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2010/11 WSOP Circuit - Regional Championship - HARRAH'S RINCON (San Diego area)

Sunday, March 27, 2011 to Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Event #39: $10,300 No-Limit Hold'em Regional Championship - Nationally Televised

  • Buy-in: $10,300
  • Prizepool: $950,600
  • Entries: 98
  • Remaining: 0

EVENT UPDATES

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011 12:22 PM Local Time

From early position, Steve Brecher raised to 20,000. Ali Eslami called from the cutoff seat and Tim West called out of the big blind. The flop came down     and West checked. Brecher fired 47,000 (or what looked to be 47,000 from our vantage point) and Eslami made the call. West folded.

The turn brought the   and both players checked to see the   fall on the river. Brecher checked with about 110,000 behind. Eslami thought for a minute and then moved all in, having Brecher covered. Brecher folded and Eslami won the pot. He's up to about 550,000 now.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 12:06 PM Local Time

Action folded to David Peters in the small blind and he raised to 22,000. Ali Eslami was in the big blind and made the call to see the     flop. Peters fired out 30,000 and Eslami thought for a bit. He then raised to 75,000. Peters folded and Eslami won the pot.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 11:58 AM Local Time

Dana Kellstrom

On the flop of    , Dana Kellstrom fired a bet of 25,000. Miller Dao, fresh off his double up, tanked for a few moments and then gave it up. Kellstrom tabled the    for top pair, top kicker and collected the pot.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 11:54 AM Local Time

We missed the action, but Miller Dao just doubled up for 94,000 and is now sitting with approximately 200,000 in chips. He doubled through Dwyte Pilgrim, who was knocked back to to about 300,000.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 11:49 AM Local Time

Not much has happened in the last 11 minutes of Level 20. Dana Kellstrom took the first pot of the final table and received a nice round of applause from his cheering section.

The action is not being announced at the final table right now, which makes it a bit difficult for us to gather information as we are seated at a media table about 25 feet from the table behind the bleechers set up for the fans, but we're working on it in order to provide as much details of the action as possible.

COPAG USA
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 11:37 AM Local Time

The announcements have been made and the cards are in the air. Time to crown a champion!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 11:01 AM Local Time

Dwyte Pilgrim

"Where Broolyn at! Where Brooklyn at! We gonna do it like this. Anytime you're ready, check it!" - Notorious B.I.G.

This man needs no introduction on the World Series of Poker Circuit tour. Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, Pilgrim has three WSOP Circuit gold rings, one World Poker Tour title where he "shocked the world", and nearly $1.7 million in live tournament earnings.

Pilgrim came onto the scene in 2008 with a few small cashes before he won his first gold ring at the WSOP Circuit event held at Caesars Atlantic City. Pilgrim won $83,955 in that performance, which was back in March 2009. In the same month, Pilgrim won the Harrah's Rincon WSOP Circuit Championship Event for $125,775.

Fast forward to 2010 where Pilgrim had his greatest year on the felt ever. He started off the year with a couple of wins at the Southern Poker Championship in Biloxi before heading up to Connecticut and winning an event at the Foxwoods Mega Stack Challenge XV. In March 2010, Pilgrim won his third WSOP Circuit gold ring back in Rincon.

After a fairly successful WSOP that saw him run deep in a $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em event, final table the $2,500 Limit/No-Limit Hold'em event and cash in the Main Event, Pilgrim kept up his winning ways by capturing the largest-ever World Poker Tour event. In September, Pilgrim won the 2010 Borgata Poker Open that had a field of 1,042 players. He earned himself his largest score ever with $733,802 before ending out the year with over $1.18 million in earnings.

If Pilgrim can win this event, he'll earn his fourth gold ring and tie Mark "Pegasus" Smith and Men "the Master" Nguyen. He enters the final table third in chips with 408,000.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 10:47 AM Local Time

Miller Dao

Miller Dao is one of two players coming into the final table under 100,000 in chips. Dao will enter the final table as the the second shortest stack with 99,000, only ahead of Dylan Wilkerson.

From Maricopa, California, Dao is a police officer originally born in Vietnam. He holds over $62,000 in live tournament winnings to his name including one World Series of Poker cash. That came came this past year in a $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em event.

The largest score on Dao's record is a fifth-place finish in a $500 No-Limit Hold'em event at the 2009 Venetian Deep Stack Extravaganza III. Dao placed fifth in that event for $18,239. That was his second final table of the series, previously taking seventh in a similar event for $11,503. At this WSOP Circuit stop, Dao took third in a preliminary $555 No-Limit Hold'em ring event that was won by Casino Champion Mstr Lynch.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 10:37 AM Local Time

David Peters

David Peters enters the final table second in chips with 434,000. That's still over 400,000 chips behind the chip leader Tim West. Peters is 50 years old and an attorney by profession.

Peters is from Rancho Santa Fe, California and holds over $600,000 in live tournament earnings. He has a few World Series of Poker cashes on record and a few tournaments wins. He also final tabled the WSOP Circuit Championship Event in Rincon back in February 2008 where he went on to finish second to $120,156. That's his largest score to day. Peters' largest win came at the 2008 Festa al Lago Classic in Las Vegas. There Peters won a $3,000 No-Limit Hold'em event for $63,295.

His best WSOP finish was in 2008. Peters won $11,385 for coming in 47th place in the $2,000 No-Limit Hold'em event. That same year he had three other WSOP cashes as well.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 10:36 AM Local Time

Ali Eslami

After Day 1, Ali Eslami led the field in this $10,000 Regional Championship. He's been able to keep himself towards the top of the leader board since and has made it to the final table fourth in chips with 395,000.

Eslami is from Los Angeles, California and regularly plays the highest cash games in the world with some of the best players. That doesn't mean he doesn't know how to play tournaments though and seems to fair pretty well when he does, having earned himself over $370,000 in live tournament earnings.

Eslami has cashed in World Series of Poker events 10 times and made two final tables. His first WSOP final table came in 2007 in the $2,500 H.O.R.S.E. event. He took fifth place in that event for $2,501. In 2008, Eslami found himself at the final table of the $1,500 Limit Hold'em event and eventually went on to finish in seventh place for $41,441. He's cashed in the Main Event only once, back in 2004 for $45,000 after coming in 45th place.

In July 2007, Eslami joined Phil Laak in a competition against Polaris, a poker bot designed by the computer poker research group at the University of Alberta. Both Eslami and Laak played four duplicate matches of 500 hands each for a total of 16 hours. In each match, the same cards were dealt to both pairs of players, human and bot, but with the seating reversed. In the first match, the players and Polaris tied. In the second, Polaris won. In the third and fourth, the players won. Eslami and Laak split the $10,000 prize for defeating Polaris in matches three and four along with $2,500 for scoring a tie in the first match.

Just recently, Eslami was in Los Angeles for THe Big Event at The Bicycle Casino. In the Main Event there, Eslami took 35th place for $9,000. Just a couple days later, he made the final table of the $10,000 Bounty Shootout at the same event and went on to finish in second place for $56,000.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 10:36 AM Local Time

D.J. Blanchard

D.J. Blanchard is a 22-year-old University of Nevada-Las Vegas student who considers himself a professional poker poker. Blanchard is originally from Augusta, Georgia. He now lives in Las Vegas, Nevada where UNLV is located and is just one semester shy of graduating.

Checking in on Blanchard's records, we see that he has nearly $40,000 in live tournament earnings and three World Series of Poker cashes. Last year at the WSOP, Blanchard cashed in two $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em events and one $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em event. His best live finish to date is a second place in an event at the Caesars Palace Classic in 2009 for $13,774.

Making this final table is by far the best performance of Blanchard's young poker career and he still has a lot of room to improve upon that. He'll enter the table right in the middle of the pack, fifth in chips with 271,000.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 10:35 AM Local Time

Tim West

Tim West comes into the final table as the chip leader in a big way. He holds over 400,000 more chips than his next closest competitor and has over 28% of the chips in play. He is 25 years old and hails from San Francisco, California.

With nearly $1.3 million in career tournament winnings coming from a long list of live cashes, West is a pretty recognizable face in the poker community. On top of that, West holds over $3.6 million in online tournament earnings where he most commonly goes by the name "Tmay420".

In 2009 and 2010, West didn't do too much on the live felt. In fact, he barely broke into six figures for earnings when you combine both of those years, winning $41,084 in 2009 and $61,309 in 2010. His best year live came in 2008 when he earned himself over $320,000. His best single live score came in December 2006 when West took second place in the $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em event at the Fifth Annual Five Diamond World Poker Classic in Las Vegas. That score netted him $181,115.

West's 2011 has been off to an extremely solid start. A month ago in February, West scored a 21st-place finish in the $10,000 No-Limit Hold'em Championship Event at the World Poker Tour L.A. Poker Classic. He earned $43,800 for his run there, but did a lot better just days before heading here to Rincon.

West scored first place in the Wynn Classic $5,170 Main Event after beating a field of 212 players. The field was packed with big names and West had to conquer a tough final table to earn the title. It was one that included John Kim, Carter King, Eric Froehlich, Max Steinberg, Matt Waxman and Annette Obrestad, who West eventually beat heads up for the win. Not only did West win the event, but he pocketed his largest live cash with a first-place prize of $318,738. That puts his total for 2011 at $362,538, which makes it his best year ever even despite only being three months in.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 10:35 AM Local Time

Dylan Wilkerson

Here is the final table short stack, Dylan Wilkerson from San Francisco, California. Wilkerson is a 26-year-old poker pro and has a lot of work cut out for him if he's going to go on to win this thing. He has just 89,000 chips entering the final table.

When we looked up Wilkerson's results, we found he has three live cashes for a total of $33,628. That means he's nearly doubled that already with this final table. The largest cash he has on record is a second-place finish in a side event at the 2008 APPT Sydney Big Game Poker Championships for $21,967. That means this finish, which has earned him at least $24,235, is the largest of Wilkerson's live poker career.

Wilkerson graduated from UC-Berkley and will need to be able to think quick on his feet if he wants to find himself climbing the ladder in this one.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 10:35 AM Local Time

Steve Brecher

Steve Brecher from Reno, Nevada holds over $2 million in live tournament earnings and is a Full Tilt Poker Red Pro. He has a few World Series of Poker cashes to his name, but the bulk of his success has come on the World Poker Tour where he has 14 cashes and one title.

At the Bay 101 Shooting Stars event in March 2009, Brecher bested a field of 391 players to take home the $1,025,500 first-place prize. He had to beat tough tournament professional Kathy Liebert heads up to do it, which is no easy task. That's by far Brecher's largest score, but he's had some other decent results to go along with it.

In 2004, Brecher scored sixth place in the WPT Championship for $232,862. In 2005, Brecher scored third place at the United States Poker Championship in Atlantic City for $218,250. In 2009, Brecher won $99,641 for coming in eighth place at the Foxwoods World Poker Finals WPT event.

Brecher holds a degree from Stanford University and is 65 years old. He is a computer software programmer and marketer who frequents the tournament circuit. He'll enter his first-ever WSOP Circuit final table with 246,000 in chips.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 10:35 AM Local Time

Dana Kellstrom

Dana Kellstrom from Stevenson Ranch, California, is a 47-year-old poker player and entrepreneur. He holds over $165,000 in career tournament earnings coming into this event and with this final table here, will add a minimum of $24,235 to that total. On his record are four World Series of Poker cashes. One of those came in 2009 and three in 2010. His best finish money wise came in the 2009 WSOP Main Event where Kellstrom placed 620th for a payday worth $21,365.

Kellstrom's largest score is $38,000 and came from a 61st-place finish in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event. Not bad at all for a $10,000 buy-in event that attracted 1,560 players.

Kellstrom is married and has four children. He'd like to give a shout out to them along with the cigar boys from back home. He's one of the shorter stacks to start the final table, but anything can happen in this game.

COPAG USA
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 10:33 AM Local Time

Welcome to the final table of the 2010-11 World Series of Poker West Regional Championship! It's going to be another great one and PokerNews in on location in Rincon at Harrah's to bring you all the live coverage straight from the final table.

Leading the final nine is Tim West with 843,000 in chips. West has a big lead on the rest of the table, holding nearly a third of the chips in play and over 400,000 more than his next closest competitor David Peters. Sitting in third place is Dwyte Pilgrim, who already holds three WSOP Circuit gold rings including a win at the 2009 Harrah's Rincon Circuit Championship Event. Ali Eslami and Steve Brecher have also made the final table while Dylan Wilkerson comes in as the short stack.

Here's a look at how the players are seated at the final table and what their stacks look like.

SeatPlayerChips
1Dwyte Pilgrim408,000
2Miller Dao99,000
3David Peters437,000
4Ali Eslami395,000
5D.J. Blanchard271,000
6Tim West843,000
7Dylan Wilkerson89,000
8Steve Brecher246,000
9Dana Kellstrom147,000

Play is set to kick off at 12:00 PM PST, but that could be delayed a bit as the production works to set everything up to film the final table to air at a later date on the Versus Network. We have no problem waiting around and neither should you because the action is going to be great. Be sure to stay tuned for all of the action shortly!