Bryan Devonshire Wins Second Career WSOP Circuit Gold Ring
 
Las Vegas, NV (January 27, 2012) – At one point during the latest World Series of Poker Circuit tournament at Caesars Palace, an interesting thing happened just prior to the final heads-up showdown. 

With nearly six figures in prize money at stake and a WSOP Circuit gold ring on the line, the burly bearded older player lumbered over the table and asked the athletic-looking much younger player, “So, do you wanna’ make a deal?”

The younger didn’t hesitate.  The player smiled.  He cocked his left slightly to the left.  His one word reply was as emphatic as it was unambiguous.

“No.”


The older player looked at his lone adversary as if he’d seen a ghost.  He leaned forward again, raised his hand as if to deliver a sermon, and started to open his mouth.  But before the words could come out, it was patently obvious to everyone who witnessed it that the young player was not there to make any deals.

He was there -- to win.

The body language of the older player foreshadowed what might boldly be considered to be an inevitable outcome.  The older man stammered back to his spot at the table and sulked down in his chair, looking much like a scolded brat-child who had spoken out of turn in class.

Then and there, the duel was over.  The first round of the match had already produced a winner and a loser that would persist and play out on a much bigger stage over the next 90 minutes, a prolonged duel of artistry between proverbial bullfighter and bull.  No doubt, in such contests the bull always mistakenly believes he’s got a fighting chance.  But the result is predetermined.  The outcome is inevitable.  The only suspense really is in how the bullfighter ultimately slays the poor senseless beast, which finally draws heaps of praise and cheers from an adoring mob.

In the end, in front of a live web broadcast streamed around the world via WSOP.com, towering over the mortally-wounded creature in the ring of victory was poker superhero Bryan Devonshire.  The slaughtered ox was Paul “Eskimo” Clark.

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Years ago, when Eskimo Clark was sleeping in $70,000 cars and eating a dozen 99-cent shrimp cocktails on special in order to save a buck despite having thousands of dollars in his pocket, the notion that someone/anyone would turn down his offer of deal in a heads-up match would have been unthinkable. 

But times have not only changed.  Those days are obliterated.  That era is dead and buried.  The Eskimos and this and that’s of poker’s colorful wondrous glorious past no longer produce fear and intimidation.  Sure, many of these poker greats can still play, very well indeed.  But decades of tournament experience and the adornment of WSOP gold bracelets no longer bestows favored status.

Bryan Devonshire was the clear favorite, and delivered.  If there was a point spread, he would have covered it.  Every parlay and teaser in his name would have cashed.  Devonshire’s win ticket paid $55,291.

This marked “Devo’s” second WSOP Circuit victory, following his debut win nearly three years ago at Rincon (San Diego).  In the meantime, he’s done just about everything in poker except win a gold bracelet – despite making a monster run in last year’s WSOP Main Event where he finished in 12th place (good for $607,882).  He’s won well over seven figures overall and has matured into one of the game’s best tournament players.  Perhaps even more meaningful, he’s gained near-universal respect in the game from his peers.  He’s also managed to let absolutely none of this go to his head.  Devo commands the rare combination of traits that just about everyone likes to be around him and play poker with him, but he’s one of the last people anyone wants at their tournament table.

Indeed, most who follow the game expect the day will eventually arrive when Devonshire’s name is etched into the history books alongside the greats, as a WSOP champion.  But Devo needs no amulet nor ceremony to prove that he’s an exceptional poker player and an even better example for so many for the person he is away from the table.  He’s a champion – in many more ways than one.

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The World Series of Poker Circuit continued at Caesars Palace Las Vegas with the conclusion of another thrilling event.  No doubt, this final was the most exciting tournament so far, given the stellar lineup of personalities that finished in the money and were competing during the final hours.

This was one of the most stacked collections of players in the money for any gold ring event, this season.  Among those who cashed were three multiple WSOP gold bracelet winners (Eskimo Clark, Scott Clements, and Dutch Boyd).  There were also several players with multiple previous cashes both at the WSOP and on the WSOP Circuit.

Event #9 was a two-day $1,000 (+80) No-Limit Hold’em tournament, which attracted a respectable turnout totaling 228 entrants.  Play began on Thursday at noon and concluded late on Friday night.

The total prize pool came to $221,160 – the biggest of any tournament so far.  The top 24 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 #9 can be seen here.

The runner up was Paul “Eskimo” Clark, originally from New Orleans, LA.  He’s undisputedly a living legend and has been one of the game’s most unique characters for more than 25 years.  The sanitized and sandblasted version of Clark’s tournament resume sans the spice reveals more than 100 major cashes, $2 million in overall earnings, and three WSOP gold bracelets.  His last major tournament win was in 2003.  So, this victory would have been a long awaited return to prominence.  Instead, Clark had to settle for a nice consolation prize totaling $34,174.

Third place went to Samy Sharaban, an engineer from Israel.  This was his first time to cash in any WSOP event, which was worth a very cool $24,872 in prize money.

Fourth place went to Mel Payne, a 41-year-old business owner from Smithfield, UT.  He has now played in five events at this Circuit and finished in the top 25 percent of all five.

Fifth place went to two-time WSOP gold bracelet winner Scott Clements, from Mt. Vernon, WA.  He is a 30-year-old poker pro who is widely-regarded as one of poker’s best Omaha High-Low Split tournament players.

Sixth place went to Homero Salinas, a 24-year-old student from La Joya, TX.  He is also a registered nurse.  This marked his first time to finish in-the-money in a WSOP Circuit event. 

Seventh place went to Reagan Echols, a 35-year-old poker pro from Colorado Springs, CO.  He is also the owner of IQFLOORS.COM. This was his first WSOP-related cash.

Eighth place went to Rip Fritzer, a 52-year-old realtor from San Diego, CA.  This was his ninth time to cash on the WSOP Circuit.  He also has two WSOP cashes.

Ninth place went to Mark Kroon, a.k.a “Poker Ho.”  He is a 50-year-old poker pro from Madison, WI.  This was his sixth time to cash in the WSOP Circuit and third final table appearance.
 
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Through the end of nine events, duel gold ring winner Gary Bolden holds a commanding lead in the “Best All-Around Player” race.  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 nine 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
Event #9 – Bryan Devonshire defeated 228 players ($1,080 NLHE) and won $55,291


With the first nine tournaments wrapped up, there are still three 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.

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MORE ABOUT THE WSOP CIRCUIT AT CAESARS PALACE

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.