La Sengphet Becomes First Woman in History to Win Three WSOP Circuit Titles

Los Angeles, CA (January 7, 20112) – Poker history was made tonight at The Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles where La Sengphet became the first woman in history to win three open tournaments on the World Series of Poker Circuit.

Sengphet, who travels regularly around the country playing in major poker tournaments with her boyfriend -- two-time gold ring winner David Clark -- has become one of the WSOP Circuit’s most popular players.  In fact, along with “other half” Clark, the power poker couple are among the most congenial tournament pros anywhere, with well-deserved success to match.

Sengphet achieved what many would consider to be her most impressive tournament victory on this night, defeating 377 players.  She also overcame a number of disadvantages along the way, including being forced into a comeback situation against her final foe – the formidable John Carreno.

No doubt, this was among Sengphet’s proudest moments – and she has had many.  Her first win took place last February in Tunica.  A few months later in St. Louis, she won her second gold ring.  Then, Sengphet followed up that one-two punch with a fourth-place finish in last season’s televised WSOP Circuit national Championship, which paid $100,000.  And now, she is starting off 2012 precisely where she left off.

Oddly enough, this was the second consecutive day that the WSOP Circuit crowned a three-time winner.  Just 24 hours earlier, Michael Rosenbach from the Bay Area, won his third career fold ring.  NOTE:  The all-time gold ring win leader is Mark "Pegasus" Smith -- with five.

Sengphet’s most vocal supporter was Clark, who watched her victory and cheered as if the latest ring addition were his own.  Together, Clark and Sengphet now have five WSOP Circuit titles between them.  When Clark won his second gold ring just two months ago at Harvey’s Lake Tahoe, afterward he jokingly boasted he was proud to be tied again with Sengphet, which meant he did not have to listen to her claiming to be the better poker player.

Now that Sengphet has once again added one more gold ring of separation, Clark has some work to do.

Sengphet, who lives in the Dallas area, collected $25,242 in prize money.

………………..

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

Event #5 was a two-day $300 (+45) No-Limit Hold’em tournament, which attracted 377 entrants.  Play began on Friday at noon and concluded on Saturday night.  The total prize pool came to $109,707.  The top 36 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.

A full list of all players who cashed in Event #5 can be seen here.

The first day resulted in the elimination of 357 players.  There were 20 survivors who resumed action on Day Two and then played down to the final table, which commenced play on inside The Bicycle Casino’s tournament room.  The finale was broadcast over the Internet via “Live at the Bike.”  The nine finalists and their chips counts were as follows:

SEAT 1:  Randy Holland (Los Angeles, CA) – 395,000 in chips
SEAT 2:  Josh Seibert (Murrieta, CA) – 785,000 in chips
SEAT 3:  Kiet Tuan (Los Angeles, CA) – 696,000 in chips
SEAT 4:  Eli Loewenthal (Indianapolis, IN) – 247,000 in chips
SEAT 5:  La Sengphet (Dallas, TX) – 520,000 in chips
SEAT 6:  Casey Berlin (Lynnwood, CA) – 148,000 in chips
SEAT 7:  Lisa Santy (Long Beach, CA) – 117,000 in chips
SEAT 8:  John Carreno (San Diego, CA) – 710,000 in chips
SEAT 9:  Alex Massman (Calabasas, CA) – 98,000 in chips


The final table featured a two-time WSOP gold bracelet winner.  Randy Holland, winner of two titles and widely-respected as one of poker’s top Omaha players, ended up making his best Circuit showing in this tournament after previously coming in fifth a few years ago.

The gauntlet of tough players included the chip leader, as well -- Josh Siebert.  However, John Carreno and Viet Tran were both in close pursuit. 

Final table play began at 3 pm local time.  Play finished at 10:30 pm making the total duration about 7.5 hours.  The official order of finish was as follows: 

9th Place – Eli Loewenthal had a short stay at the final table.  He lasted only a few hands before exiting in ninth place.  Loewenthal, age, 25, who lives in Indiana, cashed for the seventh time on the WSOP Circuit within the past two years.  Most of his previous in-the-money finishes occurred closer to his home – at Southern Indiana and Hammond.  This marked Loewenthal’s third time to cash this season.  It was also his third final table appearance.

8th Place – Casey Berlin, from nearby Lynnwood, CA, arrived with a low stack and went out about an hour into play.  This was his first time to cash in a WSOP-related event.  In fact, this was Berlin’s first major live tournament cash.  Berlin, age 22, played soccer in college.  He still aspires to become a professional soccer.

7th Place – Alex Massman was another first-time casher in this event.  The part-time poker player from Calabasasm, CA finished in seventh place.  He is a 21-year-old self-described “short stack professional” who has a number of cashes and high finishes in major online poker tournaments.

6th Place – Kiet Tuan (a.k.a. Viet Tuan) was eliminated about three hours into play.  The 4-year-old Vietnamese-born poker player who now resides in Rosemead, CA cashed for the first time in a WSOP Circuit event.  He also has three cashes as the WSOP in Las Vegas, including a third-place finish in a gold bracelet event two years ago.  Tuan collected $4,860 in prize money.
   
5th Place – Josh Seibert, from Murrieta, CA came in fifth.  He was in decent chip position midway through the finale, but lost a critical hand against La Sengphet and then vanished about 20 minutes later.  This was Seibert’s first time to cash in a WSOP-related tournament and second major in-the-money finish.

4th Place – Local poker pro Randy Holland, a two-time WSOP gold bracelet winner (1999 Razz and 2000 Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split), finished in fourth place.  Holland clawed and scratched his way for nearly five hours before finally hitting the rail.  Fourth place paid $8,440.  An interesting side note is that according to most poker tournament reporting websites, Holland is now ranked as the player with the third highest number of career tournament cashes (source:  The Hendon Mob).

3rd Place – Lisa Santy, who works in sales and now lives in Long Beach, CA, proved to be the most stubborn player at the final table.  She was low on chips fromt eh start, but still managed to last more than six hours.  Santy was a real thorn in the side of her last two opponents, never making things easy.  She now has this high finish to go along with her three WSOP cashes – which includes a ninth-place finish in the 2009 Ladies World Championship.  Santy collected $11,380 in prize money.

2nd Place – John Carreno, a 60-year-old poker pro from San Diego, finished as the runner up.  He was previously and investor.  Carreno now has seven major cashes, including an in-the-money finish at the WSOP in Las Vegas.  He is a proud veteran who has been married 30 years and has three children.

No doubt, Carreno could have been the winner with a break or two.  He seized the chip lead during heads up play, but was unable to maintain his advantage.

When heads-up play began, Sengphet enjoyed the chip lead, with about 2.1 million to Carreno’s 1.6 million.  With the blinds and antes still relatively low, many were expecting a long tough battle, which is precisely what occurred.  But a major turning point came about 40 minutes into play when Sengphet had her opponent all-in and covered.  Trouble was, she had pocket eights and ran into pocket jacks.  Carreno’s higher pair held up, which gave him about half of Sengphet’s stack. 

But Sengphet got those chips back and more about half an hour later when she made a flush, leaving her final foe on life support.  Next, the final hand of the tournament came more than seven hours after the start and was an anti-climax to what was a thrilling day filled with several big hands and chip lead changes.

1st Place – La Sengphet finished in first place and won her third career WSOP Circuit gold ring.  She collected $25,242 in prize money.

With her victory, Sengphet joins four previous tournament winners as the early leaders in this WSOP Circuit’s “Best All-Around Player” standings.  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 five 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-NLHE) and won $22,035
Event #5 – La Sengphet defeated 377 players ($345 NLHE) and won $25,242


With five tournaments now wrapped up, there are still seven 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.
 
..............