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Friday, May 1, 2009 | Francis Lee


The 2009 World Series of Poker Circuit made its next stop at Caesar’s Palace in LasVegas.  187 players started out in this $5,000 buy in championship event with some of the biggest names in poker with in the field.  18 players was set to make the money with the first place prize set at $237,692 as well as a seat to this years WSOP main event.  The winner would have to negotiate three days play to win the top prize.

Day one saw over half the field being eliminated as just 88 players survived.  The notable names not to over come the first days play included Johnny Chan, Jimmy Fricke and Mark Seif.  Jeremiah DeGreef had the best of the play taking over 150,000 chips into the second day, which was 40,000 more than his nearest rival.  Michael Mizrachi, David Phan and Justin Bonomo also had good days, making it through on a decent chip stack.

Day two saw the field reduced to just 16 players as the bubble burst late on in the day.  Tom McTeer became the unfortunate bubble boy finishing in 19th place.  Michael Mizrachi took the chip lead half way through the day and held this right down to the close of play.  A number of notable names also made it through which ensured the next days play was going to be an interesting battle.   These names included Men Nguyen, Dwyte Pilgrim, Justin Bonomo, Nashaat Antonius and Matt Graham.  The day one chip leader Jeremiah DeGreef  had also maintained his top 10 position making it through to day three.

The race for the final table was on and it didn’t take long for this to be reached.   Evgeny Serebryakov  had the best of the early exchanges and ended up as chip leader going into the final ten.  Justin Bonomo also made a good start going through in second place.  The rest of the final ten chip rankings looked as follows.

Final Table Chip Rankings

  • 1st  Evgeny Serebryakov - 900,000
  • 2nd Justin Bonomo - 775,000
  • 3rd  Nashaat Antonius - 740,000
  • 4th  Matt Graham - 525,000
  • 5th  Michael Mizrachi - 500,000
  • 6th  Jack Schanbacher - 455,000
  • 7th  Jeremiah DeGreef - 247,000
  • 8th  Dwyte Pilgrim - 210,000
  • 9th  Men Nguyen - 160,000
  • 10th Bert Fujisaki - 90,000

Short stacked Bert Fujisaki  wasted no time moving all in with :ac :10d but he had ran into Jack Schanbacher’s :ad :ah No help came for Fujisaki who left the table in tenth place.  The early chip leader Evgeny Serebryakov lost two big hands early on loosing almost two thirds of his stack.  He decided to make a play for the pot, pushing all in with :2c :3d when on the big blind.  Justin Bonomo went into the tank for a while before making the call tabling :kc :qc The final board blanked for both players and Bonomo’s King high was enough to eliminate Serebryakov.

Just a few hands later Nashaat Antonias found himself in a coin flip situation all in against Schanbacher with :ah :ks against pocket Jacks.  The Jacks held up on the final board showing :qc :8d :4c :9h :7c leaving Antonias to head for the rail in eighth place.

Justin Bonomo went onto take the chip lead by first doubling up against Dwyte Pilgrim and then eliminating Jack Schanbacher.  After a pre flop rasing battle, Schanbacher found himself all in holding :7s :7d but was behind against Bonomo’s :ks :kd No help came for Schanbacher on the board meaning he was out in seventh place collecting 35,878 in prize money.

Dwyte Pilgrim tried to get some of his chips back from Bonomo when going all in with :ad :ks after Bonomo had raised with pocket Jacks.  An all low board extended Bonomo’s chip lead to over $2 million, double of the chip stack his nearest rival had.  Pilgrim unfortunately just fell short of his search for back to back WSOP circuit titles going out in sixth place.

Second placed Michael Mizrachi managed to gain some ground on Bonomo immediately after the dinner break by eliminating Matt Graham into fifth place.  Mizrachi’s :ad :kc dominated Graham’s :ah :9h and held up on the final board showing :ac :6h :4s :7d :6s

On the very next hand Jeremiah Degreef moved all in with :ks :jd and found some action when Mizrachi called with :ah :qc The final board came down :5h :7c :10d :6c :4d knocking Degreef into fourth place and levelled Mizrachi up with Bonomo in the chip rankings.  Just a few hands later Bonomo retook the chip lead to set up the heads up showdown.  Men Nguyen was his next victim as Nguyen’s :ah :6h was dominated by :ad :qc No help came for Nguyen who collected $91,937 finishing in third place.

Heads up turned into a four hour marathon battle as the chip lead swung from player to player numerous times.  In the end Bonomo managed to win a couple of big hands in a row and then had Mizrachi all in when he was ahead with :ks :qd against :jd :9s The flop :kc :10d :9d gave Bonomo top pair and then hit a queen high flush when the :ad and :3d completed the board.  This was Justin Bonomo’s first live tournament win who collected the $237,692 first place prize, the WSOP circuit championship ring and also securing a seat to this year’s WSOP main event.

Final Standings

  • 1st  Justin Bonomo $237,692
  • 2nd  Michael Mizrachi $143,512
  • 3rd  Men Nguyen $91,937
  • 4th  Jeremiah Degreef $71,756
  • 5th  Matt Graham    $56,059
  • 6th  Dwyte Pilgrim $44,848
  • 7th  Jack Schanbacher $35,878
  • 8th  Nashaat Antonias $29,151
  • 9th  Evgeny Serebryakov $24,666
  • 10th  Bert Fujisaki $20,181



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