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Michael Persky Wins World Series of Poker Circuit Main Event At Graton Tour Stop

Persky Captured His First World Series of Poker Circuit Gold Ring Along With The Top Prize Worth $175,595 In Northern California


Michael Persky – Photo Credit: Hayley Hochstetler/8131 Media

Michael Persky picked up his first gold ring with a victory in the World Series of Poker Circuit main event hosted at Graton Casino & Resort on Monday, August 21. He took home the top prize of $175,595 to take his career earnings close to $250,000. The resident of nearby Novato, California had a strong run at the tournament series with a runner-up finish in event no. 3 to his credit as well.

“I had a good series,” said Persky to reporters after the win. He continued, “My problem is I love my family, and for me to be away from my family to play the big events is super difficult for me. The Bay Area is a Mecca for poker, there’s a lot of good places to play.”

The $1,500 buy-in no-limit hold’em tournament attracted a field of 616 entries over two starting flights. That took the prize pool up to $933,240 to easily top the guarantee of $500,000. The top 93 players all took home at least $2,564 in prize money.

Every player who made the money returned for the start of Day 2, and half the field was lost during the first two levels of play. The final table was set before 11 pm, and notables that made a deep run in the tournament included Wendy Freedman (10th), Brandon Zuidema (15th), Darryll Fish (16th), Josh Prager (27th), Rayo Kniep (28th), Matt Wantman (37th), and Ian Steinman (47th).

Persky was sixth in chips when cards got into the air at 1:00 PM local time to start the final day of the tournament. His strategy was to hang back during the early going at the final table and let the bustouts fly all around him. That was the right choice of action as Ben Ludlow fell in ninth early, and he was followed to the rail by Avenes Rastomyan (8th), Kurt Watkins (7th), Zhengxiong Zouxu (6th), and Paul Vlahos (5th) during the first few hours of play.

Persky scored his first knockout punch at the final table when he took down Ben Underwood in fourth place. Persky held A-J to dominate the A-2 of Underwood, and the board kept Persky ahead. Persky maintained that momentum when he scored a timely double-up during three-handed play.

That double-up came at the hands of five-time gold ring winner Jasthi Kumar, who was left on the ropes after the hand. Kumar was forced to shove short a short time later with Q-4, and Persky woke up with A-K against him. The board brought two more kings so Kumar was out in third place.

The final two players were even in chips at the start of heads-up play, and a friendly atmosphere between the two players developed even as Sarasin began to pull away. “I’ve known Danny a really long time so it was kind of crazy to be playing against him,” Persky said of the heads-up final. Persky also added, “He was crushing me, I hit a straight and then the momentum changed.”

The final hand saw Sarasin get all in preflop with K-9, but Persky was ready and waiting with A-Q. Two aces on the flop sealed the deal, and Sarasin was eliminated in second place ($100,528). Sarasin was also from the nearby town of Petaluma, and he scored the largest cash of his tournament career as well.

Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table:

Place Player Earnings POY Points
1 Michael Persky $175,595 840
2 Dan Sarasin $100,528 700
3 Jasthi Kumar $80,315 560
4 Ben Underwood $60,122 420
5 Paul Vlahos $45,532 350
6 Zhengxiong Zouxu $34,890 280
7 Kurt Watkins $27,055 210
8 Avenes Rastomyan $21,233 140
9 Ben Ludlow $16,868 70

The next stop on the WSOP Circuit schedule has already begun at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with a $1,700 buy-in main event that runs from August 25-28. You can see the full schedule for the tournament series right here.