The World Series of Poker Circuit landed at Ballys-Paris Casino in Las Vegas last weekend. The event marked the fourth tour stop of the 2005-06 season.
The $10,000 buy-in main event attracted 134 entries, which generated a total prize pool of $1,259,600. Nine places will be paid and $453,456 will go to the winner.
This is the first WSOP Circuit event with an official host. In an effort to honor the great poker champions of the past (and future), Harrah’s Entertainment paid tribute to 1998 world poker champion Scotty "The Prince" Nguyen, who was designated with the role as official host of the Bally-Paris tournament.
Fittingly, after the first day of competition, Scotty Nguyen was the chip leader in his own tournament. It’s hardly a surprise that the flamboyant Nguyen would crash his own party.
Raed Abu Kartomy, of Huntington Beach, California was a close second. Doug Le, who won last year’s Rio Las Vegas circuit event, was third.
After 90 players were eliminated on the first day of competition, the 44 survivors returned to compete. Results were not available at press time, but will be posted later in the week on GamingToday’s web site.
Scotty’s Nguyen’s day started with a public appearance that was standing-room only. He was the featured guest at the most recent ”˜Heads Up: Interview with a Poker Champion’ program. Nguyen spent an hour talking about his personal life, poker accomplishments, and outlook on the future of the game. The interview was followed by a question and answer session with the audience. After signing over 100 autographs, Nguyen sat down in the tournament and immediately demonstrated why he remains one of the most feared and respected foes in poker.
The Ballys-Paris championship event attracted many of the biggest names in poker. Former world champions Doyle Brunson (1976, 1977), Johnny Chan (1987, 1988), Scotty Nguyen (1998), and Joe Hachem (2005) were in the field. Of the former world champions, only Nguyen and Hachem survived to play on the second day. Other notable names in the field included casino mogul Bob Stupak, singer Celine Dion’s manager and husband Rene Angelil, and poker commentator (and former WSOP bracelet winner) Mike Sexton. At least 40 former WSOP gold bracelet winners played, making this one of the most highly-competitive events of the year.
Over the weekend, the 44 survivors will play down to 27 players. Then, on Monday, the field of 27 will be reduced to the final table of nine players. The nine finalists will not only make it into the money, they will also be featured on ESPN’s television broadcast of the Ballys-Paris championship.