No-Limit Hold'em Championship Event
Buy-In: $5,000 (+150)
Number of Entries: 142
Total Prize Money: $677,700
November 17, 2007
The Final Table:
SEAT 1: Chris "Jesus" Ferguson
HOMETOWN: Pacific Palisades, CA
CHIP COUNT: 426,500
Chris Ferguson is one of the most famous poker players in the world. He's also one of the most successful tournament players in history. Chris has won over $5.6 million dollars in his illustrious poker career. He has won five World Series of Poker gold bracelets, including the world championship event seven years ago. Chris is also the only person ever to win multiple WSOP Circuit championships. Should he win today's main event, this would be his third Circuit win in just four years. Chris is now age 44. He holds a PhD in computer science from U.C.L.A. But even more impressive than all this - Chris can actually throw a playing card through the air and cut a carrot in half. The 2000 world poker champion begins his quest for another tournament victory as the current chip leader, with 426,500 in chips.
SEAT 2: Michael Banducci
HOMETOWN: Traverse City, MI
CHIP COUNT: 158,000
Michael Banducci is a 22-year-old professional poker player. He is currently living the dream of just about every 22-year-old male in the country - traveling around the U.S. with his friends playing in poker tournaments. Michael has been doing quite well in the contemporary role of "Easy Rider." He took 5th place in Event #10 at this year's World Series of Poker. He has eight WSOP cashes within the last two years - which by the way is the exact same number of cashes that Chris Ferguson has in the same time frame. Michael has also made two final tables appearance on the Heartland Poker Tour. He's just one big tournament win away from becoming a rock star and his big, breakthrough victory could come today. Michael starts off this final table with 158,000 in chips.
SEAT 3: Frank Lee
HOMETOWN: Los Gatos, CA
CHIP COUNT: 120,500
Frank Lee is a 43-year-old business consultant. He is married and has two children. Frank loves playing poker. But he also knows something first-hand about facing everyday challenges far more meaningful than what he sees in a card game. His loving wife was diagnosed with cancer and she is currently undergoing chemotherapy. Frank has never appeared at a final table of a major tournament before, but he's certainly going to be getting a little extra inspiration from someone special today. So, everybody - look out. Frank starts off at this final table with 120,500 in chips.
SEAT 4: Gabriel Testa
HOMETOWN: San Jose, CA
CHIP COUNT: 128,500
Gabriel Testa is a 38-year-old sales representative at Network Appliance. He says he is proud to be an Italian-American. He also loves soccer. Gabriel says he has a great family, including a wife and one daughter. Gabriel's best tournament finish up to this point was second place at a tournament recently held at the Bay 101 Casino, near his home in San Jose. He arrives at this final table ranked fifth in the chip count with 128,500.
SEAT 5: Dustin Fox
HOMETOWN: S. Lake Tahoe, CA
CHIP COUNT: 95,000
Dustin Fox is a 25-year-old investment banker from Lake Tahoe. In fact, he was born and raised here making him the only real "local" player of today's nine finalists. Dustin has won multiple poker tournaments in the past, ranging from $100 buy-ins up to $1,000 buy-ins. However, Dustin still says he prefers playing in cash games. He also loves to play golf and played on the golf team while in college. At some point in the near future, Dustin plans to return to school and get his M.B.A. Today's top prize is over $200,000, which would help to pay the tuition. Dustin has a long way to go, as he begins with 95,000 in chips.
SEAT 6: Sylvester "Vesty" Geoghegan
HOMETOWN: Mulligan, Ireland
CHIP COUNT: 131,000
Coming to us all the way from the great nation of Ireland is Sylvester Geoghegan, a.k.a. "Vesty." He is a 33-year-old casino owner. Vesty owns The Crane Club Casino, which is located on the outskirts of Dublin. He has come all the way to Harveys Lake Tahoe to play in this championship event here on the World Series of Poker Circuit. And why not - he's done well in WSOP events in the past. Vesty took 122nd place in the WSOP main event earlier this year. He was also 13th in the Pot-Limit Omaha championship. Vesty was also 21st in a recent event on the European Poker Tour. Today, we shall see how the luck of the Irish holds up. Vesty comes to the final table with 131,000 in chips.
SEAT 7: Mark Bonsack
HOMETOWN: Maple Valley, WA
CHIP COUNT: 252,000
Mark Bonsack is a 47-year-old private contractor. His poker nickname is "Bonsai," given to him for his fearless style of play. Bonsai has several tournament cashes on his poker resume - including two in-the-money finishes at this year's WSOP in Las Vegas. He's also cashed previously here at Harveys Lake Tahoe and at Ballys Las Vegas. Bonsai arrives at this final table ranked second in chips. He hopes to win his first major tournament today and is well on his way to a major breakthrough victory. Mark "Bonsai" Bonsack begins with 252,000 in chips.
SEAT 8: George Saca
HOMETOWN: Folsom, CA
CHIP COUNT: 75,500
George Saca is a salesman from Folsom, CA. He would not tell us his age, but he's certainly going to feel a lot younger if he wins today's championship event. George took eighth place in the main event here at Harveys Lake Tahoe two years ago. So this is his second championship final table appearance. He's also cashed at other major poker tournaments, including the Shooting Stars. George has a big challenge ahead of him today as he begins eighth in the chip count, with 75,500.
SEAT 9: Travis Erdman
HOMETOWN: San Francisco, CA
CHIP COUNT: 36,500
Travis Erdman is a 37-year-old investment manager. If Travis seems like familiar face to those of you here at Harveys, that's because Travis made it all the way to the final table of this same championship event last year. In the 2006 Harveys Lake Tahoe championship, Travis took fifth place. However, Travis has the biggest test of any of the nine finalists here, as he begins play lowest in chips. Travis Erdman will take his 36,500 in chips and try to stage what would be an incredible first-ever victory in tournament poker.
PRIZE MONEY PAYOUTS:
10th John Thomas Monterey, CA 10,165
11th Mark Simmons Rocklin, CA 10,165
12th Aaron Kanter Lodi, CA 10,165
13th Dennis Lane Corte Madera, CA 8,810
14th Kevin Vanderbeek Redwood City, CA 8,810
15th Marty Wong Napa, CA 8,810
16th Vic Campana Benicia, CA 7,454
17th Vince Shaw Santa Cruz 7,454
18th Gary Tighe Folsom, CA 7,454
Note: In response to player demand, an 11th event has been added to the WSOP Circuit schedule at Harvey's. On Sunday November 18th, starting at 1 pm a $200 buy-in no-limit hold'em event will be offered. The WSOP Circuit championship event concludes the same day. Seating to watch the final table is free and open to the public. Coverage of the championship final table provided by Bluff Media will be carried over the Internet at the official WSOP website: www.worldseriesofpoker.com
For more information, please contact:
Nolan Dalla -- WSOP Media Director at (702) 358-4642
Or visit our official website: www.worldseriesofpoker.com
Jeffrey Pollack - Commissioner, WSOP
Ty Stewart - Director, Sponsorship and Licensing, WSOP
Craig Abrahams - Director, Broadcasting and New Media, WSOP
Tournament Director - Janis Sexton
Harrah's Lake Tahoe Race and Sportsbook Manager - Steve Schorr
Harvey's Lake Tahoe Poker Room Manager - Vince Contaxis