Season’s Final WSOP Circuit Stop Continues through May 21st  

New Orleans, LA (May 14, 2012) – John Harris continues to roll.  Two months after his breakthrough victory at Harrah’s Rincon (San Diego) in March, the 32-year-old aspiring poker pro stormed into New Orleans and promptly won old ring number two.  At this rate, Harris will run out of ring fingers within a couple of years.

Harris triumphed in a $355 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha tournament, which was Event #3 on the New Orleans schedule.  He collected $13,121 in prize money.  But far more meaningful to Harris was a second gold ring and some added confidence going into the 2012 WSOP in Las Vegas.

Harris previously worked as a casino manager, before deciding to pursue his poker dreams.  He relocated from Dallas to the California’s central valley, where he helped to manage a cardroom.  But Harris was much more interested in playing the game than managing it, and decided to begin playing at a few WSOP Circuit stops earlier this season.

The latest champion enjoys some advantages, particularly in terms of his network of poker friends.  Harris routinely travels to WSOP Circuit events with fellow multi-gold ring winners, including David Clark and La Sengphet (also from Dallas).  His circle of friends also includes Josh Evans and Seneca Easley, who have won gold rings and are also playing here in New Orleans.

Harris now says he is ready to make the next big step, which could come at this year’s WSOP in Las Vegas.  He plans to play in many events and will be at the WSOP all summer.

The runner up was Stephen Su, from Houston.  He took a bad beat on what turned out to be the final hand of the tournament.  Su was close to even with Harris in chips, when he moved all in with the best hand.  The raise got a trigger call from Harris, who was left drawing to just a few outs.  Harris ended up with a runner-runner flush, which scooped the last pot of the night.  Had things gone the other way, Su may just as easily have enjoyed his first victory.

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The great secret for poker players who are out there chasing points during this season’s World Series of Poker Circuit is – enter the non-No-Limit Hold’em events.  Those tournaments tend to draw fewer players, by comparison, and thus are more attractive targets for players desperately hunting for points.  Fact is, it’s easier to make a final table in an event with a smaller field size and basically rack up the same points than a tournament with hundreds, or thousands of players have entered.  After all, a first place finish in a tournament with 3,000 entries (as happened in Chicago earlier this year) awards the exactly same number of points (50) as a tournament such as the most recent WSOP Circuit event which concluded tonight at Harrah’s New Orleans -- which drew 167 entrants.

This is not to say that attendance for the third gold ring event here in New Orleans was a disappointment.  To the contrary – the Pot-Limit Omaha competition drew nearly double what a similar event attracted in 2011.  And, one may correctly say that just about any non-No-Limit Hold’em tournament held anywhere else would have drawn considerably less players than what took place here in New Orleans.  Indeed, to the credit of the WSOP Circuit, games other than just No-Limit Hold’em will continue to be offered to players.  While other casinos and tours are pretty much packed with “all Hold’em, all the time,” the WSOP respects other forms of poker and wishes to ensure these alternative games are offered, just as long as enough players continue to agree and show up to play.

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The third of a dozen gold ring tournaments began on Saturday at 5 pm with Event #3 – a $355 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha competition.  The tournament attracted 167 entries.  The total prize pool came to $50,100.  The top 20 players were paid.  All players who cashed received WSOP Circuit National Championship ranking points.

A full list of all players who cashed in Event #3 can be seen here.

The tournament was played over two consecutive days – which actually extended into a third day as the competition last well past midnight.  

With his victory, Harris moves into the top spot alongside the previous two winners (Event #1 and Event #2) as the early leaders in this WSOP Circuit’s “Best All-Around Player” standings.  The (one) player who accumulates the most overall points in Harrah’s New Orleans’ twelve combined gold ring tournaments receives a pre-paid entry into the 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 May 19-22).

With the first tournament wrapped up, there are still 11 more gold ring events remaining in what is being billed as a “12 rings in 12 days” poker series.  The WSOP Circuit at Harrah’s New Orleans continues through May 21st.  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 poker room

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MORE ABOUT THE WSOP CIRCUIT AT HARRAH’S NEW ORLEANS AND THE WSOP CIRCUIT NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

The 17th and final World Series of Poker Circuit stop of the 2011-2012 season is taking place at Harrah's New Orleans, conveniently located right next to the famous French Quarter.  This year’s tournament series runs May 10-21.

New Orleans has become a favorite destination for poker players and regulars on the WSOP Circuit.  For each of the past eight seasons, Harrah’s New Orleans has been the last waltz of a long poker symphony.  This year, New Orleans wraps up seventeen WSOP Circuit event stops, which have attracted tens of thousands of poker players from all over the United States, and beyond.  

The current season began last September at Horseshoe Bossier City (Shreveport), and now comes full circle back to the state of Louisiana for what promises to be a thrilling conclusion to what has been a record-breaking poker tour.
 
There's a lot at stake for poker players who will make their way to the Crescent City over the next two weeks.  Not only are nearly a dozen gold rings up for grabs, as well as lots of prize money.  What seems to be driving attendance is the wildly-popular WSOP Circuit National Championship rankings.  New Orleans is the last chance players will have to earn points to qualify for this year’s National Championship.
 
Since the season began, all tournament players have been in the running for 100 guaranteed pre-paid seats in the $1 million WSOP Circuit National Championship finale.  In a sense, every National Championship seat is valued at $10,000 -- since that’s the proportion of the million dollar-plus prize pool each player represents.  Another 100 players are eligible to buy into the tournament (top ranked players from each of the past two WSOPs in Las Vegas), which means the event will cap out with well over a million dollars at stake.

This marks the second straight season that the WSOP Circuit has utilized a national ranking system based on accumulated points.  All players earned their points by finishing in-the-money in one or more of the 204 total gold ring tournaments which are being offered this season.

What awaits the fortunate 100 players who will advance to the National Championship?  First, there is the chance to win a lot of money.  Second, is the opportunity to appear on national television, since the tournament held at the Rio Las Vegas will be broadcast nationally on ESPN – one of only three events this year to be covered in full by the network.  Third, all players will be competing for the most coveted prize in the game of poker – the WSOP gold bracelet.  This is the second time that a gold bracelet has been tied to the WSOP Circuit.  Last year, Sam Barnhart, from Little Rock, AR won the inaugural WSOP National Championship title.
So, the final opportunity for most players to be crowned the 2012 “WSOP Circuit National Champion” will take place at Harrah’s New Orleans.  Over 12 consecutive days – through May 21st – tournament players will be jockeying for position in what will be the final chance to earn ranking points.  

At the conclusion of the Harrah’s New Orleans tour stop – on May 21st -- the final official list of 100 players who qualify will be announced.