Daniel Heredi Ends Vegas Series with an Emphatic Bang


Daniel Heredi decided to close out this Las Vegas Circuit series with some fireworks, winning the Casino Champion title and his second gold ring of this series.  Defeating a field of 203 players in the $365 Turbo event, Heredi claimed his second title not to mention a payday of more than $17,000.

The cash is Heredi's fourth of the series and helped him to lock up the title Caesars Palace Casino Champion and the automatic bid to the 2014 WSOP National Championship in Atlantic City May 22-24.  When asked if the second win was as good as the first, the Hungarian confirmed it was.  He then took a look at his second ring just to make sure before adding. "Yes, it is pretty too."

With this event in the books, that is a wrap for the Circui here from Caesars Palace.  Next, the series moves to Los Angeles where, on Thursday, 12 days of ring action get going at the Bicycle Casino.  We'll see you there!

Here are the final table results from Event 12:

1st: Daniel Heredi – $17,326
2nd: Ted McCollom – $10,708
3rd: Ravinder Bedi – $7,793
4th: Ian Wiley – $5,764
5th: Frank Cullen – $4,329
6th: Joseph Tosaky – $3,302
7th: Francis Fan – $2,557
8th: Donald Mathews – $2,010
9th: Truong Nguyen – $1,603

Congratulations to Casino Champ Daniel Heredi

Daniel Heredi


We aren't quite done with the 12th and final ring event of this Caesars Palace Circuit series, but we can go ahead and call the Casino Champion race for Daniel Heredi of Hungary.

The youngster kicked off this 12-day event with quite the bang, winning Event 3, the $580 No Limit Hold'em event.  He collected over $27,000 for that win, then turned around and almost made a second final table, taking eighth in the $365 Six-Handed No Limit Hold'em Event 6.  

The cashes just kept rolling in for Heredi as he made it into the money in the Main Event as well, taking 66th place.  That finish gave him the lead in the Casino Championship over Sal Musto, but then Nancy Birnbaum jumped past him in the standings thanks to her sixth place showing in the Main Event.

Heredi would not go down without a fight though and fight he did.  He took his seat in Event 12, the $365 Turbo event, and locked up Casino Champion once it got down to ten players. We are now down to the final four and it appears Heredi is trying to win Casino Champion and his scond Circuit ring in one fell swoop.

Congrats Daniel! We'll see you in Atlantic City in May!

Christian Pham Turns $200 Satellite into $200K Dream Come True




Shortly before Christian Pham took his seat in the Caesars Palace Las Vegas Circuit Main Event, he and his friends had a Chinese dinner that ended with a fortune cookie. That fortune cookie read, “All your dreams will come true.”

That cookie sure wasn’t lying.

Just a few days ago, Christian Pham was home in St Paul, Minnesota with no intention of playing poker in Sin City.  However, he got a call from a backer offering to put him into the Circuit event and fly him out to boot.  On a single day’s notice, Pham hopped a plane to Vegas with dreams of making his poker dreams come true.  Today, he did just that, winning the Circuit Main Event here in Las Vegas, earning $214,332, the Circuit ring, and the seat into the 2014 WSOP National Championship in Las Vegas. 

To add even more to Pham’s Cinderella story, consider that he won his way into the Main Event via a $200 satellite.  While Pham has a track record of results in Minnesota, this was his first big Vegas event and he made the most of this once in a lifetime opportunity at just a fraction of the cost of the buy-in.

With his sponsors and friends cheering him on, Pham played his way through a field that included bracelet winners, Main Event final tablists, and some of the best pros on the Circuit.  The final table featured competition in the form of Chris Lindh, the 16th place finisher in last year’s WSOP Main Event, ring winner Ben Keeline, and Jonathan Gaviao, who is just a month removed from his Main Event victory in the Harrah’s Tunica Main Event.

Pham came into the final day of play as the shortest stack of 14 players and certainly one of the least experienced, but that didn’t stop him from chipping up.  He doubled thru Chris Lindh during the first hour of play and never looked back, knocking out opponents, picking off bluffs, and pulling off some bluffs of his own.

Even though it was Pham making waves, as the final table field thinned, all eyes focused on Gaviao, who was attempting to become the first player to win two Circuit Main Events in the same season.  While Gaviao came up short of the second title, finishing in second place to Pham, he has put together one of the most impressive stretches of Main Event results we’ve seen on the Circuit in a couple of years.  First, he took 14th in the Choctaw Main Event, then he won at Harrah’s Tunica, and now he has a second place finish and another six-figure score to add to his career earnings.

It was quite a run for Gaviao, but today belonged to Pham, who played with panache at the table, acting quickly, keeping up the aggression, and throwing in a little theatricality for good measure.  As he explained following his victory, he knew he was a good poker player based on his Minnesota results, but this was his chance to prove himself on a larger stage.

Pham did just that, defeating a stacked field of 697 entries in this year’s event,  and now he has a national stage at his disposal come May when he takes his seat in the 2014 WSOP National Championship in Atlantic City.  When Pham learned he would be playing in front of the ESPN cameras for a gold bracelet and a chance at the lion’s share of a seven-figure prize pool, it sounded to good to be real.

It is though. As the fortune cookie says, it is a poker player’s dream come true.

Here are the final table results from the Caesars Palace Las Vegas Circuit Main Event:

1st: Christian Pham – $214,332
2nd: Jonathan Gaviao – $132,622
3rd: Allen Yu Sheng Lin – $97,273
4th: Michael Ma – $72,338
5th: Andrew Sapiro – $54,523
6th: Nancy Birnbaum – $41,642
7th: Ofer Akerman – $32,222
8th: Jesse Wilke – $25,259
9th: Chris Lindh – $20,053

Venerando Villarino Gets the Event 11 Ring, Now Eyes the Bracelet

Venerando Villarino

It is a cliche to say a final table went so quickly that, if you blinked, you might have missed it, but that is exactly what happened today in Event 11.

In the span of just about 75 minutes, Venerando Villarino decimated the nine-handed final table of the $365 No Limit Hold'em event, topping the tournament and collectin ga $21,291 payday and his first ring.

As Villarino tells it, the final table was really a tag team effort between himself and runner-up Tyler Morris.  According to him, they were the agressors at the table and, in tandem, managed to plow through the competition.

In fact, it was only once play got heads-up that action slowed down at all.  Morris, who won a huge payday and a National Championship seat when he took down the Choctaw Circuit Main Event back in January, was looking for a second ring that would make his birthday (which was today) one to remember.

Morris had to settle for second, but Villarino was quick to say it wasn't because the youngster from Texas was outmatched–the cards were simply with Villarino this afternoon.

For Villarino, this is a career-high score in a semi-professional poker career that dates back to 2004.  This las Vegas local splits his time between computer programming and poker, though a win like this has him thinking it might be time to play a little bigger.

"I think this is the year I play some of the summer events at the WSOP," Villarino admitted following his win.

After a dominant final table performance like this one, we don't blame him for the boost in confidence that, now that he has the ring, it is time to go for the bracelet.

Here are the final table results for Event 11:

1st: Venerando Villarino – $21,291
2nd: Tyler Morris – $13,164
3rd: Joseph Crisante – $9,561
4th: Mariano Alaniz – $7,062
5th: Oran Haynes – $5,302
6th: Bryan Sandrock – $4,043
7th: Joseph Noujeim – $3,132
8th: Steven Blixt – $2,463
9th: Chad Wassmuth – $1,965

Event 12 Prize Pool Info

The $365 buy-in No Limit Hold'em Turbo event drew 203 entries, generating a prize pool of $69,300.  The top 24 finishers in the event will each earn a payday of, at worst, $640, while the winner will take home $17,326. Here is a look at the payouts:

1st: $17,326
2nd: $10,708
3rd: $7,793
4th: $5,764
5th: $4,329
6th: $3,302
7th: $2,557
8th: $2,010
9th: $1,603
10th-12th: $1,297
13th-15th: $1,065
16th-18th: $866
19th-21st: $748
22nd-24th: $640

In addition to money, we've got Casino Champion points on the line as well.  Nancy Birnbaum has set the benchmark to beat at 80 points thanks to her three final table appearances, including her sixth place showing in the Main Event, which means someone is almost certainly going to have to final table this tournament if they want a shot at passing her.