Event 5 — Official Report

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 2012/2013 World Series of Poker Circuit

Season Nine
Harrah’s New Orleans
New Orleans, Louisiana
Event 5
No-Limit Hold’em
Buy-In $300 (+65)
Total Entries:  276
Prize Pool:  $82,800
May 11-12, 2013

Nancy Birnbaum Wins Third Gold Ring

Second WSOP Circuit victory this season for tournament grinder

Las Vegas poker pro ties La Sengphet for most WSOP Circuit wins by female

Nancy Birnbaum made history tonight at Harrah’s New Orleans.  She’s the latest winner of a gold ring as part of the WSOP Circuit.

Birnbaum won Event 5, a $365 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tourney which took two long 14-hour days to complete.  First place paid $19,875.  The Las Vegas resident and tournament grinder was presented with her third gold ring.  Before playing poker full time, Birnbaum lived in Atlanta where she worked in sales for BMW.

The win rocketed Birnbaum into a tie for most WSOP Circuit wins ever by a female — with three.  Until tonight, the title had been exclusively held by La Sengphet, from Dallas.

Most impressive was the manner of Birnbaum’s victory, which included a remarkable comeback from the dead.  With five players remaining, she had barely enough chips for a few rounds of blinds.  Then the cards turned and Birnbaum’s patience and experience paid off.

This was Birnbaum’s second time to win a gold ring here in New Orleans.  Her first victory took place here in 2009.  Last December, she won her second gold ring at Harrah’s Rincon.  She’s also  finished second twice in gold ring events.  With all due respect to Sengphet and others, Birnbaum now stands as the top female player of the 2012-2013 season, an honor that’s well deserved based on her commitment to the game.

“I’m thrilled to win this,” Birnbuam said.  “I really dedicated myself to playing well.  I was so low on chips at one point that I didn’t think it would happen.  But this shows you what’s possible if you stay focused and never give up.”

The runner up was Kevin Choe, a 25-year-old financier from Burke, VA.

The fifth of 12 gold ring events attracted 296 players.  The two-day $365 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament went longer than expected due to some stellar play at the late stages by the top finishers.

There were other notable developments from this tournament, as well.  Loni Harwood, a two-time winner from Staten Island, NY finished in the money.  She was also seeking her third gold ring.  Indeed, this turned out to be “ladies night” at Harrah’s New Orleans.

The tournament generated a prize pool totaling $82,800.  The top 18 finishers collected prize money.  The final table finishers were as follows:

1st    Nancy Birnbaum    ATLANTA, GA, US                $19,875
2nd    Kevin Choe        BURKE, VA, US                $12,281
3rd    Drennon Rackley    DALTON, GA, US                $8,911
4th    Shawn Trahan        YOUNGSVILLE, LA, US            $6,574
5th    Wade Woelfel        MANKATO, MN, US                $4,931
6th    Oran Haynes        GRAMBLING, LA, US            $3,757
7th    Brennan Benglis    LAKE CHARLES, LA, US            $2,908
8th    Mihail Karasoulis    METAIRIE, LA, US                $2,285
9th    Derrick Evangelista    STAFFORD, TX, US                $1,823