Bolden All But Locks Up “Best All-Around Player” Title at Caesars Palace

Las Vegas, NV (January 27, 20112) – Gary Bolden makes winning look way too easy.

Victory can’t be this simple.

There’s no way any player can simply walk into a poker room midway into a major tournament series, sign up for two events with big turnouts, manage to arrive at both final tables holding the chip lead, and the proceed to demolish the competition in what appeared to be two effortless victories.

What’s going on here?

The short answer is, Gary Bolden is fast becoming the new headliner at Caesars Palace Las Vegas. 
Move aside, Celine.  Get out of the way, Elton.  Stand aside, Cher. 
There’s a new star playing on The Strip at Caesars Palace and his name is Gary Bolden.

The St. Louis native who now resides in Las Vegas won his second World Series of Poker Circuit gold ring in just three day’s time.  He dominated the latest Circuit event, which drew 424 entries.  Bolden collected a payout, totaling $27,144 in prize money.  But all that seemed to matter was the priceless memento of two gold rings – representing the supreme triumph of winning on the WSOP Circuit.

Bolden’s previous victory took place in the $350 Pot-Limit Omaha tournament, which concluded on Monday night.  With a second win, Bolden now has two wins and four cashes this season.  He’s now cashed six times on the WSOP Circuit and four times at the WSOP in Las Vegas.

Bolden’s second win this week all but assures him of the “Best All-Around Player” title for this WSOP Circuit series.  Sitting comfortably at 100 points, he will be almost impossible to catch, unless one of the other event winners repeats in one of the final tournaments being held this weekend.  At worst, Bolden will most likely gain a seat in the WSOP Circuit National Championship by virtue of his current point total, which is more than enough to qualify for an at-large bid.

The WSOP Circuit has produced some new stars lately – most notably Michael Rosenbach (three gold rings this season), La Sengphet (three gold rings the past year, the most for any female player), Alexandru Masek (currently with four gold rings), and others. 

Now, there’s one more name to add to the list.  The way Gary Bolden has been playing and winning tournaments, one can expect to see a lot more of this potential new poker star.


Event #8 was a two-day $300 (+50) No-Limit Hold’em tournament, which attracted a big turnout totaling 424 entrants.  Play began on Wednesday at noon and concluded on the graveyard short as Thursday turned into Friday.

The total prize pool came to $123,384.  The top 45 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 #8 can be seen here.

The runner up was Jadie (a.k.a. “JD”) Tsang, from Las Vegas.  She was born in Hong Kong and is now retired.  This was her first WSOP-related cash, worth $16,774 in prize money.

Third place went to Desmond Portano, a 36-year-old poker pro from Henderson, NV.  He has a long history of success in WSOP events.  Portano has cashed ten times at the WSOP and has accumulated nearly a quarter-million in earnings.  This marked is first time to cash on the WSOP Circuit, which paid $12,257.

Fourth place went to Benjamin Herman, a 26-year-old poker pro and part-time sportswriter from Las Vegas.  He finished 16th in last year’s Caesars Classic Main Event Championship.  This marked his first in-the-money finish in a WSOP Circuit event. 

Fifth place went to Mark Byczkiw, a 49-year-old business owner from Hamilton, Ontario (Canada).  He final tabled an event here at Caesars Palace during last year’s WSOP Circuit as well, finishing eighth.

Sixth place went to Michel Akrich, a dentist from France.  The Tunisian-born part-time poker player has performed very well in Europe.  He’s won three tournaments and has 37 cashes in his tournament resume.  But this was his first time to cash in a WSOP-related tournament.

Seventh place went to Robert Peacock, a 26-year-old poker pro from Ridge, NY.  This was his first WSOP-related in-the-money finish.  He’s now cashed in three majors, overall.   

Eighth place went to Zal Irani, a 39-year-old certified financial planner from Chicago, IL.  This was his seventh time to cash on the WSOP Circuit and was also his third final table appearance.  He’s now cashes in 18 majors over the past three years.

Ninth place went to Jeffrey “Lebowski” Fielder, a former porn star from Des Moines, IA.  He now has seven WSOP cashes (four this year) to go along with two cashes at the WSOP in Las Vegas.  Fielder now has a dozen major live cashes and in excess of $100,000 in overall career earnings.

Tenth place went to Jeffrey Miller, a 56-year-old farmer from New Vernon, NJ.  This was his first time to cash in a Circuit event.  However, he’s finished in the money during each of the last two years at the WSOP in Las Vegas. 

Among those who also cashed was Jan Siroky, a popular poker teacher who (along with noted author Dr. Alan Schoonmaker) runs seminars for players hoping to learn and improve their game.

Here are the eight winners from Caesars Palace’s WSOP Circuit gold ring events, which have been completed 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
Event #3 – Gregory Hartwick defeated 207 players ($560 NLHE) and won $26,106
Event #4 – Gary Bolden defeated 120 players ($350 PLO) and won $26,106
Event #5 – Jeff Dobrin defeated 203 players ($350 ANTE-NLHE) and won $15,357
Event #6 – Beaudoin defeated 349 players ($350 6-NLHE) and won $10,888
Event #7 – Blake Kelso defeated 187 players ($560 NLHE) and won $23,583
Event #8 – Gary Bolden defeated 424 players ($350 NLHE) and won $27,144

With the first eight tournaments wrapped up, there are still four 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

The complete WSOP Circuit schedule at Caesars Palace can be seen here.