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Poker News | World Series of Poker | WSOP2008 | WSOP 2008 Circuit Events

2008 World Series of Poker Circuit Event #6 - Caesars Atlantic City

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2008 World Series of Poker Circuit
Caesars Atlantic City
Official Report

Event #6
No-Limit Hold’em
Buy-In: $300 (+40)
Number of Entries: 706
Total Prize Money: $211,800
March 10-11, 2007

Final Results:

1. Jim Stenella Bucks County, PA $57,186
2. Mustafa Ali Sao Paulo (Brazil) 29,969
3. Joseph Hanna Ashtabola, NJ 16,944
4. Rick Chang Atlantic City, NJ 14,826
5. Michael Smith Sicklerville., NJ 12,708
6. Jack Maloy Connellsville, PA 10,590
7. Francis “Mickey” Pergine Schwenksville, PA 8,472
8. Ralph Van Ormer Macungie, PA 6,354
9. Mike Muscatello Seaford, NY 4,236

Jim Stenella Dusts Off His A-Game

Pennsylvania Antique Furniture Dealer Wins Caesars Atlantic City’s Circuit Event

Stenella Stages Late Final Table Rally and Coasts to Victory

Atlantic City, NJ – Every poker tournament includes at least one memorable hand. Undoubtedly, the most significant hand of Event #6 at the Caesars Atlantic City tournament series was a monstrous confrontation that took place when only four players remained, and the two chip leaders went to battle.

Rick Chang, an Atlantic City casino dealer, had been the dominant force throughout the entire second day of play. He eliminated three consecutive players and according to many observers, seemed destined to win his first major tournament victory. But just when it appeared that Chang would polish off his last three adversaries and make headlines, a 31-year-old recreational poker player from Buck Country, PA named Jim Stenella crashed the party.

About two hours into play in the finale, Chang looked down from the small blind and saw A-Q. Without much thought, he boldly announced “All in.” If Jim Stenella ever had a poker dream come true, this was it. From the big blind, he peeked at his two hole cards and saw pocket kings. Bingo! “I call.” And the rest as they say, his history.

The $300 buy-in no-limit hold’em tournament, part of the World Series of Poker Circuit, began on a Monday and ended the following day. A strong turnout of 706 entries showed up. After 697 players were eliminated on the first day, the nine finalists took their seats at the feature table. Atlantic City local Rick Chang arrived as the chip leader – with two Pennsylvanians, Jim Stenella and Ralph Van Ormer close behind. Players and their starting chip counts began as follows:

Seat 1: Ralph Van Ormer 506,000
Seat 2: Mike Muscatello 180,000
Seat 3: Mustafa Ali 258,000
Seat 4: Jack Maloy 260,000
Seat 5: Francis “Mickey” Pergine 85,000
Seat 6: Rick Chang 622,000
Seat 7: Jim Stenella 550,000
Seat 8: Joseph Hanna 227,000
Seat 9: Michael Smith 155,000

Players were eliminated in the following order:

9th Place – On the 12th hand of play, Mike Muscatello found 10-10 and moved all-in. It was a case of very bad timing as the player to his immediate left, Mustafa Ali looked down and saw K-K. Any hope that Muscatello might draw out on his opponent was shattered when a king fell on the turn, giving Ali a full house. Muscatello, a 55-year-old retiree from Seaford, NY ended up going out in ninth place. A former New York City police officer for 34 years, Muscatello collected $4,236 in prize money.

8th Place
– It turned out to be a terrible day for Ralph Van Ormer, who had arrived in the finale with such high hopes. After losing some early pots, Van Ormer was dealt the Q-9 of hearts. His opponent, Rick Chang moved all-in on the turn when the board showed A-J-6-Q, with two hearts. Van Ormer, holding second pair (queens) and a heart draw decided to roll the dice and make the tough call. Chang showed A-J for two pair. A heart or a queen failed to rescue Van Ormer from extinction and so the 37-year-old club tennis pro ended up losing the game, set, and match. Ormer did manage to collect $6,354 for eighth place.

7th Place – Mickey Pergine
had about 160,000 left in his stack when he was forced to make a very tough pre-flop decision. Chip leader Chang had moved all-in (with Q-Q) and Pergine pondered his options. He finally decided to make the call with the A-10 of clubs, but failed to connect with the board. That ended the game for Pergine, who has made numerous final table appearances in Atlantic City poker tournaments the past few years. He ended up going out in seventh place, good for $8,472.

6th Place – Chang was still in command, but took his first significant beat of the day when Joseph Hanna rivered a straight, taking down a 300,000 pot. That evened out the chips somewhat. But any thought that Chang was about to steam off his chips was quickly put to rest when he eliminated his next victim, who turned out to be Jack Maloy. Chang was dealt A-J and called an all-in raise by Maloy, who showed 7-7. A jack flopped, putting Maloy at a huge disadvantage. He failed to improve and ended up as the sixth-place finisher. Jack Maloy, the owner of an asphalt paving company, rolled away with $10,590. This was his first time ever to play in a WSOP event. Ten grand. Not bad.

5th Place – Michael Smith, a.k.a. “Savvy Mike,” coasted through four players before finally busting out. He found his best hand of the day and moved all-in with pocket sevens. Unfortunately, Joseph Hanna had J-J which held up. Smith, who works as a poker dealer at the Borgata Casino, was cheered on by his wife who stood up in the crowd. Afterward, “Savvy Mike” was proud to convey that poker is a big part of his family as his son is about to start going to dealer’s school soon. The $12,708 is sure to help offset the cost of tuition.

4th Place – By this time, Jim Stenella had managed to seize the chip lead away from Chang, although the margin was razor thin. That’s when a stunning hand took place that completely changed the outcome of the event. Rick Chang had been a card magnet up to that point in the tournament – catching whatever high card he needed to bust his opponents and accumulate chips. But his luck finally ran out when he moved all-in with his A-Q and was called instantly by Jim Stenella, who showed K-K. The prospect of the two big stacks facing off brought the crowd to its feet. Stenella’s two cowboys held up after the board showed five blanks (no improvement to either player) and Chang walked away in a stunned stupor. Chang, who seemed at one point to be the predestined winner, ended up with a disappointing fourth-place finish. The 57-year-old Atlantic City casino dealer earned $14,826.

3rd Place – Chang’s chips now transferred into Stenella’s stack gave him an overwhelming advantage. Stenella enjoyed about a 7 to 1 chip lead over both Joseph Hanna and Mustafa Ali. A few hands later, the three finalists struck a deal and decided to play out the tournament, with the distribution of prize money already determined by a handshake. The official third place finisher was Joseph Hanna. The 22-year-old semi-pro poker player, who also plays drums and guitar in a band (not at the same time), was awarded an official payout totaling $16,944.

2nd Place – Mustafa Ali was delighted to make it to a heads-up match. He played a few hands with the 800-pound chip gorilla before finally busting out in second place. Ali, who is originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil, was officially paid $29,969 as the runner up. Ali had previously won events held at the Borgata and Taj Mahal in Atlantic City.

1st Place – Jim Stenella won his biggest poker prize ever. First place officially paid $57,186, plus the WSOP Circuit gold and diamond ring, which is awarded to each event winner at this year’s Caesars poker series. It was obvious that the ring meant a great deal to Stenella, who proudly showed off his prize to the crowd afterward.

Stenella is a 33-year-old antique furniture dealer. In fact, he conducts most of his business at the popular online site eBay. His company is one of the largest antique dealers on eBay. But there was nothing old-fashioned about the way Stenella won this event. His win was the quickest of any of the six events held thus far at Caesars, clocking in at just over two hours.

For more information, please contact:
Nolan Dalla -- WSOP Media Director at (702) 358-4642
Or visit our official website:

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