Tag Archives: 2020 Feb WSOPC

WSOP Circuit in Review

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa hosted its first-ever World Series of Poker Circuit series and the turnout was fantastic.

The opening event drew 2,433 entries including 1,023 on the first Saturday to completely pack the Event Center. The tournament created a $1,252,995 prize pool to set the record for the biggest in Tampa poker history.

That record stood for a week. When the WSOP Circuit Main Event rolled around, it took the $1,000,000 guaranteed prize pool up to $1,760,430 with $290,974 going to the champ. Isaac Kempton nearly went wire-to-wire for the victory, ending each day with the chip lead, and capping of his Main Event win on a very tough final table.

Over the 14 primary events, the tournaments drew a combined 7,998 entries and awarded nearly $5.8 million in prize money. That number is up from the $2.23 million in guarantees and another sign that the series was a huge success.

During the 12-day run, David Prociak won his second career WSOP Circuit ring ($1,125 PLO) and Arkadiy Tsinis won his fifth ($600 Six-Handed). David Tuthill conquered the $400 Turbo tournament and finished sixth in the $1,125. Along with four other cashes, he lock up the WSOP Casino Champion and a seat in the Global Casino Championship.

Thank you to all of our old friends, new friends, and out of town travelers for making our first WSOP Circuit series a huge success. See you next time!

WSOP Circuit Main Event Champion Isaac Kempton
WSOP Circuit Main Event Champion Isaac Kempton
David Prociak
David Tuthill

Click the links below for tournament recaps and updates:

Isaac Kempton Wins the WSOP Circuit Main Event in Just His Second Live Tournament

2020 WSOP Circuit – February
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Tampa, Florida
Event 10
$1,700 WSOPC Main Event (Single Re-Entry)$1,000,000 Guaranteed
Entries:  1,162
Prize Pool:  $1,760,430
February 14-17, 2020

WSOP Circuit Main Event Champion Isaac Kempton
WSOP Circuit Main Event Champion Isaac Kempton

When Isaac Kempton stumbled across some poker videos on YouTube four years ago, he had no idea that it would lead to him winning $290,974 and a WSOP Circuit Main Event ring in only the second live tournament he had ever played.

“I saw some YouTube videos,” said Kempton, “probably through the auto-recommendation algorithm. It recommended some poker hands from the old High Stakes Poker days.” Kempton watched those videos, and then continued down the rabbit hole, consuming more and more poker content until he was ready to play it himself.

“This game looks really fun,” Kempton said, as he reminisced about his first exposure to poker. “And they’re playing for a ton of money. Maybe I should try this.” And try it he did.

“I just played for fun for two years,” said Kempton, who started out by playing free-money games online and little sit-n-go tournaments in his college dorm. “And then I decided, ‘Hey, this is really fun, and I think I’m pretty good at it. I’m going to try taking it seriously.’ So I started studying and trying to get better. And I was able to grind my way up, and now I’m here.”

Kempton has been primarily a cash game player, and if you don’t count the sit-n-gos from the college dorms, this WSOP Circuit Main Event was just the second live poker tournament that Kempton played.

Kempton was the overall chipleader after Day 1, and when the final 25 players bagged up at the end of Day 2, Kempton was once again atop the leaderboard. But when the final table was down to four players, Kempton found himself as the short stack.

Kempton doubled up with pocket sixes against Paul Balzano’s ace-nine, and then won a big three-way pot to eliminate Rob Manjura in fourth place and catapult into the chip lead. One hand later, Kempton eliminated Balzano in third place to get heads-up with David Jackson with a 2.3-to-1 chip lead.

Jackson was able to gain some ground on Kempton, but the tournament ended when Jackson shoved the river with Js9d (jack-high) on a board of 10s8h3d4dAs, and Kempton tank-called withQs8c to win the title with a pair of eights.

Along with the prize money and the coveted WSOP Circuit ring, Kempton receives an entry into the invitation-only WSOP Global Casino Championship. It won’t be easy, but if Kempton wins that event, he could have a WSOP Circuit ring and a WSOP Bracelet after playing only three live poker tournaments. And if that were to happen, you can bet that there would be a new generation of players inspired by watching videos of Isaac Kempton on YouTube.


Final Table Results:

1st:  Isaac Kempton  –  $290,974 + WSOP Circuit Ring
2nd:  David Jackson  –  $179,833
3rd:  Paul Balzano  –  $135,794
4th:  Rob Manjura  –  $103,434
5th:  James Calderaro  –  $79,480
6th:  Ioannis Patsourakis  –  $61,616
7th:  Francisco Gomez  –  $48,195
8th:  Brad Sailor  –  $38,039
9th:  Fares Santana  –  $30,297
10th:  John Ott  –  $24,353

Harmeet Singh Celebrates Presidents Day by Winning His First WSOP Circuit Ring

2020 WSOP Circuit – February
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Tampa, Florida
Event 14
$250 Double Stack NLH (Re-Entry)
$50,000 Guaranteed
Entries:  455
Prize Pool:  $91,000
February 17, 2020

Event 14 Champion Harmeet Singh
Event 14 Champion Harmeet Singh

With the day off from his full-time job due to the national holiday, Presidents Day, Harmeet Singh entered the final event of this series, the $250 Double Stack. It ended up being a Presidents Day to remember, as Singh not only final tabled the event with a friend, but Singh went on to win his first WSOP Circuit ring and $17,990.

“It’s the best feeling for any poker player,” said Singh after his victory, “and I really appreciate it.

When the final river card hit, the fifth-place finisher, Siddharth Siddharth, seemed even more excited for Singh than Singh was for himself. Singh introduced Siddharth to poker, and taught him a lot about the game.

“I introduced him to poker,” said Singh, who then began speaking about the person who helped guide him through the poker world. “My teacher has been my uncle, Raminder Singh, who has already won a WSOP Circuit ring. He is my mentor. He’s a teacher, a poker player, he’s my friend, he’s my parent, he’s my everything.” (Raminder Singh not only has a WSOP Circuit ring on his resume, but he is one of the winningest players in Seminole Hard Rock history with six trophies. )

The $17,990 that Singh won in this event was the second largest cash of his career, but if poker continues for him the same way that it has for his Uncle Raminder, then he has many more victories to look forward to.

Event 14 Champion Harmeet Singh with Siddharth Siddharth
Event 14 Champion Harmeet Singh poses with his poker student, Siddharth Siddharth, who finished fifth.

Final Table Results:

1st:  Harmeet Singh  –  $17,990 + WSOP Circuit ring
2nd:  Kenneth Frey  –  $11,116
3rd:  David Tuthill  –  $8,140
4th:  Richard Porter  –  $6,042
5th:  Siddharth Siddharth  –  $4,546
6th:  James Soper  –  $3,469
7th:  Luke Speer  –  $2,685
8th:  Garth Fudens  –  $2,108
9th:  John Bossinger  –  $1,679
10th:  Chad Summers  –  $1,357

David DiBernardi Wins His Second WSOP Circuit Ring in His Hometown

2020 WSOP Circuit – February
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Tampa, Florida
Event 13
$600 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
Entries:  374
Prize Pool:  $192,610
February 16-17, 2020

Event 13 Champion David Dibernardi
Event 13 Champion David Dibernardi

A year ago this month, David DiBernardi won his first WSOP Circuit ring down at Seminole Casino Coconut Creek, but after busting out of the Main Event on Sunday, DiBernardi was prepared to call it a series.

“I almost didn’t play this event,” said DiBernardi. “I was waiting in line because I min-cashed the Main Event, and my buddy said, ‘Dude, you’ve got to hop in this.'”

DiBernardi did hop into it, and finished Day 1 third in chips. By the time the final table began, he had moved up the leaderboard to second in chips, and when the final river card hit, DiBernardi was victorious in winning his second WSOP Circuit ring in his own hometown.

When asked about the WSOP Circuit coming to Tampa, DiBernardi said, “I’m from Tampa, and I’ve been waiting for something like this. It’s awesome, what the Hard Rock has done. This room has been amazing. It was a great series, and I’m excited that it’s coming back in September.”

Event 13 Champion David Dibernardi and Friends


Final Table Results:

1st:  David DiBernardi  –  $40,079 + WSOP Circuit Ring
2nd:  Victor Nissim  –  $24,768
3rd:  Giedrius Bagdonas  –  $17,957
4th:  Bradley Coultas  –  $13,216
5th:  William Watson  –  $9,877
6th:  Rodney Turvin  –  $7,497
7th:  Gregory Masters  –  $5,780
8th:  Stephen Song  –  $4,529
9th:  Saehyun Kim  –  $3,606
10th:  Lily Kornik  –  $2,920

Main Event: Isaac Kempton Wins ($290,974); David Jackson Finishes as Runner-Up ($179,833)

$1,700 WSOPC Main Event (Single Re-Entry)
$1,000,000 Guaranteed | Structure | Payouts
Level 36:  200,000/400,000 with a 400,000 ante
Players Remaining:  1 of 1,162

Final Hand Between David Jackson and Isaac Kempton
In the final hand of the WSOP Circuit Main Event, David Jackson (left) shoves the river against Isaac Kempton.

After a flop of 10s8h3d, Isaac Kempton checked, David Jackson bet 650,000, and Kempton called.

The turn card was the 4d, Kempton checked, Jackson bet 2,500,000, and Kempton called.

The river card was the As, Kempton checked, Jackson moved all in for 8,900,000, and Kempton asked for an exact count and went into the tank.

Eventually, Kempton quietly put out a single white chip (1,000,000) to indicate a call, and Jackson reluctantly showed his Js9h for a missed straight draw — jack high.

Kempton turned over Qs8c to win the pot — and the WSOP Circuit Main Event — with a pair of eights.

David Jackson finished as the runner-up, earning $179,833.

Isaac Kempton won $290,974, a WSOP Circuit Championship ring, and a seat into the WSOP Global Casino Championship.

Stay tuned for a recap from this final table.

1st:  Isaac Kempton  –  $290,974 + WSOP Circuit Ring
2nd:  David Jackson  –  $179,833
3rd:  Paul Balzano  –  $135,794
4th:  Rob Manjura  –  $103,434
5th:  James Calderaro  –  $79,480
6th:  Ioannis Patsourakis  –  $61,616
7th:  Francisco Gomez  –  $48,195
8th:  Brad Sailor  –  $38,039
9th:  Fares Santana  –  $30,297
10th:  John Ott  –  $24,353

Final Hand of the WSOP Circuit Main Event, with J-9 bluffing against Q-8 on a board of 10-8-3-4-A.

Main Event: Paul Balzano – 3rd Place ($135,794)

$1,700 WSOPC Main Event (Single Re-Entry)
$1,000,000 Guaranteed | Structure | Payouts
Level 35:  150,000/300,000 with a 300,000 ante
Players Remaining:  2 of 1,162

Paul Balzano
Paul Balzano

The next hand after Rob Manjura was eliminated in fourth place, Paul Balzano moved all in from the button for 5,700,000, and Isaac Kempton called from the big blind with Ah9d.

Balzano turned over Jh10h, and needed to improve to stay alive.

The board came Ac8h7c3d5s — Kempton paired his ace on the flop to Balzano’s gutshot straight draw, but Balzano improved no further. Kempton won the pot with his pair of aces to eliminate Balzano in third place.

Paul Balzano  –  Eliminated in 3rd Place  ($135,794)

There are less than 15 minutes left in the level, and the final two players ask to take their break now instead. Here are the official chip counts before heads-up play begins:

Isaac Kempton  –  24,350,000  (81 bb)
David Jackson  –  10,525,000  (35 bb)

And here is the final table prizepool:

1st:  $290,974 + WSOP Circuit Ring
2nd:  $179,833

3rd:  Paul Balzano  –  $135,794
4th:  Rob Manjura  –  $103,434
5th:  James Calderaro  –  $79,480
6th:  Ioannis Patsourakis  –  $61,616
7th:  Francisco Gomez  –  $48,195
8th:  Brad Sailor  –  $38,039
9th:  Fares Santana  –  $30,297
10th:  John Ott  –  $24,353

Main Event: Rob Manjura – 4th Place ($103,434)

$1,700 WSOPC Main Event (Single Re-Entry)
$1,000,000 Guaranteed | Structure | Payouts
Level 35:  150,000/300,000 with a 300,000 ante
Players Remaining:  3 of 1,162

Rob Manjura
Rob Manjura

Rob Manjura got it all in from UTG/cutoff for 1,500 with 9d9c, and he needed his hand to hold to stay alive against the AcKs of David Jackson in the big blind.

The board came 8c3s2h3c6d, and the pocket nines held up for Manjura to win the pot and double up in chips.

Rob Manjura  –  3,450,000  (12 bb)
David Jackson  –  10,750,000  (36 bb)

Rob Manjura moved all in again from UTG/cutoff for 3,450,000, Isaac Kempton called from the button, and Paul Balzano called from the small blind. David Jackson asked for a good look at Kempton’s stack before he folded in the big blind.

The flop came Kd10h5s, Balzano checked, Kempton moved all in, and Balzano folded.

Manjura showed AsKh for a pair of kings, but Kempton turned over AhAc for a pair of aces. Manjura was drawing very thin, and he needed to improve to stay alive.

The turn card was the Ad, the river card was the 7c, and Kempton won the pot with a set of aces to eliminate Manjura in fourth place.

After the hand, Balzano looked at Kempton and said, “You asked for aces, and you got them.”

Kempton said, “I waited a long time for them.”

Isaac Kempton  –  16,250,000  (54 bb)
Paul Balzano  –  5,700,000  (19 bb)
Rob Manjura  –  Eliminated in 4th Place  ($103,434)

With three players remaining, the average chip stack is about 11,620,000 (39 big blinds), and the next player to bust will earn $135,794.

Main Event: David Jackson Doubles Thru Paul Balzano; Isaac Kempton Doubles Thru Paul Balzano

$1,700 WSOPC Main Event (Single Re-Entry)
$1,000,000 Guaranteed | Structure | Payouts
Level 35:  150,000/300,000 with a 300,000 ante
Players Remaining:  4 of 1,162

David Jackson
David Jackson

Paul Balzano raised from the button to 600,000, David Jackson moved all in from the small blind for 7,750,000, and chipleader Balzano called with Kh9s. Jackson turned over 8h8d, and needed his hand to hold to stay alive.

The board came 10h6h3cJd7d, and the pocket eights held up for Jackson to win the pot and double up in chips.

David Jackson  –  16,100,000  (54 bb)
Paul Balzano  –  9,500,000  (32 bb)

Isaac Kempton
Isaac Kempton

The next hand, Isaac Kempton got it all in from the big blind for 5,025,000 with 6s6d, and he needed his hand to hold to stay alive against the Ac9d of Paul Balzano, who was UTG/cutoff.

The board came Ks7s5c10sJc, and the pocket sixes held up for Kempton to win the pot and double up in chips.

Isaac Kempton  –  10,500,000  (35 bb)
Paul Balzano  –  4,500,000  (15 bb)

With four players remaining, the average chip stack is about 8,725,000 (29 big blinds), and the next player to bust will earn $103,434.

Main Event: James Calderaro – 5th Place ($79,480)

$1,700 WSOPC Main Event (Single Re-Entry)
$1,000,000 Guaranteed | Structure | Payouts
Level 34:  125,000/250,000 with a 250,000 ante
Players Remaining:  4 of 1,162

James Calderaro
James Calderaro

David Jackson raised under the gun to 600,000, James Calderaro moved all in from the big blind for about 2.55 million, and Jackson called with As7d.

Calderaro turned over Kc7c, and he was dominated and facing elimination.

The board came 8c8d3d6h2c, and Jackson won the pot with his ace to eliminate Calderaro in fifth place.

David Jackson  –  13,200,000  (53 bb)
James Calderaro  –  Eliminated in 5th Place  ($79,480)

With four players remaining, the average chip stack is about 8,725,000 (35 big blinds), and the next player to bust will earn $103,434.

Main Event: David Jackson Knocks James Calderaro Down to 4bb; Calderaro Bounces Back to 14bb

$1,700 WSOPC Main Event (Single Re-Entry)
$1,000,000 Guaranteed | Structure | Payouts
Level 34:  125,000/250,000 with a 250,000 ante
Players Remaining:  5 of 1,162

David Jackson
Gloria Jackson (standing) sweats her husband David Jackson at the final table.

With the board showing Jd4d3c and about 3.9 million already in the pot, David Jackson got it all in from the big blind for 4,400,000 with JsJc for a set of jacks.

Jackson needed his hand to hold to stay alive against the Ad2d (flush draw, gutshot straight draw) of James Calderaro on the button.

The turn card paired the board with the 4s, the river card was the Ks, and Jackson turned a full house to win the pot and double up in chips.

David Jackson  –  12,700,000  (51 bb)
James Calderaro  –  950,000  (4 bb)

Two hands later, James Calderaro moved all in under the gun for 950,000, and Isaac Kempton called from the big blind with Jc2d. Calderaro turned over 9s9d, and needed his hand to hold to stay alive.

The board came Kd4d3hKc7d, and the pocket nines held up for Calderaro to win the pot and double up in chips.

James Calderaro  –  2,275,000  (9 bb)
Isaac Kempton  –  4,925,000  (20 bb)

A few minutes later, James Calderaro got it all in from the button for 1,525,000 with Qc8c, and he needed his hand to hold to stay alive against the 9c5c of David Jackson in the big blind.

The board came 7s3c2d4hQd — Jackson turned an open-ended straight draw, but Calderaro won the pot with a rivered pair of queens to double up in chips.

James Calderaro  –  3,425,000  (14 bb)
David Jackson  –  11,000,000  (44 bb)

With five players remaining, the average chip stack is about 6,975,000 (35 big blinds), and the next player to bust will earn $79,480.