Photo Caption: Greg Guth, in his first-ever WSOP Circuit final table appearance, won the largest poker tournament ever held in North Nevada. His victory came in the fourth gold ring event held at Harveys Lake Tahoe.
Greg Guth Wins Largest Poker Tournament Ever Held in Northern Nevada
Attorney Tops Record-Smashing 651-Player Field and Collects $40,029
Guth Wins Gold Ring in First WSOP Circuit Attempt
Stateline, Nevada (November 12, 2012) – No tournament ever held anywhere in Northern Nevada topped the record-smashing field that turned out for the latest World Series of Poker Circuit event, played at Harveys Lake Tahoe.
That's a pretty amazing statistic given the big numbers from the poker boom days (2004-2007), when sell outs were the norm just about everywhere. But no single event ever held either in Reno or Lake Tahoe has ever reached the high plateau set in the latest gold ring event, which was a $365 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em competition (Event 4).
Despite heavy snowfall the opening two days, poker players flooded into Statelin in record numbers, smashing the old record by a sizable number. At the close of registration, Event 4 officially had 651 entrants for the two-session field. The previous record was set nearly eight years ago back in 2005, during the inaugural WSOP Circuit season – which was 542 players. A tournament held at the Grand Sierra in Reno has close to 600 players a few years ago. But the new record now belongs to the WSOP Circuit and Harveys Lake Tahoe.
Topping the record field was Gregory Guth, a 38-year-old attorney from Yuba City, CA. Remarkably, this was the first major poker tournament Guth has ever entered. He sure picked the right event to earn a debut victory.
Guth pocketed the handsome sum of $40,029 for first place. He was also presented with the coveted WSOP Circuit gold ring, the ultimate token of achievement for winning such an event.
Guth demonstrated tournament sophistication far beyond his experience in this tournament. He arrived at the final table with a big chip lead and was never in serious jeopardy of elimination. In fact, he held onto the chip lead the entire way. Guth credited his good fortune to his poker-playing buddies back in Yuba City.
“I play in a home game, and we always talk poker,” Guth said afterward. “I was eager to come here and test my skills, and well – look what happened.”
Guth was cheered to victory by family members who were sitting in the audience and watching proudly. He defeated the most experienced Yossi Azulay, from Chicago in heads-up play.
The tournament went into an unscheduled third day, due to the huge field size and larger number of chips in play than was expected. The finale ended at 8 pm on Monday night. A total of 31 playing hours were necessary to complete the tournament from start to finish.
"I want to savor this victory for a while,” Guth replied when asked if he plans to play in more WSOP Circuit events in the future. “One step at a time.”
Guth works as an attorney in general litigation. He earned his undergraduate degree from Cal-Berkeley. Guth graduated from law school at UCLA.
The tournament included two starting sessions – designated at 4-A and 4-B. The first session started at noon. The second session began at 5 pm. Players in each session played for about eight hours. Players that were eliminated from the first session were eligible to re-enter into the second.
Day One began with 651 entries. By the end of too eight-hour sessions of play at 2:30 am, only 106 remained. The survivors returned for Day Two and played another nine hours before the final table session began.
There were only two gold ring winners at the final table and both were female. La Sengphet, a three-time winner and Loni Harwood, a one-time winner were the only title-holding finalists. Sengphet ended up going out in seventh place. Harwood went out eighth.
The third-place finisher deserves special mention. Drew Caseri finished second in this same event played last year. He almost conquered a combined field over the past two years totaling more than 1,000 players – a remarkable back-to-back accomplishment.
Mark “Bonsai” Bonsack cashed for the third time in just four events. He's the first player to reach that mark here at Lake Tahoe. Bonsack went out 11th, which now gives him and 11th, a 10th, and a 4th.
The top-nine (final table) finishers were as follows:
1 Gregory Guth YUBA CITY, CA -- $40,029.00
2 Yossi Azulay CHICAGO, IL -- $24,774.00
3 Drew Caseri MERCED, CA -- $18,171.00
4 Robert Mather NORTH HIGHLANDS, CA -- $13,513.00
5 Jeffrey Fielder FRANKLIN, TN -- $10,185.00
6 Richard Gonzalez FREMONT, CA -- $7,779.00
7 La Sengphet CARROLLTON, TX -- $6,019.00
8 Loni Harwood STATEN ISLAND, NY -- $4,718.00
9 Richard Lehman BILLINGS, MT -- $3,746.00