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World Series Of Poker Circuit -- Paul Wasicka Wins Tunica Championship

Wasicka Tops a Field of 96 Players to Win $139,422

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Paul WasickaPaul Wasicka is back.

The 2006 World Series of Poker main-event runner-up took down a $5,000 WSOP Circuit event today for his first major tournament win since his victory at the 2007 NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship.

It also marks another success for well-known poker professionals, who have had a great start to 2010. Hoyt Corkins won the World Poker Tour Southern Poker Championship in late January to capture his second WPT title and this past weekend Jeff Madsen won the Borgata Winter Open championship event to grow his career earnings to $3,254,105.

Wasicka contributed to this streak by winning the World Series of Poker Circuit $5,000 no-limit hold’em championship event in Tunica, Mississippi, on Wednesday, Feb. 10. Wasicka topped a field of 96 players to take home $139,422 in prize money, and he now holds $7,768,115 in career earnings.

Here is a summary of the events that led to his victory at the final table. When the final day began, nine players remained, and Wasicka entered the final battle with a chip lead of 454,000. Here is how the final table looked when play began:

Seat 1: Larry Gurney — 137,500
Seat 2: Shane Zell — 336,500
Seat 3: Jerry Saucier — 77,000
Seat 4: Robert Thornhill — 53,000
Seat 5: Matt Stout — 102,500
Seat 6: Paul Wasicka — 454,000
Seat 7: Carter Phillips — 200,000
Seat 8: Dwyte Pilgrim — 322,000
Seat 9: Richard Robb — 224,500

Jerry Saucier moved his short-stack all in during the first level of the day on a K-8-2 flop. He shoved for 70,000 with A-J in the hole, and Carter Phillips called quickly with pocket kings. The kings held, and Saucier exited in ninth place ($12,368). The next player to move all in on a short-stack was Robert Thornhill, and once again the at-risk player ran straight into pocket kings. Larry Gurney held the kings, and Thornhill was unable to come from behind with pocket eights in the hole. He was eliminated in eighth place ($14,616).

Two big-name players tangled in the next decisive hand. Matt Stout moved all in preflop with A-10, and Wasicka called him down with a dominant A-K. The board brought a king to make matters worse for Stout, and he was out in seventh place ($17,990).

Gurney found his tournament hopes in a dominated position when he was at risk a while later. All of his chips were committed and he held A-9 in the hole on a Q-9-3 flop, but Dwyte Pilgrim held A-Q. The river brought a 9 to rescue Gurney, who survived. The hand all but crippled Pilgrim, though, and he was all in for his final 50,000 soon thereafter. He was the one holding Q-9 on this hand, but his opponent Richard Robb held pocket aces. The flop fell A-A-7, and Pilgrim was drawing dead to quad aces. He took home $26,895 in sixth place.

Phillips was all in after that with pocket sixes preflop. Gurney had him covered with pocket jacks in the hole, and they held to send Phillips home in fifth place ($35,980). Wasicka continued to build his chip lead when he eliminated Shane Zell in fourth place ($44,975).

The battle for third place saw Gurney raise to 30,000 preflop and Robb reraise all in. Gurney made the call, and they flipped over their cards. Robb held ASpade Suit JHeart Suit, and Gurney the ADiamond Suit and 9Spade Suit. The flop fell 10Spade Suit 9Heart Suit 8Heart Suit to give Gurney the lead with a pair of nines and that would be all he needed to eliminate Robb in third place ($62,965) after the board bricked out.

Thanks to his elimination of Robb, Gurney took an equal chip stack into the final against Wasicka. The balance swung when Wasicka won an early pot for a quarter of a million in chips, and he then stormed out to a 5-1 chip lead. The last action at the final table came when Gurney moved all in for 300,000 on a flop of 9Heart Suit 8Spade Suit 6Club Suit and Wasicka made the call. Gurney held pocket fours, and Wasicka showed 9Diamond Suit 8Diamond Suit. The turn brought the 2Diamond Suit, and the river fell 5Club Suit. Wasicka won the hand with two pair, and Gurney was eliminated in second place ($94,448). Wasicka won the tournament and took home $139,422.

“Other than the heads-up championship, this was my first major tournament win. This is something that I’ve been searching for, for a very long time,” said Wasicka in an interview with WSOP representatives.

Wasicka emerged on the poker scene in 2006 when he finished in second place in the WSOP main event and was awarded $6,102,499. He has since strengthened his poker résumé with a win at the 2007 NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship and yesterday with his first WSOP Circuit win in Tunica.

Final Results:

1: Paul Wasicka — $139,422
2: Larry Gurney — $94,448
3: Richard Robb — $62,965
4: Shane Zell — $44,975
5: Carter Phillips — $35,980
6: Dwyte Pilgrim — $26,985
7: Matt Stout — $17,990
8: Jason Thornhill — $14,616
9: Jerry Saucier — $12,368

The next WSOP Circuit event will take place at the Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and it begins on Feb. 18.