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John Hubiak Wins WSOP Circuit Event and $58,937 Top Prize

Atlantic City, NJ - Some professions make poker seem rather unimportant, by comparison. Matters of war and peace and life and death put the game in its proper perspective that for as exciting as poker might be at times, it pales in contrast to life's greatest challenges.

No one knows this better than John Hubiak. He is a 29 year old nurse who works in the intensive care unit of a trauma center. To say Hubiak works in a stressful environment on a daily basis would be an understatement. Indeed, the part-time poker player and full time medical professional from Taylor, PA often has the lives of strangers in his hands. His split second decisions can sometimes mean the difference between life and death.

Hubiak brought that depth of worldly experience and broader perspective to the poker table, and based on the most recent tournament results from the World Series of Poker Circuit at Caesars Atlantic City, it served him quite well. Hubiak won the $340 buy in No-Limit Hold'em tournament here and collected the top cash prize totaling $58,937. He was also presented with the coveted gold ring, which is the ultimate token of achievement given out to all tournament champions who win WSOP Circuit events held around the country.

This was the fourth of 12 WSOP Circuit events on this year's Caesars schedule. The tournament attracted 392 entrants. Most of the field was eliminated on day one, which clocked in at 14 hours. Five tables of battle-tested survivors returned for day two and played another lengthy session, which lasted another 13 hours. The top 36 finishers divided prize money from a $190,120 prize pool. Among those who finished in the money was former gold ring winner Yat Cheng, who won this year's inaugural Event 1, which completed just a few days ago. He came in 19th.

Final table play began on a Sunday night inside the Palladium Arena at Caesars and ended at 1 am. The only previous WSOP Circuit winner among the final nine was Julian Manolio, who won a gold ring at Harrah's Atlantic City two years ago. Alan Sansome, the table's senior citizen at 70, arrived as chip leader. But all the players were within striking distance of victory, which made this finale an unpredictable affair. The low blinds (5,000-10,000) and average stack of nearly 300,000 in chips at the start of play meant all players at the table had time to wait it out for the best possible advantage. Play was cautious in the early going. The nine finalists and their starting chip counts were as follows:


Players were eliminated in the following order:

Ninth Place: No Second Ring for Manolio

Julian Manolio, from Maywood, NJ failed to capture his second WSOP Circuit gold ring this time, pushing all in on a bluff, but striking out on what became his final hand. He wad dealt 6 5 suited and made his fateful move, but ran into A Q. An A came on the flop, which all but ended Manolio's chances of doubling up. Manolio's cut of the prize pool amounted to $3,802.

Eighth Place: Early Chip Leader Busts

Alan Sansone became the second early chip leader within two days to bust out prematurely. Following in the footsteps of the previous event where the chip leader was the first player out, Sansone lost much of his stack and then finally exited with Q J which ran up against A J. The dominant hand won, leaving the corporate administrator from Clifton, NJ out in eighth place with $5,704.

Seventh Place: Katz Runs Out of Lives

Michael "Katman" Katz, a real estate appraiser from East Brunswick, NJ was eliminated when he moved all in with A 10, which lost to pocket 7's. Katzman received $7,605. This was Katz's first time to cash in a major poker tournament.

Sixth Place: Graybill Takes Bad Beat

Mike Graybill, a mortgage analyst from Roanoke, VA went bankrupt in what can only be described as an unusual bad beat. Graybill started his final hand with pocket 6's and moved all in. He was called by an opponent holding A K, who barely had Graybill covered. Although neither an A nor a K fell on the board, the final sequence of cards showed two pair, 10's and 9's, which meant the A played as the fifth card. Graybill's pocket 6's bit the dust, thus putting the Virginian out on sixth place with $9,506.

Fifth Place: Sun Sets of Summers

Dennis Summers, from Charlottesville, VA went out in fifth place. He had a healthy sized stack late in the tournament but got trapped holding A J against A Q, which predictably lost. An ace flopped, but Summers couldn't overcome his kicker problems. Although he had previously won other events held in Atlantic City, Summers had to settle for a middle of the pack finish a this final table, which paid $11,407.

Fourth Place: Keeping up with the Jones'

John W. Jones, a senior business analyst from Fredericksburg, VA was short stacked late in the tournament and made a bold move on what became his final hand. Jones was dealt A Q. After the flop gave him a gutshot straight draw, Jones decided he did not have enough chips to passively wait around for a better situation and decided instead to move all in on a semi-bluff. His adversary, John Hubiak, thought long and hard about his decision, then finally agreed to call with K 9, which amounted to top pair with a marginal kicker. "Good call," Jones announced who subsequently failed to improve. Jones ended up with $13,308. An interesting side note is that Jones is a highly-accomplished juggler. In fact, he holds a number of world records juggling.

Key Moment: Daloisi Takes Worst Beat of the Night

William Daloisi dominated much of the action during the late stages of the tournament. However, Daloisi lost most of his chips on a brutal beat. The key hand of the tournament came when Daloisi was dealt pocket Q's and he moved all in pre flop. John Hubiak mysteriously called with what most would say was a questionable hand in the situation, tabling K Q suited. However, Hubiak received some divine inspiration when he ended up making a diamond flush on the critical hand. That gave him the chip lead and put Daloisi on life support. Hubiak later explained his call by saying he misread his opponent's strength in the situation, but added, "Even if I guessed wrong, I still figured that I had outs. So, I was comfortable making the call." The outs got there, which essentially gave Hubiak the victory just moments later.

Third Place: Logger Gets Cut

Joseph A. Siracusa, a 31 year old logger from Stony Point, NY, ended up in third place. He was eliminated when he flopped a pair of Q's, when the initial board showed Q77. After moving all in, John Hubiak instantly called and showed a 7, which was good for trips. Siracusa did not improve and ended up taking home $15,210 in prize money. Siracusa noted that he and his wife are expected a baby boy soon, so the cash prize comes at a good time.

Second Place: William Daloisi Agrees to Second Place

William Daloisi, a semi-pro poker player from Staten Island, NY leapfrogged into second place when the two far larger stacks went to battle, with Hubiak coming out on top. Once third place was decided, Daloisi agreed to a deal and accepted a second place finish. This was the second time Daloisi has cashed in a WSOP Circuit event. He officially pocketed $30,419.

First Place: Hubiak Wins

John Hubiak agreed to a deal and took first place. He officially collected $58,937 plus his WSOP Circuit gold ring. This also marked Hubiak's first major tournament victory.

An interview with John Hubiak at tableside moments after his win can be seen here:

The WSOP Circuit at Caesars Atlantic City continues through March 14. This year's schedule includes 12 gold ring events, along with multiple second-chance tournaments, single table and mega satellites, in addition to cash games going around the clock inside the Caesars Poker Room. This marks the fifth straight year that Caesars Atlantic City has been a part of the WSOP Circuit. This is the seventh WSOP Circuit stop of the 2009-2010 season following previous tournaments held in Chicago, Southern Indiana, Lake Tahoe, Harrah's Atlantic City, Tunica, and Council Bluffs.

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