENT #8 – Brian O’Donoghue defeated 279 players and won $19,487

The player who accumulates the most overall points in the PBKC’s 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 Jan. Feb. 25-27).

With the first eight tournaments wrapped up, there are still five more gold ring events remaining in what is being billed as a “12 rings in 12 days” poker series.  The WSOP Circuit at the Palm Beach Kennel Club continues through February 27th.  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



This marks the second consecutive season that the Palm Beach Kennel Club (PBKC) has hosted a WSOP Circuit stop.  Last year’s attendance and prize pool figures were so strong, that the decision to return once again to sunny South Florida once again was inevitable.

Indeed, PBKC continues to distance itself from the other dogs in Florida’s highly-competitive poker race.  This year, PBKC will be hosting 12 WSOP Circuit gold ring poker tournaments over a two-week period.  Tournaments officially began on Thursday, February 16th with Event #1 – which included a one-million dollar guarantee.  This marked the first time in history that any tournament of that size ($500 buy-in) offered a guaranteed million-dollar payout.

The following 12 days are sure to be packed with multiple tournaments and around-the-clock cash-game action.  The poker festival concludes on February 28th with the final table of the $1,600 buy-in Main Event Championship.
“Florida poker has officially arrived and partnering with the World Series of Poker is as special as it gets," said Noah Carbonne, Director of Poker Operations for the Palm Beach Kennel Club.  "We're thrilled to be involved with the Rolls Royce of poker – which is the WSOP.  For all of us here at the Palm Beach Kennel Club, the State of Florida, and most importantly the thousands of poker players here in the southeast as well as those attending from around the country, we are ready to make history – especially with our million-dollar guarantee, which has never been offered before for an event of its size.”

Gold ring tournaments are only a fraction of what’s on the poker menu at the Palm Beach Kennel Club.  Second-chance No-Limit Hold’em tournaments will be running from day one.  The deep-stack tournaments will cost $235 to enter and begin nightly at 7 pm.  Satellites for all gold ring tournaments will also be going regularly inside the poker room.  Several mega-satellites for the Main Event Championship will also be offered.

The PBKC initially opened in 1932, making it one of the oldest pari-mutual racetracks in the country.  Owned and operated by the famous Rooney Family (which also owns the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers), the track has been a popular attraction and a leisurely way to spend an afternoon for locals and visitors alike.  Known for its live greyhound racing and simulcasts from numerous racetracks all over the country, PBKC jettisoned into a new era last year when it expanded its poker facility, which is now one of the largest poker rooms in Florida.

About a year ago, PBKC expanded its poker operations to include 64 tournament tables.  PBKC is the first dog track to ever host a WSOP-related tournament.  Each final table takes place in a premium location near the main grandstand, which enables everyone close to the poker action to cheer on the greyhounds, as well.  Naturally, betting windows will be close by for those who want to mix in some racing action with poker playing.  Dog races take place most days starting at 1 pm.  There are also dog races nightly on weekends.
PBKC is conveniently located just steps away from the West Palm Beach international Airport, which offers direct flights from all over the country.  Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is also close by.  Several hotels are situated near the dog track and poker facility, to accommodate all budgets.  The cardroom offers regular shuttle service to and from at least three nearby hotels.  Special hotel rate packages for poker players are available.
It’s not too late to be part of the biggest poker event in Florida history.  West Palm Beach is well-known for its sandy white beaches, luxury hotels, fine restaurants, great shopping, and plenty of sunshine.  And now, there will be great poker action around the clock at the PBKC.  The complete schedule and structure sheets for all events can be viewed at WSOP.COM
PBKC is the 11th of 17 WSOP Circuit stops this season.  All players over age 21 are eligible to compete for a seat in the $1 million freeroll event which crowns the WSOP Circuit National Championship point race.  This season's top 100 players who qualify will compete in the first-ever nationally-televised championship, which will take place in Las Vegas, in May 2012.  The winner of that extraordinary event will receive the most coveted prize in all of poker, a WSOP gold bracelet.