Eric Suarez is a local from nearby Glen Mills, PA, who makes his living as a bartender.  He's a tournament regular here at Harrah's Philadelphia and prior to this series, only had two Circuit cashes to his credit.  In the last event of the WSOP Circuit Series, he locked up the title of Casino Champion and a seat in the National Championship.

"You're sure?  It's a lock?" he asked and after getting confirmation, a fist-pump was his only celebration.  He says his poker ambition is "Winning," and that's what he's doing.

After his win in Event 2, $365 NLH Re-Entry, Suarez said he was "not chasing points" for either race and was "not going to take any time off from work to play".  As it turned out, the lure of a seat in the season-ending National Championship with a $1 Million prize pool was too much for him.

He was back on the felt in Event 4, $580 NLH, and after finishing in fifth place for another 25 points, he set the bar pretty high with a total of 75 points. The race was on and with eight more ring events to go, there were still a lot of points to be won.

Phillip Hui, winner of Event 4 and his fourth WSOP Circuit ring, closed the gap with an eighth place finish in Event 6, moving up to 67.5 points.  All of the other ring event winners were within striking distance with 50 points each.  It all came down to the final day of the series.  Antonio Payne, winner of Event 8, $580 NLH, made it to sixth place in the main event, earning 35 points for a total of 85.  This put him ahead of Suarez on the leaderboard by ten points.

Eric Suarez was still in Event 12, $365 Turbo NLH, which was the final event and which was nearing the money bubble with 14 players remaining.  Eric needed to finish at least ninth to earn 15 points to take the title of Casino Champion.

If Suarez busted out short of ninth place, there was still a longshot.  David Urban had 37.5 points and with a win in Event 12, he would take the title with 87.5 points. "I like both of these guys, [referring to Payne and Urban] so I'm OK with it whoever wins" Suarez said as the race came down to the wire.

Suarez's ninth place finish in Event 12 gave him a total of 90 points and the title, earning him the seat in the season ending National Championship.  The 42-year-old will be at Bally's in Atlantic City May 22-24 taking his shot at a share of the $1 Million prize pool and WSOP gold bracelet.

Eric Suarez's results during the Harrah's Philadelphia WSOP Circuit series:
Event 2, $365 NLH Re-Entry:   1st    $22,839  50 points
Event 4, $580 NLH:                  5th    $2,730   25 points
Event 12, $365 Turbo NLH:     9th    $719     15 points