A little more than two weeks ago, PokerListings.com kicked off its expanded tournament coverage with a focus on the World Poker Tour Season 5 Festa al Lago event at Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Last week we raised the bar with our coverage of the WPT's next stop in Niagara Falls, including the most comprehensive coverage you could find of the Canadian Poker Open and a smorgasbord of features from the North American Poker Championship. Now it's time to take our coverage to the next level. That's right - I'm talking about the 2006 World Series of Poker Circuit events.
Immediately after the thrilling conclusion of the Canadian Open at Fallsview in Canada, Matt and I hopped on a series of small airplanes and made our way to Louisville, Ky. - or more accurately, Elizabeth, Ind. - home of Harrah's enormous Caesars Indiana casino complex and site of the WSOPC tournament of the same name.
We're kicking off our WSOP Circuit coverage right here, right now, and between the amazing facilities and the southern hospitality, we couldn't have picked a better tournament with which to get it done.
The Caesars Indiana $5,000 Main Event started on Oct. 31 with 169 players vying for a piece of the $819,650 prize pool, including a $262,002 first prize. Professionals like Vanessa Rousso, Joe Sebok, Alex Jacob and David Williams, as well as poker vixens Chantel McNulty and Brandi Hawbaker, converged on the Caesars Riverboat to do battle with a collection of other lesser known pros (Dustin "Neverwin" Woolf, Bryan Micon) as well as local players and amateurs. Oh yeah - three-time WSOP bracelet winner Hilbert Shirey was also in attendance.
The first day was not kind to the professionals, with David Williams lasting barely a level and Joe Sebok leaving on loud and unhappy terms after moving all-in with K-9 and getting a call from a player with A-9. Sebok didn't appreciate the call, and made his feelings well-known as he (eventually) left the poker area. As play approaches the bubble on Day 2 there are no big names left and even the lesser known pros have fallen by the wayside, save only Hilbert Shirey, who soldiers on into the night on the second day.
One player who is still in contention is online tournament phenom Chad Batista, the Coral Springs, Fla., native who looks as though he's about 12 until you see the $50,000 diamond grill he's rocking Paul Wall-style in his teeth. Batista leads the field in personality and is not far off the lead in chips, and I'm not going to lie; I'm hoping to see him at the final table just to inject a little outrageousness into the proceedings. He's not Bryan Micon, but he's probably the next best thing.
Play will continue into the night, with the plan to end the day once a final table of nine players has been established. (Remember, this is the WSOPC and not the World Poker Tour, meaning final tables are comprised of nine and not the more TV-genic six players.) The final table will start tomorrow afternoon and play until one lucky survivor is left standing to take home the cash and the WSOPC ring.
PokerListings.com will cover the Caesars Indiana event on the WSOPC until the thrilling conclusion tomorrow. Then it's back to home base for a little bit of a lull in the action before WPT Season 5 resumes at Foxwoods Resort Casino on Nov. 12.
As far as World Series of Poker Circuit events go, we'll be at them all. The schedule will see us in Atlantic City in December, as well as at the Grand Casino Tunica in January and at the Horseshoe Council Bluffs in Iowa in early February. You can check our WSOPC schedule for the full details, but you can rest assured PokerListing.com will be at every tournament with our trademark live updates, exclusive photographs and interviews, comprehensive results and more. Hopefully we'll see you at some of the stops, and with any luck, we'll be able to put your name at the top of our leaderboard.