Aaron Klausman Wins Largest Poker Tournament Ever Held at Caesars Palace

Las Vegas, NV (January 23, 20112) – Caesars Palace is accustomed to doing things on a grand scale.  But the legendary Las Vegas casino that first opened its doors in 1966 outdid itself this past weekend by hosting the largest major poker tournament ever held at within the confines of the famed white marble landmark.*

A total of 887 players from all over the U.S. and several foreign nations flooded into the Caesars Palace poker room to participate in the most recent World Series of Poker Circuit event.  Tournament attendance shattered the previous record established at Caesars, which was set five years ago during the 2006 Circuit opener.  That similar tournament which took place in the midst of the so-called “poker boom.” attracted 652 players – which seemed like a huge number at the time.  But as the old saying goes – records are made to be broken.  Make that “shattered.”

Standing alone atop of the mountain of buried poker dreams, bad beat stories, and bitter bust-outs was Aaron Klausman, from Birmingham, AL.  Remarkably, this was the first time Klausman has cashed in any WSOP-related tournament.  He not only collected a whopping $50,329 in prize money for the victory, he was also presented with the coveted gold ring, which is the top prize awarded to all WSOP Circuit champions.

Klausman’s tournament resume includes five major cashes.  Up to this point, his best showing had been a sixth-place finish at a tournament held in Mississippi.  In fact, his profit for this event was more than four times the combined total winnings from his four previous cashes.

Aside from a record field size and a big payday for the amateur poker player from Alabama was the grueling marathon this tournament turned out to be.  Originally scheduled as a three-day competition, the battle stretched deep into a fourth day.  Most WSOP Circuit events wrap up in the late hours of the night or perhaps run until midnight.  But this finale stretched out until 6:45 am.  That meant the final day lasted an almost unbearable 19 hours. 

Of course, “unbearable” is a relative term.  For Aaron Klausman, the day was anything but unbearable.  In fact, it was beautiful.


Event #2 was a three-day $300 (+50) No-Limit Hold’em tournament – which actually played into an unscheduled fourth day due the large field size and long hours.  Play began on Friday at noon and concluded early Monday morning.  The total prize pool came to $258,117.  The top 91 finishers were paid.  All players who cashed received WSOP Circuit National Championship ranking points – used to potentially 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 #2 can be seen here.

The first day resulted in the elimination of 739 players.  There were 148 survivors who resumed action on Day Two.  After another ten hours of play, the field was trimmed down to the final table. 

With his victory, Klausman rocketed onto the summit alongside Event #1 champion Dan Di Zenzo as the two early leaders in this WSOP Circuit’s “Best All-Around Player” standings.  The player who accumulates the most overall points in Caesars Palace’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. 27-30).

Here are the two winners from Caesars Palace’s WSOP Circuit gold ring events, so far:

Event #1 – Dan Di Zenzo defeated 482 players ($350 NLHE) and won $30,151
Event #2 – Aaron Klausman defeated 887 players ($350 NLHE) and won $50,329

With the first two tournaments wrapped up, there are still ten more gold ring events remaining in what is being billed as a “12 rings in 12 days” poker series.  The WSOP Circuit at Caesars Palace continues through January 30th.  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 Caesars Palace poker room



This marks the seventh consecutive year that Caesars Palace Las Vegas is hosting the widely-popular World Series of Poker Circuit, which is currently in the midst of its most successful season.  Attendance is currently running about 20 percent ahead of last year (which set a record).

Caesars Palace is already home to many of the game’s most popular and exciting poker events – including the Caesars Classic, NBC Heads-Up Poker Championship, and last year’s inaugural WSOP Circuit National Championship.  However, between the dates of January 19-30, the primary focus will be on 12 gold ring tournaments with the $1,600 buy-in Main Event coming January 27-30.

“Caesars Palace has always carried with it a special aura -- whether we’re talking about gambling, entertainment, or poker,” said Andy Rich, Director of Poker Operations for Caesars Palace.  “We’ve always been the ‘where it’s at” in Las Vegas.  Over the next 12 days, we’re rolling out the red carpet for thousands of poker players who are expected enter our events and play for a gold ring.  As the saying goes, ‘you can’t get a hit if you don’t stand up to the plate and take swing.” 

This marks the first time ever that the WSOP Circuit has come to Las Vegas so early in the season.  In previous years, WSOP Circuit events have taken place in April.  However, with so many exciting activities happening in Las Vegas early in the year, more players than ever before will have the opportunity to participate in a WSOP Circuit event, many for the first time.
To encourage more players to give the WSOP Circuit a try, Caesars Palace is offering $70 buy-in Turbo Super Satellites, with $50 re-buys each morning starting at 10 am.  These Turbo Super Satellites will be held prior to the start of gold ring events (most of which start at noon).  The dailies will guarantee at least ten seats to be given away for that day’s event.  In short, it’s a less expensive way for many players to come in early and win a seat for a gold ring event at a fraction of the cost.

In addition, daily No-Limit Hold’em tournaments (non-gold ring events) take place most days at 9 am ($70 entry fee, with 3,000 in starting chips), 7 pm ($110 entry fee, with 10,000 in starting chips) and 10 pm ($85 entry fee, with 7,500 in starting chips).  The bottom line is – no poker room in Las Vegas (or anywhere for that matter) will host more tournaments over the next 12 days.  Moreover, cash games will be running inside the poker room around the clock.
Caesars Palace boasts one of the most luxurious poker rooms in the game.  The multi-million dollar facility located adjacent to the world-famous sportsbook and Pure nightclub has a special tournament room, which is adorned with the portraits of many of poker’s most legendary players.   

This is the ninth WSOP Circuit stop of the season, following previous tournaments held in several other locations throughout the U.S.  The 2011-2012 season includes a total of 18 WSOP Circuit stops.

All tournament players become eligible to compete in the WSOP Circuit National Championship, which takes place at season’s end.  The top 100 players who qualify based on a points system will compete in a nationally-televised championship, which is expected to be played in late May.  Two guaranteed seats will be awarded at Caesars Palace and will go to the “Best All-Around Player” and the Main Event champion.

In previous year’s, some very notable names have won gold rings at Caesars Palace and added to their legacy as the best players in the game.  Previous WSOP Circuit Main Event Champions crowned at Caesars Palace include:

2006 – John Spadavecchia
2007 – Cory Carroll
2008 – Allen Cunningham
2009 – Justin Bonomo
2010 – Andrew Lichtenberger
2011 – Christopher Johnson

* Note -- The largest poker event at Caesars palace took place last summer when more than 1,600 players participated in a two-flight tournament held during the 2011 WSOP.  However, when graded amongst major tournaments, this event was the largest.