Goodbye from Cincinnati

Horseshoe CincinnatiThe first-ever 2013/2014 WSOP Circuit at Horseshoe Casino in Cincinnati concluded Monday night with the crowning of the Main Event winner. Brad Albrinck, who was born and raised in Cincinnati, earned his first Main Event title, $221,994 and a berth in the WSOP National Championship for outlasting the 740-entry field in the finale.

Joining Albrinck at the National Championship is Samuel Panzica. At just 21 years old, Panzica earned two gold rings and recorded a 30th-place finish in the Main Event to earn 110 points and don Casino Champion honors.

More on the 12-day series is available in the posts below.

WSOP Circuit action starts up again Thursday at Horseshoe Casino in Souther Indiana. That full schedule is available on

Until next time, Cincinnati!

Brad Albrinck Wins First-Ever Queen City Circuit Title

Brad Albrinck Winner

After a large turnout at the first ever WSOP Circuit event in Ohio, it was none other than a local engineer who took home the WSOP Circuit Main Event at the Horseshoe Casino in downtown Cincinnati. Brad Albrinck, a 28-year old Cincinnati native, took home his first Circuit title and $221,994 on Monday night.

Albrinck was born and raised in Cincinnati before heading off to Purdue University for his undergraduate degree. He came back to his hometown and attended the University of Cincinnati to get his masters degree. He has been a solid waste engineer in his hometown for the last three years.

“It’s several years of my salary,” said Albrinck with a laugh about his first place money. “You know that when you go play these things you are going to have the downswings so it’s nice to have the upswing.”

With the event being so close to his home, he was able to close out his heads-up match with some of his family and friends in attendance. He was heads-up with another Ohio native, David Kash before he dispensed of him fairly quickly to take the title. Heads-up play only lasted a few hands before Kash and Albrinck got all the chips in the middle preflop. Albrinck was holding A-K against Kash’s A-T. When Albrinck faded a three-outer, the hardware was all his.

Even though Albrinck is only a part-time player, don’t underestimate his poker ability. Before his ring in Cincinnati, Albrinck has racked up $138,575 in career WSOP earnings and he final tabled the 2012 WSOP Circuit Main Event in Hammond, IN, finishing sixth for $80,179.

His deep run in Hammond prepared him for the grind that can be a final table.

“Going back to my experience in Hammond, it’s definitely a grind,” said Albrinck. “You have to have that mindset going in and play kind of small pots until you pick up something and can go after the big one.”

Albrinck navigated his way through a pretty tough final table, highlighted by 2011 WSOP bracelet winner Aaron Steury. Kevin McColgan and Josh Williams also made appearances at the final table. McColgan already has two rings to his name, while Williams took home a ring at the Main Event in Hammond, where Albrinck finished sixth.

“It feels amazing,” said Albrinck about his win. “So many times you can get deep in these things and to actually win something and get this kind of prize is an unbelievable feeling.”

Along with the prize money and the hardware, Albrinck earned himself a seat in the WSOP Circuit National Championship, which takes place in Atlantic City in May.

“I’m extremely excited about it,” said Albrinck about the seat. “It’s hard to play as much as the other guys and qualify with the points so to just win the main event and be able to get out and play with those guys is going to be a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to it.”

The event began on Friday with two Day 1s and was a re-entry event where players could take their shot at both Day 1s. It generated a prizepool of over $1.1 million and gave three players a six figure pay day. It was a general consensus among players that the staff at the Horseshoe did a great job handling the event.

“I’ve been to a few different stops and I honestly feel that this is one of the best run venues I’ve seen,” said Albrinck about the event. “Having it 20 minutes away from my house is pretty nice also.”

Here are the final table results from the Horseshoe Cincinnati Main Event:

1st: Brad Albricnk – $221,994
2nd: David Kash – $136,863
3rd: Greg Kolo – $100,899
4th: Viet Vo – $75,203
5th: Josh Williams – $56,799
6th: Aaron Steury – $43,457
7th: Ray Attiyah – $33,666
8th: Rory Monahan – $26,407
9th: Kevin McColgan – $20,968

Full results available on

Andy Spears Bags Gold in Queen City

Andrew Spears WinnerLaw school graduate finds success on the felt, closes the book on his first gold ring.

Pavlin Karakikov comes up three spots shy of stealing Casino Champion honors.

Andrew Spears earned his first gold ring in Horseshoe Cincinnati’s final WSOP Circuit event. It took spears just nine hours to navigate through the 120-person field of the $365 No-Limit Hold’em One-Day tournament and it awarded him $10,801.

Spears is a 25-year-old law school graduate from Buffalo, NY. While his gold ring victory isn’t unexpected, he admitted he doesn’t dedicate as much time to the game as a lot of his friends.

“I have some friends that grind the Circuit and those that haven’t won [a][ring] will probably be pretty mad at me because I’ve only played a few tournaments,” Spears confessed.

In reality, it might not only be his friends who are upset. Spears bested a final table that included five-time WSOP Circuit final tablist Ryan Tepen (fourth). Tepen, who is ringless, busted Day 3 of the Main Event just shy of the final table in 14th and late registered the one-day no-limit hold’em event. This marked his second heartbreak in just a few hours time.

Additionally, Bill Varga (sixth), made his second final table of the Circuit series in Cincinnati. Like Tepen, Varga is ringless.

Joining the trio in the late stages of play was Pavlin Karakikov. The final table appearance marked Karakikov’s third of the series and he needed a second-place finish or better to take Casino Champion honors from Samuel Panzica. Karakikov began the finale toward the middle of the pack in chips and never got anything going. He exited fifth and came up a mere 7.5 points shy of Panzica’s Casino Championship lead.

In the end, the headline belonged to Spears. His WSOP resume now boasts three WSOP Circuit cashes and eight WSOP cashes. The win marks his second Circuit final table.

Event 12 was the last of 12 gold ring events on the WSOP Circuit schedule at Horseshoe Cincinnati. The $365 No-Limit Hold’em One-Day tournament attracted 120 players generating a $36,000 prize pool. The top 12 players were paid.

Final table results:

1st: Andrew Spears – $10,081
2nd: Andrew Dakoski – $6,675
3rd: Adam Foster – $4,753
4th: Ryan Tepen – $3452
5th: Pavlin Karakikov – $2,557
6th: Bill Varga – $1,931
7th: Daniel Biddle – $1,485
8th: Nick Blackburn – $1,183
9th: Joshua Snodgrass – $927

Full results available on

Samuel Panzica Takes Casino Championship

The Main Event isn't the only show in town on Day 12 in Cincinnati. Playing out alongside the finale is the one-day $365 no-limit hold'em final table, and up until a few minutes ago, a Casino Champion contender graced its felt.

Pavlin Karakikov began Day 12 as one of just two players who could catch Sam Panzica in the 12-day race to the National Championship. Karakikov needed a second-place finish or better to best Panzica.

Karakikov fell short, finishing fifth and earning 102.5 points, 7.5 points shy of Panzica's 110.

Panzica recorded two first-place finishes and a 30th-place finish in the Main Event to don the honor of Casino Champion. He's now a two-time National Championship qualifier and looks to improve last year's 16th place finish.

A full profile of Panzica's performance will be made available in the next few days.

Congratulations, Sam!

Pavlink Karakikov Tries for Upset

Pavlin Karakikov WinnerWhen we interviewd Samuel Panzica following his second gold ring victory of the WSOP Circuit series at Horseshoe Cincinnati, he told us he estimated he had a 95 percent chance of winning the Casino Championship. In the days since, he recorded a 30th-place finish in the Main Event worth 10 points, and one has to think upping his odds even more when he jumped to 110 points.

Well, in true Casino Championship fashion it's come down to the final event again. The Event 10 winner, Pavlin Karakikov (pictured) is making his third final table of the series in today's $365 One-Day No-Limit Hold'em touranment — the final event of the series.

Karakikov began the day as one of two players who could catch Panzica at the top. Darren Rabinowitz was the other, and he elected to skip Event 12. Karakikov needed a second-place finish or better to best Panzica when the day began — sure enough he's at the Event 12 final table.

We'll keep you posted on Karakikov's progress. Until then, here's a look at the final table seating assignments with chip counts:

Seat 1: Pavlin Karakikov – 122,000
Seat 2: Ryan Tepen – 123,500
Seat 3: Andy Spears – 290,000
Seat 4: Adam Foster – 51,000
Seat 5: Josh Snodgrass – 33,000
Seat 6: Daniel Biddle – 180,000
Seat 7: Bill Varga – 259,500
Seat 8: Nick Blackburn – 90,000
Seat 9: Andrew Dakoski – 39,000