Massage therapist turned poker player captures first ring and $26K
Cherokee, North Carolina (April 14, 2014) – On Monday night, Gino Levrini closed down the World Series of Poker Circuit at Harrah’s Cherokee by winning Event 12: $580 No-Limit Hold’em for $26,501 and his first Circuit ring.
“I feel alright,” said Levrini after his victory. “I’m a little tired. This took a little longer than expected. I was supposed to leave town a while back to head to Nashville but this is better than leaving.”
Better than leaving indeed, as Levrini was able to rise to the top of a 202-entry field and seize victory. The event kicked off on Sunday, April 13 and was especially attracted the attention of those who did not advance onto Day 2 of the $1,675 Main Event or were eliminated on the second day of play. The field played 18 full levels on Day 1 and at the end of the day just 16 players bagged up.
One of those players was Circuit regular and ring winner Katherine Bowen. Bowen, who racked up a fifth-place finish in Event 10: $1,125 No-Limit Hold’em, had her sights set on winning the title of Casino Champion. A heads up appearance would earn Bowen that moniker, but it was ultimately not meant to be as she was eliminated from play in tenth place. The title was then bestowed upon Juan Mendoza, who has now won back-to-back Cherokee Casino Championship titles.
After Bowen’s elimination on the final table bubble, Levrini came into the final table with the third largest stack. Levrini had to contend with the likes of Circuit regular Sean Small, who was searching for his first Circuit ring. Small fell in seventh place, though, and Levrini went on to play an aggressive game against the rest of the field.
“The final table was definitely tough,” said Levrini. “I had the toughest player (Brandon Setzer) to my left. Some of the other players I was worried about got knocked out in brutal spots, I guess for them. Once I could get past [Setzer on my left], I could push the action and the rest of it was pretty much easy.”
Levrini eventually found himself heads up with Setzer for the title. The two played heads up for over two hours before Levrini finally got the best of his opponent.
“Really the only part I was worried about was heads up,” Levrini continued. “That dude is pretty sick.”
Levrini’s victory draws the curtain on the WSOP Circuit at Harrah’s Cherokee. Be sure to tune into our coverage of the next stop on the Circuit – Council Bluffs, Iowa – that is currently in progress.
Final table results were as follows:
1st – Gino Levrini – $26,501
2nd – Brandon Setzer – $16,379
3rd – Robert Hankins – $11,921
4th – Mike Jukich – $8,816
5th – Randy Garcia – $6,622
6th – Joshua Sidman – $5,051
7th – Sean Small – $3,911
8th – Melvin Lyon – $3,074
9th – Zachary Laxen – $2,452