Elizabeth, IN (October 14, 2013) — A year and a half ago, Zal Irani made a very bold decision. For 17 years he had made a very nice living as a Certified Financial Planner, but poker was calling his name. He decided to step down from his job to give poker a shot. The Chicago native has done very well for himself since making this career change. The one thing that eluded him was a big victory on his resume. After today, that is no longer an issue. Irani is the winner of the Horseshoe Southern Indiana Circuit Main Event.
The Main Event featured two starting days that drew at total of 301 total players, creating a prize pool of $451,500. The final 33 spots would finish in the money with first place taking home $106,103 and the Circuit ring. Just under 100 players took their seats on Day 2 and the play was very fast. Half the field was eliminated within the first four levels of play. A number of notable players were knocked out short of the money, including Amanda Musumeci, Aaron Massey, Aaron Steury, Jacob Bazeley and Nathan Bjerno.
Eric Fields, who won the $365 Pot-Limit Omaha with Rebuys event here at the Horseshoe Southern Indiana, was the bubble boy. Eric Crain eliminated him to take the field down to 33 and in the money.
The fast pace continued as we reached the final table just six hours after hitting the money. Bernard Lee was the final table bubble boy as Lee got all-in with    but was unable to run down the pocket deuces of Sean Lippel. Lee took home $7,933 for his 10th place finish.
The final day of play began with Robert Georato holding a commanding chip lead but that would all change rather quickly. While Irani came into the final table sixth in chips, he quickly accumulated a stack and spent most of the final table well above average.
Georato was unable to maintain his massive chip lead, eventually being eliminated in 7th place. The action continued to be played at a fast pace until we reached the final four player. Four-handed play continued for nearly four hours before Ryan Jones was eliminated in fourth place by Sean Lippel.
Start of Day 2 chip leader Lippel held nearly half the chips in play three-handed but another three hours of play went by and Lippel was knocked out in third place by Irani.
The heads up match between Irani and Michael Hahn remained even for quite some time with neither player stringing together enough hands to clinch a dominating chip lead. The match came to a head when Irani flopped two pair and was able to fade Hahn's flush draw and outs for a higher two pair that he picked up on the turn. The match saw its final hand a few deals later with Irani coming out on top of a preflop all in confrontation.
For his victory, Irani takes home $106,103, his first WSOP Circuit ring and a seat to the WSOP National Championship.
After his win, Irani talked about his decision to give up a solid job to play poker.
“I gave up a six-figure job to play poker. Now, here we are a year and a half later and I have nearly $400,000 in earnings since then,” Irani said. “I almost won my first ring in Hammond but it is nice to finally get one. I will be heading up to Hammond next week to play some more since that is in my backyard.”
It looks as if Zal Irani may have made a good career change after all.
Final table results:
1st: Zal Irani – $106,103

2nd: Michael Hahn – $63,928

3rd: Sean Lippel – $47,647

4th: Ryan Jones – $35,194

5th: Nick Phillips- $26,422

6th: Robert Geith – $20,150

7th: Robert Georato – $15,608

8th: Allan Vrooman – $12,272

9th: Donald Crabtree – $9,793

Full results available on