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Donna Delfin Makes Poker History at Rincon

 Event 5 Champion Becomes First Female WSOP Circuit Winner Ever at Harrah’s Rincon

 Donna Delfin finally managed to do what no other female poker player has done in the nine-season history of WSOP Circuit events at Harrah’s Rincon. Despite more than 100 gold ring events played since 2005, no female had ever won a gold ring up to this point. Delfin, fresh off two previous final table appearances which took place last month at Harvey’s Lake Tahoe, arrived at this finale with even more determination. She overcame a formidable lineup en route to what was not just a personal triumph as a poker player, but a historic achievement as well.

 “It’s really amazing,” Delfin said moment after winning. “This is great. It was a real grind. I can’t believe this. I wanted this so much.”

 Delfin is a 50-year-old part-time poker player from Folsom, CA. She says she’s been playing for about five years. Although she’s made some serious strides as a player, nothing quite compares to the thrill of winning what was a first WSOP-related victory, and going down in history as the first female to win a title here in San Diego after so many other have come close, but short. Delfin demonstrated an extraordinary mix of patience mixed with aggression. She seemed to allow others to bust as she slowly picked her spot and began to accumulate chips. Although she was in danger of busting on a few occasions, especially when things got heads up with eventual runner-up Todd Davis, Delfin usually had the best of it and managed to gradually put herself in a position to win.

 The victory came at 2 pm. Despite the late hour, several well-wishers came back into the tournament room and celebrated. Delfin also received a number of phone calls and text messages. It seemed all the members of “Team Donna” were watching. Delfin collected $11,844 in prize money. But the WSOP Circuit gold ring and the prestige of victory were of greater importance. Interestingly, Delfin’s WSOP resume reveals a steady stream of progress. Each and every time she’s cashed, Delfin has ultimately performed better than on the previous occasion. In fact, she’s now made three final tables including three top-five finishes during her last two WSOP Circuit stops. Although the main event of the WSOP Circuit Event at Harrahs Rincon is still being played as we go to press, we continue below with the results for events one through nine.

 Harrah’s Rincon (just north of San Diego) may not be the biggest tour stop on the WSOP Circuit schedule, but it would be difficult to find a venue that has produced more memorable moments in just a week’s time. Nancy Birnbaum, a 47-year-old professional poker player and tournament regular from Las Vegas, triumphed in the latest gold ring event. She topped the $365 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tourney, which began with 162 players. Moreover, she defeated a formidable final table lineup that included the likes of two-time duel gold bracelet and gold ring winner Brent Carter, and others.

 Birnbaum collected $13,122 in prize money. But the cash was the last thing on her mind, as she was (moreso) in it to win the ring!

 “This means so much to me,” Birnbaum said, afterward. “The money is nice, but I am playing for the prestige and the satisfaction. I like putting my mind to something and then accomplishing it. There’s a satisfaction in that which has no price.”

 Indeed, Birnbaum had good reason to be proud. Not just for who she beat or what she won, but for how she did it. At one point, when play was four-handed, Birnbaum was down to just 20,000 in chips, which was a little more than one round of blinds. She seemed to have no shot to win. But Birnbaum won the hands she needed to at the right moments, and eventually crushed all three of her final adversaries en route to what may have been the most satisfying win of her career.

 “You always remember your first win as the best one,” Birnbaum said. “But this one was just as special. I was running bad up to this point. In fact, a few days ago I was about to go home; It just wasn’t going well. But I decided to stick it out for a few more events, and here I am.” Birnbaum credited her self-confidence as a key factor in the victory. “I believe in myself,” she said. “You have to believe in yourself and trust what you are doing. Of course, you need help, but you have to play this game with confidence. That means everything.”

 Birnbaum won her first gold ring three years ago at Harrah’s New Orleans. She also has two second-place finishes on her resume. This marked her tenth time to cash on the WSOP Circuit. Considering that 4 of her 10 cashes have resulted in second-place showings or better, that’s quite impressive. Oddly enough, Brinbaum becomes the second female player to win a gold ring this week at Harrah’s Rincon. It took nine long seasons for San Diego to witness its first WSOP Circuit female victor. But after Donna Delfin broke the gender curse three nights ago, Birnbaum arrived with reinforcements and solidified her position as one of the WSOP Circuit’s most consistent female performers.

 She joins a few other female multiple gold ring winners, including Loni Harwood, who is also playing this series at Rincon. La Sengphet remains as the all-time wins leader among females with three career wins in open events (she’s also here in San Diego). Birnbaum becomes the fourth multiple gold ring winner here at Harrah’s Rincon through the first eight events. Alexandru Masek opened up this series by winning his recordtying fifth gold ring. Then, Michael Soua won is fourth career gold ring just a day later. That was followed by Valentin Vornicu’s second gold ring victory on Wednesday. Then just a day later, Birnbaum has also joined this elite poker club.

 Michael Wynn Takes Down Event 4, Collects First Gold Ring

 Following a second extended day of tournament action, we finally have a winner in Event 4, the $365 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament, which just concluded at Harrah’s Rincon. Michael Wynn, a 26-year-old professional poker player from Las Vegas, NV, topped a field of 400 players, and collected $26,405 in prize money. Wynn also won the first WSOP Circuit gold ring of his career.

 Wynn’s victory was not easy. First, he had to overcome the largest field size of this tournament series. Next, he faced some stiff competition at the final table, including two former gold ring winners.

 One of those he faced (and defeated) was David “DC” Clark, a two-time gold ring winner. The other notable adversary he beat was recent gold ring winner Carter Myers, who Wynn defeated in heads-up play. Wynn is on a tournament roll. He made a big score a few months ago in Las Vegas, winning one of the Deep Stack events played at The Venetian. Now, he’s triumphed on an even bigger stage.

 With this victory, Wynn now has 50 points towards the National Championship and Casino Champions race. Given the way he’s been running, Wynn is undoubtedly now a serious candidate to get a seat in the championship.

WSOP CIRCUIT EVENT
EVENT #5 12/9/12
NO LIMIT HOLD’EM
BUY-IN $365
PLAYERS 141
PRIZE
POOL $42,300
1. Donna Delfin . . . . . . $11,844
2. Todd Davis . . . . . . . . $7,320
3. John Meekhael . . . . . $5,284
4. Raymond Padgett . . . $3,883
5. Connor Cronkhite . . $2,903
6. Jack Converse . . . . . . $2,207
7. Adam Laskey . . . . . . $1,706
8. Chad Thyzel . . . . . . . $1,340
9. Eric Revak . . . . . . . . $1,070
EVENT #9 12/13/12
NO LIMIT HOLD’EM
BUY-IN $1,125
PLAYERS 85
PRIZE
POOL $85,000
1. Jessie Bryant . . . . . . $27,202
2. Jarod Ludemann . . $16,810
3. David Randall . . . . . $11,767
4. Santo Messina . . . . . . $8,571
5. Matt Affleck . . . . . . . . $6,306
6. Alan Ho . . . . . . . . . . . $4,711
7. Seth Fischer . . . . . . . $3,778
8. Fedor Runtsev . . . . . $3,149
9. Russell Powell . . . . . . $2,706

HARRAHS RINCON
WSOP CIRCUIT EVENT
EVENT #8 12/12/12
NO LIMIT HOLD’EM
BUY-IN $365
PLAYERS 162
PRIZE POOL
$48,600
Nancy
Birnbaum
1. Nancy Birnbaum . . . $13,122
2. David Anderson . . . . $8,109
3. Brent Carter . . . . . . . $5,837
4. Chad Wassmuth . . . . $4,278
5. Jonathan Chehanske $3,191
6. Misato Black . . . . . . . $2,422
7. Daniel Rincones . . . . $1,869
EVENT #7 12/11/12
NO LIMIT HOLD’EM
6-HANDED
BUY-IN $365
PLAYERS 126
PRIZE POOL
$38,100
Valentin
Vornicu
1. Valentin Vornicu . . . $10,858
2. Eddy Asady . . . . . . . . $6,712
3. Casey Stewart . . . . . . $4,838
4. Jason Tang . . . . . . . . $3,501
5. Dwight Englekirk . . . $2,543
EVENT #6 12/10/12
NO LIMIT HOLD’EM
BUY-IN $365
PLAYERS 135
PRIZE POOL
$40,500
Jimmy Nguyen
1. Jimmy Nguyen . . . . $11,341
2. Saul Frank . . . . . . . . $7,009
3. Thomas Johnson . . . . $5,059
4. Ivan Mahood . . . . . . . $3,717
5. Peter Zaferis . . . . . . . $2,779
6. Sam Ansley . . . . . . . . $2,113
7. Daniel Rincones . . . . $1,633
8. Tavish Margeres . . . . $1,283
9. Chris Ruby . . . . . . . . $1,024
EVENT #4 12/8/12
NO LIMIT HOLD’EM
BUY-IN $365
PLAYERS 400
PRIZE
POOL $120,000
1. Michael Wynn . . . . . $26,405
2. Carter Myers . . . . . $16,314
3. Gary Fessia . . . . . . . $11,921
4. Darius Johnson . . . . . $8,851
5. David Para . . . . . . . . $6,674
6. Shawn Daniels . . . . . $5,108
7. Sean Yu . . . . . . . . . . . $3,967
8. David Clark . . . . . . . $3,125
9. Lucien Breault . . . . . $2,496
EVENT #3 12/7/12
H.O.R.S.E
BUY-IN $365
PLAYERS 71
PRIZE POOL
$21,300
Matt Schultz
1. Matt Schultz . . . . . . . . $7,241
2. Frank Lin . . . . . . . . . $4,481
3. Jeff Myers . . . . . . . . . $2,950
4. Fernando Ortiz . . . . . $2,065
5. Ken Leflore . . . . . . . . $1,530
EVENT #2 12/7/12
NO LIMIT HOLD’EM
BUY-IN $365
PLAYERS 157
PRIZE POOL
$47,100
Michael Souza
1. Michael Souza . . . . . $12,718
2. Robert Pagcaliwagan $7,859
3. Thomas Rogers . . . . . $5,657
4. Charles Deets . . . . . . $4,146
5. Paul Hendee . . . . . . . $3,093
6. Neil Scott . . . . . . . . . . $2,347
7. Michelle Owen . . . . . $1,811
EVENT #1 12/6/12
NO LIMIT HOLD’EM
BUY-IN $365
PLAYERS 205
PRIZE POOL
$61,500
Alexandru
Masek
1. Alexandru Masek . . $15,989
2. Randy Paguio . . . . . . $9,878
3. Kevin Swad . . . . . . . . $7,132
4. Keith Morgan . . . . . . $5,238
5. Kevin Krickhahn . . . $3,913
6. Lance Martinez . . . . $2,974
7. Titan Leard . . . . . . . . $2,297
8. Kenton Taylor . . . . . . $1,804

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World Series of Poker