Tuesday, February 03, 2009

WSOP Tunica Championship Event Kicks off Today, by Tom Jenkins - Poker News Daily - 2nd February 2009

The Deep South plays host to another high stakes tournament this week. Fresh off the conclusion of the World Poker Tour’s (WPT) Southern Poker Championship, the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Circuit Event Championship begins today. Harrah’s Casino in Tunica plays host this time around to some of poker’s top players.

Last month, the Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Mississippi was the site of the WPT festivities, which saw Allen “AawwNutz” Carter take home $1 million for the win. Two weeks later, the action moves north to Tunica, located just outside of Memphis, Tennessee. The $5,150 buy-in WSOP Circuit Event Championship begins today and will crown a champion on Wednesday. Each player will begin with 20,000 chips and the blind levels will last for 40 minutes. Each level is followed by a 15 minute break and play will occur on Monday until the final 27 remain. On Tuesday, the survivors will return to Harrah’s to determine a final table. A winner will be named on Wednesday.

A total of 15 events comprise the WSOP schedule in Tunica. In the $340 buy-in opening No Limit Hold’em tournament, Ronald Sewell defeated a field of 540 entrants en route to a $37,000 payday. Sewell defeated Mark “Pegasus” Smith heads-up; the runner up took home $18,000 for his efforts. Event #2, another $340 buy-in No Limit Hold’em event, was taken down by Perry Ernest, who blazed through 446 players and walked away with $32,000. Vincent Meeks finished second in that tournament and earned $16,000.

Event #3 kicked off on January 22nd. At the end of the two day tournament, Michael Ratcliff earned $37,000 for his win in the $340 buy-in No Limit Hold’em tournament, besting Kevin Miles, who pocketed an $18,000 consolation prize. In the tournament series’ first $540 buy-in tournament, Reginald Roberts outlasted a field of 469 players. In the end, Roberts battled against Scotty Carroll, who amassed $29,000 for his second place showing. Event #5 saw Nic Vita and Ethan Foulkes duel heads-up, with the former winning $65,000 for first. The event attracted a healthy 905 entrants, the largest turnout in an event so far.

Event #6 was a $440 buy-in No Limit Hold’em tournament in which Mark Fleddermann won his second WSOP Circuit Event title. In 2005, he tasted victory in a $1,500 No Limit event in Tunica for $118,000, outlasting a final table that included poker pro Mark Seif. The $230 buy-in No Limit Hold’em tournament (Event #7), as expected, had a sizable field, as 621 players took to the felts at Harrah’s. The contest’s finale saw Kevin Waldie defeat Robert Castoire, with the pair taking home $30,000 and $15,000, respectively.

Dennis Booze was the talk of the town in Event #8, a $230 buy-in No Limit Hold’em tournament. Booze won $22,000 for his efforts, twice as much as Michael McKee, whom he beat heads-up; a total of 470 entrants turned out. It was Booze’s third WSOP Circuit Event final table; the other two came at Harrah’s New Orleans and Caesars Indiana (now Horseshoe Indiana).

Many poker players will recall Ken Smith’s run through the 2007 WSOP Main Event in Las Vegas. Smith finished 50th in the $10,000 buy-in tournament for $190,000. In Event #9 at Harrah’s Tunica, he was back to his winning ways, emerging victorious atop the field for $26,000. In the subsequent $440 buy-in No Limit Hold’em tournament, another Ken, Kenny Long, defeated a field of 316 poker hopefuls. Long won $30,000, besting a player who got his start in the Deep South, Team PokerStars Pro and 2003 WSOP Main Event Champion Chris Moneymaker.

Mike Carter defeated Sean McMahon in a $550 buy-in No Limit Hold’em tournament. The event, #11, drew 416 entries, including former WSOP Circuit Event winner Allen Kessler, who finished in ninth place. The final preliminary event completed prior to Monday’s start of the $5,150 feature tournament saw Justin Truesdell (truesyalose online) defeat Chris Love for a first place prize of $77,000.

The “Shuffle Up and Deal” order for the Main Event will be issued at Noon Central Time today. (Credit: Poker News Daily)

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