That’s a Wrap from Hammond


Gold ring events at Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Ind. began October 16 and concluded Monday with the Main Event final table. Rob Coventry of Cary, Ill. won the championship event along with $313,993, his first Circuit ring and a berth in the National Championship. Joining him in the season-ending tournament will be Sean Troha who put together an impressive five cashes including two gold ring victories to earn 112.5 points and snag Casino Championship honors comfortably.

Here’s a look at others who claimed gold during Hammond’s 12-day series:

EVENT #1: Robert Hankins defeated 1,959 entries ($365 NLH Re-Entry) for $92,56
EVENT #2: John Peterson defeated 393 players ($580 NLH) for $42,122
EVENT #3: Nicola Ditrapani defeated 375 players ($365 NLH) for $24,748
EVENT #4: Sean Troha defeated 154 players ($580 PLO) for $20,789
EVENT #5: James Hull defeated 366 players ($365 NLH) for $24,161
EVENT #6: Ari Engel defeated 128 players ($580 HORSE) for $17,921
EVENT #7: Ron Slucker defeated 292 players ($580 NLH Six-Handed) $37,960
EVENT #8: Sean Troha defeated 190 players ($1,125 NLH) for $49,401
EVENT #9: David Mirshak defeated 187 players ($365 Omaha 8) for $14,586
The Main Event: Rob Coventry defeated 1,147 entries ($1,675 NLH) for $313,993
EVENT #11: Lee Rzentkowski defeated 221 players ($580 NLH) for $27,627
EVENT #12: Ronnie Rogers defeated 199 players ($365 Turbo NLH) for $15,520

That’s a wrap from Hammond, but gold ring events start up again Thursday at Harvey’s Lake Tahoe. A full schedule of events available on

Thanks for following along and don’t forget to check back with us throughout the season for all official updates from the Circuit floor.

See you next year, Hammond!

Coventry Wins Main Event and $313K


“Did that just really happen?” Robert Coventry muttered the question under his breath when the final river card hit the felt. Once the card was dealt, Coventry held all the chips in the tournament. And it did happen, despite Coventry’s disbelief, which still hadn’t faded a few minutes later, after his last opponent had left the room. Now, Coventry is the latest winner on the World Series of Poker Circuit.

The Main Event at the WSOP Circuit at the Horseshoe Hammond is historically one of the largest events on the Circuit, and thus has one of the biggest prizes. For his victory today, Coventry earns $313,933, by far the largest score of his tournament career. He also wins his first WSOP gold ring and a free entry into the 2015 WSOP National Championship.

The victory comes in the midst of a life-changing year for Coventry, a 31-year old futures trader from Cary, Illinois. “I just had a son two months ago,” he said after the tournament. “[The][ring] is something I’ll be able to show him and say, ‘This is for you.’ This money is going to go for his future college. It couldn’t come at a better time for my family. That’s what it means to me. I got no sleep last night coming home at 3 a.m. and being up with the baby. It’s been great being a father. I don’t get a chance to play many poker tournaments. This is the one I do every year.”

Coventry emerged victorious from a tough final table that included Steve Billirakis and Viet Vo. Vo is a successful professional poker player and a regular face on the tournament circuit. He finished in second place for $193,935, the largest result of his tournament career. Billirakis is a two-time WSOP bracelet winner who, when he won his first bracelet in 2007, was then the youngest player ever to win a WSOP event. He finished in third place in this Main Event for $144,109. This payout pushes Billirakis over of $2,000,000 mark in WSOP-related earning. When there were only three players left, Coventry, Vo, and Billirakis engaged each other in a tough three-handed battle that lasted over three and a half hours before Coventry finally eliminated Billirakis.

After the three-handed marathon, and defeating Vo heads-up, Coventry expressed tremendous admiration for his opponents. “[Billirakis] really impresses me, his presence at the table. I’ve known him from playing online back in the day. MrSmokey1 [Billirakis’s][online][handle] was always someone I revered as a top notch player. It doesn’t get much better than that. To be at the same table with him and see some of the plays he makes. I’m not going to lie, it was pretty intimidating to play against him because you knew he was capable at anytime of putting you in a really, really tough spot.”

Also at the final table was Dennis Huberts, a Chicago police officer who won his seat in the tournament from a Horseshoe Hammond promotion. During the three weeks leading up to the Main Event, the top 80 players with the most hours in the Horseshoe poker room (80 hours minimum) earned a free entry into the $1,675 tournament, and Huberts was one of them. He made the most of his deep run. Yesterday, with 21 players left, Huberts was among the shortest stacks in the room. Yet he told the media at the time, “I’m going to make the final table. I guarantee it!” He was fairly short-stacked the rest of the night, but he survived to Day 3, coming back 10th in chips out of 11 players. He kept surviving and chipping up for almost four hours, but his magical run finally came to an end in 8th place ($39,073).

The tournament started on Friday. It attracted 1,147 entries over two starting days. The Horseshoe Hammond is perennially one of the most popular stops on the WSOP Circuit, and this is the fourth consecutive year the Main Event has had more than 1,000 entries. The total prize pool was $1,720,500, and $313,933 is by far the biggest first-place prize on the Circuit so far this season.

After the two starting days, 251 players returned on Sunday for Day 2. Over half of them would leave empty handed, as 117 players were paid. It took a little less than four hours to reach the bubble, and Tom Midena was the unfortunate 118th-place finisher. After his elimination, every player left in the field was guaranteed a minimum payout of $2,822.

When Day 2 began, the headliner was Ari Engel. Engel won one of the preliminary events here at Hammond—a $580 HORSE tournament—to earn his seventh WSOP Circuit ring. The victory moves him into a tie with Chris Reslock for second place on the career rings list, one behind all-time leader Alex Masek. Engel started Day 2 tied for the chip lead with 344,500. (Tim Burden also had 344,500, and the only other player above 300,000 was Viet Vo.) Engel stayed at or near the top of the leaderboard once the bubble had burst and the tournament was in the money. However, he eventually bowed out in 64th place for $4,284, and he’ll have to wait for another opportunity to tie Masek with eight career rings.

Among those joining Engel in the money were 2012 Hammond Main Event champion Bob Chow (106th, $3,062), Eddy Sabat (90th, $3,630), Ralph Massey (83rd, $3,630), his brother Aaron Massey (79th, $3,940), Hammond Casino Champion Sean Troha (70th, $4,284), Zal Irani (49th, $5,196), Allen Kessler (29th, $8,637), Aaron Steury (25th, $10,048), Jeff Fielder (24th, $11,820), and John Holley (10th, $25,102).

The ever-popular tournament at Hammond attracted several other big names who were eliminated out of the money: bracelet winners Keven Stammen and Owais Ahmed, all-time WSOP Circuit cashes leader Doug “Rico” Carli, five-time ring winner Mark “Pegasus” Smith, and his fellow five-time ring winner Val Vornicu.

Here are the final table payouts. A full list of results is available on

1) Robert Coventry – $313,933
2) Viet Vo – $193,935
3) Steve Billirakis – $144,109
4) Michael Telker – $108,532
5) Robert Noe – $82,532
6) Shannon Mastin – $63,590
7) Darren Deuser – $49,568
8) Dennis Huberts – $39,073
9) Kenneth Baime – $31,141

A Ring for Ronnie Rogers

Ronnie Rogers Winner

Photo courtesy of Image Masters

Event #12
No-Limit Hold’em Turbo
Buy-In: $300 (+$65)
Total Entries: 199
Prize Pool: $56,700
October 27, 2014

The last of Horseshoe Hammond’s ring events concludes with Rogers earning $15,520 in the $365 turbo.

Hammond, Ind. (October 27, 2014) — The last of 12 World Series of Poker Circuit gold ring events concluded late Monday night at Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Ind. with Ronnie Rogers in the winner’s circle. The $365 no-limit hold’em turbo tournament needed less than 11 hours to play out in its entirety and Rogers, a Michigan amateur, earned $15,520 – or $1,410 per hour – along with his first gold ring.

Circuit events began at the property just south of Chicago 12 days ago and kicked off with a nearly 2,000-entry opening tournament. Tennessee’s Robert Hankins went on to win the opener along with his third gold ring and a $92,562 first prize – more than 250 times his investment.

A few days later, Hammond yielded another headline when six-time ring winner Ari Engel became a seven-time winner following a victory in a $580 HORSE event. Engel now sits second on the all-time wins list one behind leader Alex Mask’s eight.

Finally, the series’ championship event – the $1,675 Main Event – concluded Monday with Illinois’ Rob Coventry in the top spot. For the fourth consecutive year the finale drew more than 1,000 entries and Coventry headed home with the $313,993 first prize and National Championship berth.

The Horseshoe’s Casino Championship race wasn’t much of a race at all. Ohio’s Sean Troha recorded five cashes including two gold ring victories and a 70th-place finish in the Main Event. In all, Troha earned 110 points and bested the next closest player by nearly 50. He’s set to join Coventry in the season-ending National Championship where they’ll compete for their share of an up-to $2 million prize pool and a gold bracelet.

With Coventry and Troha having laid claim to their prizes, Rogers closed the series with his last-chance ring victory. Rogers is a 41-year-old senior loan officer from Edwardsburg, Mich. The victory marks his third Circuit cash and first gold ring.

Event 12 was the 12th of 12 gold ring events on the WSOP Circuit schedule at Horseshoe Hammond. The $365 no-limit hold’em turbo event attracted 199 players. The total prize pool came to $59,600 and the top 21 finishers were paid.

Final table results:

1st: Ronnie Rogers – $15,520
2nd: Richard Bai – $9,588
3rd: Angela Wines – $6,923
4th: Nicholas Palma – $5,085
5th: Bryan Skreens – $3,799
6th: Ting Ho – $2,886
7th: Gregory Bays – $2,230
8th: James Stern – $1,751
9th: Marcellus Lane – $1,397

Full results available on

Rzentkowski Wins $580 Event

Lee Rzentkowski Winner

Photo courtesy of Image Masters

Event #11
No-Limit Hold’em
Buy-In: $500 (+$80)
Total Entries: 221
Prize Pool: $110,500
October 26-27, 2014

Former online pro earns $27,627 and his first gold ring. Bracelet winner Will Givens finishes third, pockets $12,427.

Hammond, Ind. (October 27, 2014) — Lee Rzentkowski won Event 11 of the World Series of Poker Circuit at Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Ind. Monday night. The victory, which came in a $580 no-limit hold’em tournament, was at the hands of a 221-player field and earned Rzentkowski $27,627 along with his first Circuit gold ring.

“I’ve always thought I could do this,” the former online pro said. “I used to play a lot. Life got in the way and I stopped playing as much poker.”

Rzentkowski’s confidence and poker prowess comes from his time as an online pro. By his own account, he was without a traditional job for many years and paid his way through life on earnings from the virtual felt. Like many these days, Black Friday changed the course of his day-to-day routine and the 43-year-old Madison, Wisc. resident looked for work elsewhere.

“When I played online […] six-man sit-and-gos were my bread and butter. I made a living for three years just playing six-man sit-and-gos,” Rzentkowski said. “Online poker went away and that kind of dried up some of my drive. The grind of playing live didn’t work with my family. I cut way back.”

With a wife and kids at home, Rzentkowski’s poker-related travel is limited to four or five tournament trips a year. The light schedule means he needs to make the most of the events he’s able to play and that’s just what he did Monday at the Horseshoe.

Beginning alongside Day 2 of the Main Event, Event 11 drew talents like bracelet winners Nick Jivkov and Will Givens. While Jivkov exited the tournament shy of the money, Givens played his way to a final table berth where he was joined by perennial Circuit cashers Rex Clinkscales and Dean Schultz.

Clinkscales (eighth, $3,205) and Schultz (sixth, $5,265) began the final playing session short and weren’t much of a factor late in the event. Givens, meanwhile, maneuvered his stack all the way to three-handed play before he looked down at ace-king and moved all in. Eventual runner-up Ellen Lambeth called for her tournament life with king-six and spiked a six on the flop. Givens never improved and was left with just three big blinds. He exited the tournament third earning $12,427.

“[Givens] was the guy I was always watching,” Rzentkowski said. “He was by far the craftiest player at the table so I was always aware of him. [Lambeth] played great. I had a really hard time getting a read on her. I knew she was making moves on me, but she was picking her spots really well. I had a really hard time playing back at her. It helps when you start getting some good hands. It makes playing back a lot easier.”

Rzentkowski is 43 years old and works as a finance manager at a car dealership. He resides in Madison, Wisc. with his wife and children. The Event 11 victory marks his third Circuit cash, second final table appearance and first gold ring.

Event 11 was the 11th of 12 gold ring events on the WSOP Circuit schedule at Horseshoe Hammond. The $580 no-limit hold’em event attracted 221 players. The total prize pool came to $110,500 and the top 24 finishers were paid.

Final table results:

1st: Lee Rzentkowski – $27,627
2nd: Ellen Lambeth – $17,074
3rd: Will Givens – $12,427
4th: Andrew Brinkley – $9,190
5th: Gregory Baird – $6,903
6th: Dean Schultz – $5,265
7th: Darrin Roth – $4,077
8th: Rex Clinkscales – $3,205
9th: William Luciano – $2,556

Full results available on

Troha Wins Casino Championship

Sean Troha Winner

Photo courtesy of Image Masters

Ohio pro Sean Troha (pictured) wins the Horseshoe Hammond Casino Championship following two first-place finishes ($580 PLO and $1,125 NLH), a 17th-place finish in the last-chance turbo, a 70th-place finish in the Main Event and a 129th-plcae finish in the re-entry opener. In addition to an impressive $75,320 in prizes, Troha’s deep runs earn him 112.5 points and left little sweat heading into today’s 12th and final day of play.

The 26-year-old punched his ticket to the National Championship where he’ll join the Horseshoe Hammond Main Event champion to play for his share of an up-to $2 million prize pool and a gold bracelet.

​More information on the season-ending event is available on

Congratulations, Sean! A full report on his impressive run at the Circuit season’s premiere event will be made available in the coming days.