Santa Rosa Poker Pro Wins at The Bike – His Third WSOP Circuit Title

Los Angeles, CA (January 6, 20112) – The World Series of Poker Circuit has declared some individuals as unofficial “Players of the Year.”  Since its inception back in 2005, at least one player during each season seems to have dominated the eight-month schedule of events – distancing himself from the thousands of other players who participate regularly in WSOP Circuit events.  

For instance, in previous years, Mark “Pegasus” Smith, Doug “Rico” Carli, and Dwight Pilgrim have each distinguished themselves as domineering players for their respective seasons.

If the 2011-2010 season were to have an official “Player of the Year” -- aside from the pending winner of the National Championship coming at season’s end -- the title might very well be already locked up.  

Michael Rosenbach, a 29-year-old poker pro originally from New Jersey and now residing in Santa Rosa, CA is on the roll of a lifetime.  He just won this third WSOP Circuit gold ring in less than two month’s time.  With fresh memories of his two wins at the WSOP Circuit held at Harvey’s Lake Tahoe in November, Rosenbach rolled into Los Angeles some 45 days later and added to his burgeoning jewelry collection.  At the rate he’s winning tournaments, Rosenbach will soon have every finger and toe covered in gold.

Rosenbach collected $22,035 in prize money for his most recent win, which took place at The Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens.  He was also presented with yet another coveted gold ring, the top prize awarded to all WSOP Circuit event winners.

With this victory, Rosenbach’s tournament record this year includes three wins and a fifth-place showing.  He qualified for the National Championship by virtue of his designation as “Best All Around Player” at Lake Tahoe.  

Indeed, some tournament wins are a fluke, and some tournament winners are merely flash in the pans.  But there’s little doubt that Rosenbach is going places.  There appear to be more gold rings and perhaps even gold bracelets in his very bright poker future.

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Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em (as a live tournament) first debuted at the 2005 World Series of Poker, in Las Vegas.  It came about due to growing popularity as an online poker game.  In fact, Six-Handed Hold’em games became so popular that by 2000, it rivaled full-ring games in overall number at the most biggest online sites.  

Nevertheless, Six-Handed live tournaments remain rare in live casinos.  This is due to more dealers and tables being required to run them, which in turn accommodate less tournament players.  The WSOP and WSOP Circuit remains as a few of the places where Six-Handed poker tournaments remain as part of the regular schedule.

Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em is also markedly different from the conventional full table game.  Since blinds race around the table much faster (players are posting blinds 2/6 rather than 2/9 of the time), the action tends to be more aggressive.  In fact, good short-handed players enjoy clear advantages over players who are more accustomed to full-table games with nine players.

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The World Series of Poker Circuit continued today at The Bicycle Casino, located in the Bell Gardens section of Los Angeles.

Event #4 was a two-day $300 (+45) Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em tournament, which attracted 171 entrants.  Play began on Thursday at noon and concluded late on Friday afternoon.  The total prize pool came to $82,935.  The top 18 finishers were paid.  All players who cashed received WSOP Circuit National Championship ranking points – used to qualify for a seat in the season-ending championship, to be played in Las Vegas.

Among the players eliminated short of the final table was Alexandru Masek, the law school graduate and semi-pro poker player from San Diego.  Masek won his fourth WSOP Circuit gold ring last November, and hoped to join Mark “Pegasus” Smith as the all-time leader, who currently holds five Circuit titles.  But Masek was low on chip on the second day and finished in tenth place.  Pegasus’ record remains safe, at least for now.

A full list of all players who cashed in Event #4 can be seen here.

The first day resulted in the elimination of 161 players.  There were ten survivors who resumed action on Day Two and then played down to the final table, which commenced play on an unseasonably warm Friday afternoon inside The Bicycle Casino’s tournament room.  The seven finalists and their chips counts were as follows:

SEAT 1:  Danny Illingworth (San Diego, CA) – 234,000 in chips
SEAT 2:  David Clark (Dallas, TX) – 144,000 in chips
SEAT 3:  Dean Buchanan (Kirkland, WA) – 584,000 in chips
SEAT 4:  Ryan Jones (Torrance, CA) – 137,000 in chips
SEAT 5:  Steve Richhart (Orange, CA) – 436,000 in chips
SEAT 6:  Nate Geise (Fort Jennings, IN) – 286,000 in chips
SEAT 7:  Michael Rosenbach (Santa Rosa, CA) – 232,000 in chips


The final table featured two big names from the WSOP Circuit.  Michael Rosenbach, fresh off his domination of the Harvey’s Lake Tahoe series sat with David Clark, a two-time WSOP Circuit gold ring winner and prolific casher in recent years.

But the chip lead belonged to Steve Richart, who appeared on the verge of winning what would have been first WSOP Circuit victory.  But he went out about midway through the finale.

Final table play began at 1:30 pm local time.  Play finished at 8:30 pm making the total duration about seven hours.  The official order of finish was as follows:  

7th Place – Nate Geise, a 26-year-old poker player from Indiana busted out on the fringe of the six-handed final table.  He previously won an event on the Heartland Poker Tour, last April.  This was Geise’s third time to cash in a WSOP-related event and best finish yet.  

6th Place – David Clark survived about two hours, nursing a short stack the entire way, but ultimately went out in sixth place.  The poker pro from Dallas hoped to win what was potentially a third gold ring victory, but came up short.  Nevertheless, Clark now has 14 WSOP Circuit cashes on his growing resume and with his accumulated point total this year alone, is a virtual lock to qualify for a seat in the WSOP Circuit National Championship.

Note:  Immediately after being eliminated, Clark accepted in the invitation to join the live broadcast of the final table.  All WSOP Circuit final tables played at The Bike this year are being carried in a nearly-live format, which can be viewed free at:  www.thebike.com
    
5th Place – Steve Richhart, who works in sales and plays poker part-time, ended up in fifth place – a disappointing finish for the early chip leader.  Richhart, who has several previous cashes in major tournaments played elsewhere, finished in-the-money for the first time in a WSOP-related event, with this performance.  Richhart, who resides in Orange, CA collected $5,475 in prize money.

4th Place – Ryan Jones, a 25-year-old student from Torrance, CA was eliminated during the fourth hour of play.  He made a nice move on the day, going from seventh in chips when the final table began to a fourth place finish.  Jones holds a Masters Degree in electrical engineering from Cal-State Long Beach.  He’s had some electrifying finishes in major poker tournaments, including three WSOP cashes and several other in-the-money finishes.  Jones collected $7,345 for fourth place.

3rd Place – Third place went to Dean Buchanan, from Kirkland, WA.  He is a 22-year-old poker pro and Reservist in the U.S. Army.  In fact, Buchanan served a two-year tour in Iraq.  Buchanan is now mostly a cash game player who describes himself as a “baller.”  He ended up with third place prize money, totaling $10,020.  This was Buchanan’s first cash ever in a WSOP-related event.

2nd Place – The runner up was Danny Illingworth, from San Diego, who came to the final table with s decent stack size, but some previous final table demons he was determined to erase.

Illingworth made it to the final table of the $5,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em event back in 2009.  He came to the final table with the chip lead, but finished sixth.  Determined to perform better given this opportunity, Illingworth more than redeemed himself.  In fact, he very well could have won the tournament with an opportune card or two.

His rival Rosenbach had the chip lead when heads-up play began.  But Illingworth proved to be a brutally tough foe.  There were no overly dramatic hands during the gradual momentum shift, only a patient and steady display by Illingworth that began to attract a growing rail of spectators.  Two hours into the duel, Illingworth seized the chip lead and was within striking distance of victory.

But then a critical hand came about when Rosenbach was behind in chips nearly 2 to 1 and managed to take A-J (all in) up against Illingworth’s A-9.  Rosenbach had the better hand, and then caught two jacks on the flop to re-take the lead.  He never lost it after that, and closed out his victory about 15 minutes later.  Rosenbach was declared the champion.  For finishing second, Illingworth collected $13,920 in prize money.

1st Place – Michael Rosenbach finished in first place and won his third career WSOP Circuit gold ring.  He collected $22,035 in prize money.

With his victory, Rosenbach joins three previous tournament winners as the early leaders in this WSOP Circuit’s “Best All-Around Player” standings.  No player has ever won two Best All Around titles, but Rosenbach is in the running.

The player who accumulates the most overall points in The Bike’s twelve combined gold ring tournaments receives a pre-paid entry into the $1 million 2011-2012 WSOP Circuit National Championship -- to be held in Las Vegas at the end of this season.  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 The Bicycle Casino’s Main Event championship.

Here are the four winners from The Bike’s WSOP Circuit gold ring events, so far:

Event #1 – Huy Quach defeated 748 players ($345 NLHE) and won $44,663
Event #2 – Stephen Graner defeated 191 players ($550 NLHE) and won $25,020
Event #3 – Adam Bishop defeated 313 players ($345 NLHE) and won $20,958
Event #4 – Michael Rosenbach defeated 171 players ($345 Six-Handed NLHE) and won $22,035


With four tournaments now wrapped up, there are still eight more gold ring events remaining in what is being billed as a “12 rings in 12 days” poker series.  The WSOP Circuit at The Bicycle Casino continues through December 12th.  This year’s schedule includes not only a dozen gold ring events, but multiple second-chance tournaments (at 5 pm and 8 pm most days), single table and mega satellites, plus cash games going around the clock inside the massive poker room.