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2006 World Series of Poker Circuit Tournaments
by Tom Howze

World Series of Poker Circuit Tournaments for the second season have been completed and it's time to review what went on during the past year. Plus we'll also take a look at the changes for the upcoming 2007 season. From August 2005 to June 2006 12 separate tournaments were played at Harrah's casinos across the nation, allowing all comers from everywhere around the world to sit down with top pros, international champions and many from regional areas around the United States in order to participate in top level poker competition. By competing in the Main Events offered at each circuit stop, a few fortunate players who became winners earned free roll seats to the 2006 Tournament of Champions. All of these winners won't be seen on television as ESPN did not film all of the events on the circuit, but they were named here so you know who went to the Tournament of Champions.

Season 2 began with a bang at the Grand Casino Tunica located in Tunica, Mississippi. Gregg Merkow was the winner of that Main Event, going past top names like Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi, Senthil Kumar, Kathy Liebert, Scotty Nguyen and John Juanda in the process. Next on the list was Harrah's Las Vegas where Chris Ferguson became the Main Event champion. This tournament was a players dream opportunity to earn a championship ring with the average number of players per event reaching 117. Stop number 3 did not take place at Grand Casino Biloxi due to Hurricane Katrina. The natural catastrophe left 17,000 resort workers without jobs, but Grand Casino Biloxi is slated to reopen in August 2006 after extensive repair and renovation, putting thousands back to work. In Caesar's Indiana, Vinny Vihn won the heads up with Men "The Master" Nguyen to capture the title of Main Event champion, a beautiful gold and diamond ring plus $437,760 for his efforts. And at the Paris Las Vegas Thang "Kido" Pham overcame a very tough final table which featured Joseph Hachem, Scotty Nguyen, Lee Watkinson, J.C. Tran and Steven Hudak to take the win there.

At the Showboat in Atlantic City, New Jersey Greg Raymer was the tournament host but it was Chris Reslock who splashed onto the WSOP limelight by winning it's Main Event. The Grand Casino Tunica was visited a second time on the circuit, and Daniel Negreanu earned the freeroll seat to the Tournament of Champions with his win here. Abraham Korotki in a feat of amazement, had only been playing poker 9 months when he entered and captured the win at Harrah's Atlantic City casino. Next it was time to go to Harrah's Rincon casino located in sunny San Diego, California where Darrell Dicken came out on top of 109 entrants to win the Main Event there.

Caesars Atlantic City Casino had Jeffrey King as the winner, beating out top names like Chris Ferguson, Mickey Appleman and Herbert Cheng. Caesar's in Las Vegas, Nevada posted the name of John Spadavecchia as it's champion. At Harrah's New Orleans, Peter Feldman pocketed $532,950 after his Main Event win, beating out some tough competition on the way. Our last champion of the season was Clint Baskin who received $372,240 and a gold and diamond ring for winning at Harrah's Lake Tahoe casino in Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

Some of the new changes for Season 3 will be that winning the Main Event no longer earns you a freeroll seat to the Tournament of Champions. Harrah's in a press release dated July 6, 2006 stated that winning their Circuit events are now tied to the 2007 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. The Main Event at each Circuit is now the $5,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold'Em event. Winning that gets you into the 2007 WSOP Main Event. Another fact is that the number of scheduled events has been lowered from 13 in Season 2 to 11 for Season 3. Good luck to all who sit down at the tables!

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