A Really Big Show
Lou Cheffy Wins $183,983 and Gold Ring
Palm Beach Opener Draws Largest Field of the Season – 2,539 Players
The opening event at the Palm Beach Kennel Club was expected to be huge, but no one knew quite how many players might turn up from South Florida – and all over the country and indeed Latin America for the first gold ring event of the 12-event schedule.
As things turned out, the $580 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em tournament attracted the biggest crowd of any competition so far this season, with a total number of entries at 2,539 players.Not only was this the highest attendance figure of any tournament played so far during the 2012-2013 WSOP Circuit season which dates back to August 2012, the turnout is also the second-largest major poker tournament ever held in the state of Florida.Previously, the current season's biggest tournament was the re-entry opener held at Horseshoe Hammond (Chicago). That event played in October 2012 attracted 2,498 players. It should also be noted that this tournament in Florida had a higher buy-in – $580 as opposed to $365 for the former record-holder.The record for the largest major poker tournament ever held in Florida was set at last year's opener here at West Palm Beach -- Event 1 in February 2012. The attendance figure was 2,607 players, which obliterated all previous attendance figures for this state. With close to a new high mark set again and the bar raised higher, breaking the opening numbers from the last two WSOP Circuit stops here in Florida will be a stretch.
No doubt, attendance and interest was boosted significantly by a widely-advertised $1,000,000 prize pool guarantee, posted by the Palm Beach Kennel Club. As things turned out, the total prize pool was a quarter-million higher, closing at $1,269,000.
More players collected prize money in this event than any other this season. A whopping 281 players took home prize money, event more than were paid last year. Only Chicago's 2011 opener, which drew more than 3,000 players paid more recipients money than this event in WSOP Circuit history.Atop the mountain of prize money after six long days and nights of intense competition was Lou Cheffy, from Naples, FL. He collected a whopping $183,983 in prize money, plus his first gold ring. It was the biggest cash prize Cheffy has ever won.Cheffy is a 54-year-old financial planner -- fitting given his huge cash infusion into his portfolio. He previously worked as an attorney. Cheffy is originally from Ohio. His best poker showing up to this point had been a 29th-place finish in the WSOP Seniors Championship, back in 2011.The runner up was Joel Furney, from Quitman, GA. He arrived as the final table as chip leader, but couldn't quite outlast one final adversary. Still, Furney collected a nice consolation prize amounting to $114,540.
The final table included two players who hoped to boost their jewelry collection, but both came up short. Davd Nicholson has a shot to win his fifth gold ring. He came in with an average-sized stack, but suffered a tough hour at the final table and exited in ninth place. John Holley didn't fare much better. He was going for gold ring number three, but instead exited in seventh place.