CHESTER, PA – Unlike its inaugural championship in 2011, this year’s Main Event at Harrah’s Philadelphia Main Event was stacked with top-level pros with names like Andy Frankenberger, Dennis Phillips and Bryan Devonshire.

However, it was an amateur, Christopher Bonn, who came away with this year’s top prize here at the Casino and Racetrack just outside of Philly, worth $109,760 and the coveted WSOP Circuit Main Event Gold Ring. His feat is even more incredible given the fact the he made his first major tournament cash just two months ago in a turbo event at the Caesars Atlantic City WSOP Circuit Series.

Bonn is a 49-year-old radiology assistant from nearby East Lansdowne, PA. He exhibited optimal play which kept him near the top of the chip leader board through much of the three-day tournament all the way to the final table.

The 2011-2012 season marked Harrah’s Philadelphia’s (formerly Harrah’s Chester) sophomore year as host of the WSOP Circuit Events. The event was added to the WSOP schedule last April, 15 months after Pennsylvania state legislators voted to legalize table games in the state.

As a result, players such as Bonn now have the opportunity to hone their craft in poker rooms across PA and as evidenced from the annual WSOP over the last few years, this new crop of east coast competition has had no problem tackling poker’s steep learning curve.

The number of cashes by Pennsylvanians at last year’s WSOP held at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas is up 57% over 2009’s figures with players PA cashing at a rate of 11%, the third highest among US states this past year.

This growth was not lost on the WSOP Circuit Main Event at Harrah’s Philadelphia, as 312 players competed in the $1,600 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament. That figure represented a 16% increase over last year’s Event. The total prize pool amounted to $467,055 of which 33 players would claim their share.

158 players survived into day two. The start of day chip leader, Aaron Overton, carried much of his momentum from day one with him into Sunday, putting more distance between him and the field. But he quickly lost steam after finding himself on the short end of two monstrous pots, one against four-time WSOPC champion, Kyle Cartwright and another later in the day versus Las Vegas pro Rex Clinkscales. Overton was unable to regain his footing and was eliminated soon after in 24th place.

After 14 hours of play on day 2, 11 players remained. They returned on day three to determine a winner and after an hour of play, were down to the official final table.

 

Name

Hometown

Seat

Chip Count

Georgia Robinson

Temple Hills, MD

 

1

68,000

Ken Silberstein

Edison, NJ

 

2

1,200,000

Tuan Phan

Vienna, VA

3

1,288,000

Chris Bonn

East Lansdowne, PA

4

375,000

Coury Mascagni

Louisville, KY

5

1,080,000

John Mitchell

Norwood, PA

6

609,000

Mike Linster

Island Park, NY

7

315,000

Pete Kaemmerlan

Fairport, NY

8

280,000

Eugene Fouksman

Brooklyn, NY

9

1,300,00

 

9th place – Georgia Robinson nursed a short stack through the end day to all the way to the start of the Final Table. The 69-year-old retired benefits supervisor from Temple Hills, MD finally got a hand she liked   and moved her stack in the middle.

Play folded around to Peter Kaemmerlen, who called from the big blind with   . The queen high flop was a disappointing one for Mrs. Robinson. She was unable to improve on the turn or river and was eliminated.

The married mother is enjoys her golden years by playing poker and being active in book clubs and other civil organizations. She has cashed in several major tournaments around the Atlantic region. Her first WSOP Circuit Cash today earned her $10,130.

8th place – After winning a surprise victory in the WSOPC Main Event at Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City back in December, Tuan Phan looked to repeat his upset performance at the Main Event final table at Harrah’s Philadelphia.

Although he was one of the chip leaders at the start of final table play, Phan fell hard early after losing a 900k chip pot to Ken Silberstein on a missed flush draw. Unable to fully recover, his final hand of the tournament saw him unable to fill a boat with two pair against Christopher Bonn’s flopped flush. Having fallen short of repeating his success in Atlantic City, The 30-year-old paralegal from Vienna, VA made his way to the payout table to collect $12,695 eighth place prize money. 

7th place –Mike Linster, who also won a WSOPC Ring Event during this year’s WSOP Circuit series at Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City, was the seventh place finisher in this event. After losing his remaining chips in a coin flip with pocket 7’s vs. Eugene Fouksman’s A-J, it was lights out for the 35-year-old former electrician from Island Park, NY. For his seventh place finish, Linster pocked $16,146.

6th place – After LInster’s elimination, it would two hours until the next elimination as the shorter stacks managed to double up. Cory Mascagni was able to double through Eugene Fouksman, crippling him in the process. Fouksman was eliminated shortly afterward all-in vs. Bonn after his A-9 was unable to improve against Bonn’s pocket sevens. Fouksman headed to the payout table to collect sixth place prize money, worth $20,845.

5th place - After Fouksman's elimination, the pace began to pick up. In a bit of a cooler, John Mitchell moved all in holding A-T but was outkicked after Bonn made the call, tabling A-J. Mitchell was unable to improve on the flop and his tournament run was over.
 
Mitchell is a hometown boy, born here in Chester, PA who lives in nearby Norwood. He has several tournament cashes in Atlantic City, but his 5th place finish here tonight was his biggest major tournament accomplishment so far. His ambition in poker is "to break donkeys," which if his performance in the WSOPC Main Event is any indication, is something we'll likely see more of in the future. For his 5th place finish, Mitchell earned $27,332.

4th place – A short while later, Mascagni suffered a heartbreaker of a hand after his pocket eights were unable to hold all-in vs. Silberstein’s    after Silberstein was able to catch running flush cards on the turn and river. Mascagni is a 29-year-old law school student studying in Washington, D.C. Fourth paid $36.407.

3rd place – Out in 3rd place was Peter Kaemmerlen. After taking some damage to his stack, Kaemmerlen moved all-in on a diamond flush draw on a 4-3-A flop. Bonn looked him up for sometime before making the eventual call with top pair. Bonn’s aces held through the turn and river, eliminating Kaemmerlen in 3rd. Kaemmerlen is a 28-year-old software developer from Fairport, NY. He collected $49,288 for third.

Bonn had a marginal chip lead against Silberstein to start heads up play. Bonn applied the pressure and was able to build his lead to about 3-1 before the final hand of the night saw Silberstein all-in with A-9 vs. Bonn’s K-9. The flop came down     to put Bonn in the lead which is where he stayed through the turn and river.

Silberstein is an options trader from Edison, NJ. He has numerous previous major tournament cashes including previous WSOP and WPT in-the-money finishes. He earned $67,863 for second.

For the win, Bonn was awarded $109,760 and the WSOP Circuit Gold Ring. In addition, Bonn will receive an automatic seat to the WSOP National Championship to be held in Las Vegas in July.

Two other final tables were in play during the final night of the WSOP Circuit Events at Harrah’s Philadelphia and when they reached their completion, it was determined that Kevin McColgan, a 33-year-old poker pro from Douglasville, PA would earn the distinction of Harrah’s Phiadelphia casino champion. With a 4th place, 9th place and outright win in Event #12 McColgan will join Bonn in the National Championship with both players looking to take the WSOP Bracelet home to PA.

The next and final stop of the WSOP Circuit Series is Harrah’s New Orleans, which begins May 10 and runs through May 21. You can find the full schedule of events here. You can find the complete 2011/2012 WSOP CIRCUIT SCHEDULE here. 

MORE ABOUT THE WSOP CIRCUIT AT HARRAH’S PHILADELPHIA

Harrah’s Philadelphia is a casino and racetrack located in Philadelphia, PA -- about 15 minutes south of Philadelphia International Airport. It is the 16th (of 17) WSOP Circuit host properties. Harrah’s New Orleans is the last remaining stop of the 2011-2012 WSOPC season.

This marks the second season that the WSOP Circuit has visited Harrah’s Philadelphia.

Harrah’s Philadelphia first opened in 2007, offering slot games and horse racing. Table games were introduced to the casino in 2010 after they were legalized by the state of Pennsylvania.

Harrah’s Philadelphia originally opened as Harrah’s Chester, but is currently in the process of rebranding itself as Harrah’s Philadelphia, which is expected to be complete on May 1st.

Harrah’s Philadelphia’s “12 Rings in 12 Days” series is taking place April 25-May 7.  Tournaments are held in the ballroom located on the second floor of the casino. Cash games can be found in the poker room next to the race book also located on the second floor.

Each Ring Event Final Table will be streamed live from the final table stage area in the ballroom. The live stream can be accessed at: http://www.wsop.com/2011/circuit/live-video/. Because final table start times are tentative, viewers should follow the WSOP on Twitter @wsop to be notified when live streams begin. 

Media Contact:

Alan Fowler

WSOP/Caesars Interactive Entertainment

afowler@caesars.com