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Poker News | World Series of Poker | WSOP2009 | WSOP2009 Tournaments

WSOP Circuit Event Horseshoe Casino Chicago Dan Livingston

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WSOP Circuit - Season Six
Main Event Championship
Event #11
No-Limit Hold’em
Buy-In:  $5,000 (+200)
Total Entries:  248  
Total Prize Pool:  $1,190,800
October 23-25, 2009
Horseshoe Casino (Chicago)

Official Report
Event #11 Headlines

1.  Dan Livingston Wins Chicago’s WSOP Circuit Championship

2.  Livingston Freerolls His Way into WSOP Circuit Championship and Walks Away with $291,749 Top Prize

3.  “Chicago, My Kind of Town,” -- Attendance Up 12 Percent, Prize Money Up 20 Percent from Last Year

4.  Top Two Finishers in Chicago’s WSOP Circuit Championship Win Free Seats at Horseshoe Casino Poker Room – Take Home a Combined Nearly Half-Million in Winnings!

5.  WSOP Circuit Ends Completing Biggest Poker Event Ever Held in Chicago

Main Event Champion (Dan Livingston)

•    The 2009 World Series of Poker Circuit Main Event champion at the Horseshoe Casino (Chicagoland) is Dan Livingston, from Oak Forest, IL.

•    Livingston is a 22-year-old part-time poker player who is currently between jobs.  He recently left his job working at an auto-detailing shop.

•    Livingston mostly plays low- to middle-limit buy-in tournaments, usually at the Horseshoe Casino.  His typical tournament is a weekly $100 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em event.  Livingston’s best run took place recently when he played three consecutive $100 buy-in tournaments and finished 3rd, 3rd, and 1st respectively.  This victory, worth far more in prestige and prize money, validate that the victories in smaller buy-in tournaments were no fluke.

•    Livingston won first prize totaling $291,749.  He was also presented with his first ever gold ring, the ultimate token of achievement for winning a WSOP Circuit event.

•    Incredibly, Livingston was on a complete freeroll for this tournament.  He gained his entry, which was valued at $5,200, by playing one afternoon inside the Horseshoe Casino Poker Room.  As part of a special promotion, the Horseshoe gave away as many as four Main Event seats daily – which is probably one of the very best freeroll opportunities to play in a major tournament anywhere in the world.  Each day, on four different occasions for two full weeks prior to the start of this year’s Chicago series, one poker table was randomly selected.  Then, one player at the table was high carded and received an entry into the Main Event championship.  Livingston was high carded about two weeks ago, and was pleasantly surprised to play in his biggest poker tournament ever.  He then managed to defeat a large field of 248 players and win over a quarter of a million dollars.  Amazing story.

•    Livingston has not played in any WSOP events (in Las Vegas).  But he plans to attend in 2010.

Winner Quotes (Dan Livingston)

•    On his feelings immediately after the victory:  “I feel really good.  What was it?  Forty hours of work for nearly $300,000?  I’ll take it.”

•    On how he thinks he played in the Main Event:  “I think my game worked fine.”

•    On his plans for the future:  “It’s going to make me consider giving poker a shot.  I am going to see if I can play for a living.”

•    On how this victory compares to some other tournament successes:  “My biggest cash playing online was for $4,000.  So, this was a big jump.”

•    On when he began thinking about the possibility of victory:  “When we got to the final table, I had about 900,000 in chips.  Then, I won a few early pots and I was up to 2,000,000.  Then I said to myself, ‘wow, I might win this – I have about a fourth of the chips in play.  I have a really good chance.  And, I did it.”

•    On taking a massive chip lead late when play became four-handed:  “Everybody else as the table was around a million and I was up to four-million at that point.  So, I could pretty much do what I wanted.”

•    On his poker goals:  “I have always wanted to really win a gold bracelet.  But I must say that the gold ring will really do for now.  This win was a big confidence booster.”

The Final Table / In-the-Money Finishers

•    When final table began, the chip leader was Tom G. Floros (with 1,410,000).  He enjoyed a slight lead over Tao Mosele (with 1,340,000).  But four players were with within striking distance, at around 1 million in chips.  Three of the finalists began play with short stacks and needed help to move into contention.

•    The WSOP Circuit “unofficial” Player of the Year from last season was the highly-personable Dwyte Pilgrim, from Brooklyn, NY.  He won two WSOP gold rings, including the Main Event held at Harrah’s Rincon in March 2009.  Pilgrim cashed in this championship event, finishing in 19th place.  This means Pilgrim has now cashed in five of the last six WSOP Circuit Main Events – a most impressive feat.

•    There were no former WSOP Circuit gold ring winners in the final group of nine, which guaranteed a first-time champion.

•    The ninth-place finisher was Mike Parisi, a 35-year-old poker player who received $35,533.

•    The eighth-place finisher was Jacob Bazeley, a 26-year-old poker pro from Cincinnati, OH who earned $38,082.

•    The seventh-place finisher was Joshua Goldstein, a 25-year-old pro poker player from Northbrook, IL who earned $42,881.  The Emory University graduate was the chip leader after the completion of Day Two.

•    The sixth-place finisher was William Miner, a 23-year-old pro poker player from Chicago, IL who earned $50,871.

•    The fifth-place finisher was William Schweinebraten, from Rolling Meadows, IL.  He is a 45-year-old insurance saleman.  Schweinebraten had previously made it to a final table at the Deep Stack Venetian series.  But this was his best tournament cash to date, worth $63,744.

•    The fourth-place finisher was Tad Mosele, from Round Lake, IL.  He is the 46-year-old owner of a construction business.  He earned $84,594 for fourth place.

•    The third-place finisher was Chris Gentile, from Plainfield, IL.  The 35-year-old poker player collected $119,556 in prize money.
•    When heads-up play began, Dan Livingston enjoyed a decisive chip advantage.  He was at least a 10 to 1 favorite over Tom Floros.  The final duel lasted about 30 minutes before Livingston finally prevailed.  

•    The final hand came when Livingston was dealt J-3 of diamonds versus Floros Q-10 offsuit.  After the flop came K-10-3 and two diamonds, all of Floros chips went into the pot.  The turn was a bank.  But a diamond on the river gave Livingston a flush and the victory.     

•    The runner up was Tom Floros, from Indian Head Park, IL.  Like Livingston, he too won his seat via the “high-card” promotion held at the Horseshoe Casino.  Flores is a 42-year-old project manager.  He received his biggest payout ever, which amounted to $180,287.

•    The winner was Dan Livingston, who collected $291,749 and his first WSOP Circuit gold ring.  Livingston was cheered to victory by his parents and several well-wishers.

•    Five players who finished in the money were high-carded into the tournament via the Horseshoe Casino’s special promotion – including the top two finishers.  In all, there were 56 seats given away as part of the Horseshoe Casino’s high-card giveaway.

The Tournament

•    This was the eleventh tournament of the new WSOP Circuit season, and the 11th of 13 events held at this Circuit series in Chicago.  The Main Event attracted 248 entries making it one of the larger championship events on the Circuit.

•    The buy-in was $5,000 (+200).  This is the standard buy-in for all WSOP Circuit championship events.  During the first two seasons (2005-2007), the championship buy-in was $10,000.  The buy-in was reduced in Season Three in order to allow greater player participation.

•    Attendance for this event increased by a whopping 54 percent over last year.  In the 2008 championship held in Chicago, there were 164 entrants.

•    With all events at the 2009 WSOP Circuit series at the Horseshoe Casino now complete, combined total attendance increased by 12 percent over last year:

2008 – 4,298 total entrants
2009 – 4,747 total entrants

•    With all events at the 2009 WSOP Circuit series at the Horseshoe Casino now complete, total prize money awarded increased by 20 percent over last year:

2008 – $2,564,097 in total prize money
2009 – $3,080,056 in total prize money

•    The tournament began at noon on October 23rd and was played over three days.  Play lasted 14 hours on Day One – ending up with 84 survivors.  The following day, play lasted 12 hours – ending up with 17 survivors.  Day Three play lasted 13 hours.  The entire duration of the tournament lasted about 40 hours.

•    Last year’s champion was the former WSOP gold bracelet winner Steve Billirakis.  He did not enter this year’s event and failed to defend his title.

•    Livingston and Billirakis are now the two lone WSOP Circuit winners from Chicago.  They were 22 and 23 years old respectively at the time of their victories.

World Series of Poker Circuits (History)

•    The first event held this year at the WSOP Circuit in Chicago (Event #1) set a record as the largest WSOP Circuit of all time, with 1,412 entrants.

•    The World Series of Poker Circuits began in January 2005.  WSOP Circuits were designed to bring the excitement of the world’s largest and most prestigious poker series to more players and fans in various regions throughout the United States.  Over the past five years, WSOP Circuits have taken place at Harrah’s Entertainment properties in the following locations:

Las Vegas, NV (Caesars Palace, Harrah’s, and Bally’s/Paris)
Lake Tahoe, NV (Harvey’s Lake Tahoe)
San Diego, CA (Rincon)
New Orleans, LA (Harrah’s)
Tunica, MS (Tunica Grand)
Council Bluffs, IA (Harrah’s)
Elizabeth, IN/Louisville, KY (Horseshoe Southern Indiana)
Hammond, IN/Chicago, IL (Horseshoe Casino)
Atlantic City (Caesars, Harrah’s, Showboat)

•    This event kicks off WSOP Circuit season number six.  This season officially began on October 16, 2009 at the Horseshoe Casino (Chicago) and will conclude seven months later on May 19, 2010 at Harrah’s New Orleans.  This year, there are 11 WSOP Circuit stops held at the following locations:

Horseshoe Casino (Chicagoland)
Horseshoe Southern Indiana
Harvey’s Lake Tahoe
Harrah’s Atlantic City
Tunica Grand
Harrah’s Council Bluffs
Caesars Atlantic City
Harrah’s Rincon
Harrah’s St. Louis (new location)
Caesars Palace Las Vegas
Harrah’s New Orleans

•    Only three locations have hosted WSOP Circuits during all six seasons.  They are:

Harrah’s Atlantic City
Harrah’s New Orleans
Harvey’s Lake Tahoe

•    WSOP Circuit stops typically include 10-15 tournaments played over a two-week period (some of the more popular events run longer and include as many as 23 events).  Buy-ins range from $200 for the lower tournaments up to $5,000 for championship events.  During the first two years of WSOP Circuits, all championship events had a $10,000 buy-in.  This has been reduced to a $5,000 buy-in since the 2006-2007 season began.

•    WSOP Circuits consistently attract large fields and payout impressive prize money.  Here are the ten largest poker events in WSOP Circuit history:

1,412 -- Horseshoe Casino (Chicago), Oct. 16-17, 2009 -- Event #1
1,345 -- Tunica Grand (Mississippi), Jan. 7-8, 2006 – Event #3
1,187 -- Horseshoe Casino (Chicago), Oct. 24-25, 2008 – Event #1
1,181 – Harrah’s Atlantic City, Dec. 5-6, 2008 – Event #1
1,106 -- Caesars Atlantic City, Mar. 5-6, 2007 – Event #1
1,056 -- Caesars Atlantic City, Mar. 5-6, 2008 – Event #1
1,050 -- Caesars Atlantic City, Mar. 7-8, 2008 – Event #3
983 -- Caesars Atlantic City, Mar. 6-7, 2009 – Event #3
954 – Caesars Indiana, Oct. 20, 2005 – Event #1
940 -- Tunica Grand (Mississippi) Jan. 5-6, 2006 – Event #1

•    Winners of WSOP Circuit tournaments receive a gold ring as the token of their achievement.  This prize is patterned after the coveted gold bracelet, which is awarded to all winners of WSOP events in Las Vegas.  

•    The player who has won the most WSOP Circuit gold rings is Men “the Master” Nguyen, with four victories.  Nguyen also has 12 WSOP Circuit career cashes.

•    The player who has won the most WSOP Circuit championship events is Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, with three Main Event victories.  Ferguson won Main Events at Harrah’s Rincon (2005), Harrah’s Las Vegas (2005), and Harvey’s Lake Tahoe (2007).

•    The player with the most prize money winnings in WSOP Circuit history is Chris “Jesus” Ferguson.  His combined career earnings currently total $1,359,143.  Ferguson has cashed six times.  

World Series of Poker Circuit at Horseshoe Casino (Chicagoland)

•    This is the 51st WSOP Circuit tournament series played since January 2005.

•    What is now the Horseshoe Casino (Chicagoland) originally opened up as the Empress Casino, back in 1993.  The casino has since been sold twice and has undergone both expansion and renovation.  It is now the largest casino (measured by number of tables and gaming devices) in the greater Chicago area.  The current Horseshoe Casino configuration has more than 100 live table games, 3,200 electronic gaming devices, and a 34-table poker room, making it one of the largest casinos in the Midwest.
•    Poker pioneer Jack Binion bought and took over the Empress Casino in 2001.  He renamed the property as the “Horseshoe Casino.”  It became officially known as “Horseshoe Hammond,” since it is actually located in Hammond, IN.  Harrah’s Entertainment purchased the casino from Binion in 2004, and retained the name.  However, in an effort to align itself with the Chicago area, the casino is now known as the Horseshoe Casino (Chicagoland).

•    The Horseshoe Casino (Chicagoland) underwent a $500 million renovation, which was completed last year.  On August 8, 2008 (8-8-08) entertainment diva Bette Midler hosted and performed at the grand re-opening.

•    The Horseshoe Casino (Chicagoland) is the closest gaming facility in proximity to downtown Chicago, which is just 16 miles away.  In fact, the downtown skyline can be seen from many parts of the casino, which is located along the Lake Michigan shoreline.

•    A large marina is adjacent to the casino, which holds many water craft.  The casino is a popular destination for boats which come to the resort from all over the region, especially during summer months.

•    The casino is located less than a mile from the Indiana-Illinois border.  The closest major airport is Midway, on Chicago’s south side.  Chicago’s O’Hare Airport is about an hour away.  The casino offers shuttle service to many parts of Chicago and the region.

•    The Horseshoe Casino (Chicagoland) draws visitors predominately from the Chicago area.  However, the WSOP Circuit attracts many players from all over Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, and Ohio.

•    This marks the second year that the Horseshoe Casino (Chicagoland) has hosted a WSOP Circuit stop.  Last year’s field came close to setting attendance records.  A big turnout is also expected this year, and the first event of the new 2009-2010 season did not disappoint.  The Horseshoe Casino (Chicagoland) has now hosted two of the three largest WSOP Circuit tournaments in history.

•    The Horseshoe Casino poker room regularly holds 34 tables.  However, the WSOP Circuit took over the special events center called “The Venue.”  This additional floor space holds 78 more poker tables.  This means the Horseshoe Casino holds up to 112 poker tables combined, making it the largest capacity facility of any WSOP Circuit event.

•    “The Venue” is regularly used for shows and attracts many of the biggest names in music and entertainment.  The Venue holds up to 3,000 people.  But most of the theatre seating was moved aside for nearly two weeks in favor of poker tables, all packed with players.  

•    This is one of two major poker tournaments held annually at the Horseshoe Casino.  In addition to the WSOP Circuit, the casino will be hosting the “Chicago Poker Classic,” to be held February 26 through March 7, 2010.  This tournament is expected to offer nine major events, plus several second chance tournaments.  Attractions include $350,000 in added prize money, plus a brand new Porsche Cayman luxury car as the grand prize.  A complete schedule of the 2010 Chicago Poker Classic will be forwarded to media at the completion of this year’s WSOP Circuit events.

For official news and the latest updates from the 2009 World Series of Poker and the WSOP Circuits, visit:

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