Chicago’s WSOP Circuit Regional Championship Final Table is Set

Hammond, IN – The final table is now set!

Players have reached the most thrilling stage of the inaugural World Series of Poker Circuit Regional Championship, currently taking place at the Horseshoe Casino, near Chicago.  There are only nine players remaining with their hopes still alive of a half-million dollar top prize, from an initial starting field of 226 entries.

When the final table begins on Thursday, October 28th at 2 pm, the nine competitors will be:

Bernard LeeSEAT 1:  Bernard Lee (Wayland, MA) – Starting with 401,000 in chips
Bernard Lee is one of poker’s most highly-accomplished all-around personalities.  He finished 13th in the 2005 WSOP Main Event and earned three major poker titles during three consecutive years between 2006 and 2008.  To date, he has won nearly $1.5 million in tournament poker during his career.  Lee is widely recognized as “the voice of poker in New England,” since he hosts ESPN’s weekly show called “Inside Edge” and has written a regular poker column for the Boston Herald newspaper.  He also represents the Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut.  Lee is a graduate of Harvard University and lives in the Boston area with his wife and two children.  He is seeking his first WSOP-related victory.

SEAT 2:  David Sands (Las Vegas, NV) – 1,360,000 in chips
David Sands is a 25-year-old professional poker player from Las Vegas, NV.  He formally worked in internet marketing before taking up poker for a living.  At one time, Sands was the number one ranked online tournament player in the world, according to one major ranking site.  He also was afforded the prestigious opportunity to become one of the “Brunson Ten,” which is a small elite group of poker players led by the legendary Doyle Brunson.  Sands cashed five times at the 2010 WSOP.

SEAT 3:  Jim Anderson (Wooster, OH) – 345,000 in chips
Jim Anderson is a 24-year-old former bartender who now plays poker.  He only began playing poker seriously this year, and has already won a $1,000 buy-in Mixed Event.  This is the second year Anderson has played on the WSOP Circuit and is his first appearance ever at a televised final table -- which he hopes will be the first success of many more to come, in the years ahead.

SEAT 4:  Tony Hartman (Skakopee, MN) – 194,000 in chips
Tony Hartman is a 43-year-old professional poker player from the Minneapolis, MN area.  He has been playing in major poker tournaments for more than a decade and has numerous cashes and final table appearances all over the country.  He has also made five final tables at the WSOP in Las Vegas.  Hartman credits much of his success to two people -- a very supportive and loving wife, and great mother.  He did not reveal if they have a piece of his action at this final table. 

SEAT 5:  Shannon Shorr (Birmingham, AL) – 905,000 in chips
Shannon Shorr is a 25-year-old professional poker player from Birmingham, AL.  He graduated from the University of Alabama, and hopes to ride the tide to victory today.  Shorr is a top online pro who plays under the name “Bluff for Rent.”  We do not know if he will do that at this final table.  But Shorr appears to be doing something right, since he has amassed more than $3.3 million in live tournament winnings.

SEAT 6:  Mark Owens (Chicago, IL) – 270,000 in chips
Mark Owens is a 38-year-old options trader from Chicago, IL.  This is only the second WSOP Circuit event he has played.  Owens cashed in one of the early events and then took some of that prize money to enter a mega-satellite at the Horseshoe Casino which cost $200.  Owens won his way into this tournament that way, turning an initial $200 investment into what is guaranteed to be at least $48,000.  Owens is a proud graduate of the University of Illinois and is even prouder to be a husband and father to two children, Justin and Ava.   

SEAT 7:  Curt Kohlberg (Weston, MA) – 863,000 in chips
Curt Kohlberg is the senior player at this final table, at the young age of 52.  He is the president of a management consulting firm.  Kohlberg is a proud graduate of both the University of Massachusetts and M.I.T.  He is married to Allegra and has three children, Alex, Sara, and Allison.  Kohlberg is a nationally-ranked squash player.  He also enjoys helicopter skiing, proving once and for all there’s never a dull moment in the life of Curt Kohlberg.

Gabe PatgorskiSEAT 8:  Gabe Patgorski (Chesapeake, VA) – 2,359,000 in chips
The chip leader is Gabe Patgorski, from Chesapeake, VA.  He is a 24-year-old poker player, who also spends much of his time working in business and hosting a talk show.  Patgorski is a graduate of the University of Virginia.  He is also a top online player who has performed very will in many major events at major sites.  Patgorski has two cashes at the WSOP in Las Vegas.  This marks his first year to play on the WSOP Circuit.  He has been the chip leader during much of this tournament and certainly poses a formidable challenge to his opponents today. 

SEAT 9:  Brandon Adams (Miami, FL) – 155,000 in chips
Brandon Adams is a highly-accomplished writer, a teacher, and professional poker player.  He has appeared regularly on many televised poker shows and final tables.  Adams has lived in New Orleans, Boston, and now resides in Miami, FL.  He was previously a teacher at Harvard University for eight years, where he taught courses in behavioral finance and international macroeconomics.  That was an ideal training ground for how he spends much of his time now, which is playing in some of the biggest cash games in the world.  In fact, he has played as high as No-Limit Hold’em with $1,000-$2,000 blinds.  If anyone is eager to join that game, Adams says he will be happy to assist with the arrangements.

The $10,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Regional Championship started on Monday.  Nearly half the field was eliminated on that day.  Day Two played to the money, which was reached at 24 players.  Day Three played to the final nine.

Many of game’s top players played in this first-time event.  Among the well-known names which entered the Nationally Televised Regional Championship were – Barry Greenstein, Gavin Smith, David Baker, Chris Bell, Chad Brown, Nick Binger, Matt Brady, Doug “Rico” Carli, Eric Froehlich, Matt Glantz, Blair Hinkle, Frank Kassela, Allen “Chainsaw” Kessler, Kathy Liebert, Jeff Madsen, Jason Mercier, Brock Parker, Sorel Mizzi, Tony Rivera, Vanessa Selbst, Dan Shak, Shannon Shorr, Justin Smith, Matt Stout, Bernard Lee, and Steve Zolotow.  However, most of those names are now long gone.

At stake is a monster-sized prize pool amounting to $2,101,800 – the largest WSOP Circuit purse in more than three years.  The winner will receive $525,449, plus the WSOP Circuit Gold Ring. 

The nine survivors are all guaranteed a seat in the $1 million freeroll National Championship tournament, to be held next May in Las Vegas – just prior to the start of the 2011 WSOP.  Only 100 players overall will qualify to participate in what will be a Gold Bracelet event, making it one of the most attractive overlays ever in poker.
Those fortunate enough to make the final nine are also guaranteed to receive at least $48,615 in prize money, which is the payout for ninth place.  But no one seems to be thinking about that number at the moment.  Most of those who still remain are shooting for the half-million dollar victory. 

Spectators are invited to attend and watch one of the most exciting poker events ever held in the Midwest.  Viewing is free and open to the public, who are over age 21.  All action takes place inside The Venue, the large entertainment center located inside the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, IN. 

The final table will be televised later on the Versus Network.  This marks the first time in three years that a WSOP Circuit Championship will appear on national television.  The date(s) and time(s) will be announced later at WSOP.COM

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