Atlantic City, NJ (December 18, 2013) — Last week on the Jersey Shore, Richard Block parlayed a late-series surge into the Harrah's Resort Casino Championship and a berth in the season-ending $1 million WSOP National Championship. Block, a newly-turned pro from New York, made the short trek to Atlantic City to build his bankroll in preparation for the summer's high buy-in events and ended up leaving with a free $10,000 seat.

Things started out dry for the 26-year-old as he recorded exactly zero cashes in his first six events at Harrah's Resort.

"I mainly have to thank my best friend Kyle Zawacki for keeping me calm during the 11-day grind," Block said. "I was having a tough first six days in Atlantic City and he helped me refocus my game going into Event 7."

The refocus helped and Block broke through for his first WSOP-related tournament victory in his seventh event of the series. In addition to $28,373 and a Circuit gold ring, the win awarded 50 points toward the Casino Championship and put him near the top of the leaderboard in the 12-day race.

"It wasn't until I won Event 7 that I really started worrying about the Casino Championship," Block said. "Even then, I tried not to think about it too much. I just wanted to play my game and hoped for the best."

The best continued to come Block's way as he finished third in Event 11, nabbing another $7,895 and 30 additional points toward the Casino Championship. The finish helped him leapfrog Event 1 winner Raymond Papperman, three-time ring winner Brian O'Donoghue and four-time series casher Jamie Kerstetter atop the leaderboard.

In the end, none of these headliners caught the 80-point pace of Block.

"I'm really excited to see where my game will be five months from now," Block said of what he looks forward to about the National Championship. "It's hard not to get excited, but I can't get overexcited. I just need to stay focused and whatever happens happens."

As his Harrah's Resort performance proved, when Block stays focused, anything can happen. Look out, National Championship field.

The WSOP National Championship takes place at Caesars Atlantic City this spring. There, the top 100 performers from the Circuit compete with up to 100 of the top WSOP Player of the Year point earners for an up-to $2 million prize pool and a gold bracelet.

More information on the season-long race is available on WSOP.com.

Top 10 Casino Championship point earners at Harrah's Atlantic City:

1. Richard Block - 80 points
2. Raymond Papperman - 77.5 points
3. John Jones - 75 points
4. Brian O'Donoghue - 72.5 points
5. John Iraj - 67.5 points
6. Jamie Kerstetter - 65 points
7. David Tarbet - 60 points
8. Frank Conti - 55 points
9. Phillip Hui - 52.5 points
10. Six players tied at 50 points

 
Photo courtesy of PokerNews.com.