Jewell wins his second WSOPC main event

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The World Series of Poker Circuit at Harrah’s Tunica was a resounding success. Thousands turned out for the largest annual event in regional tournament play, with 647 in the $1,600 main event. Kurt Jewell of Frankfort, Ky., who already had a WSOPC main event title under his belt, won this title as well, taking home $192,984 and another championship ring.

This particular Tunica event was a little bittersweet. Jimmy Sommerfeld, a Memphis native, has been a part of the Mississippi poker since the first card was dealt and the Harrah’s Tunica stop always has been his “hometown” event, and plenty of locals come every year just to play in a tournament run by one of the most recognized tournament directors in WSOP history.

Sommerfeld had announced he would retire after the Palm Beach Kennel Club stop, making this his last time running the show in Tunica. I’m sure it won’t be the last we see of him, though. Only now we’ll all have to compete against him for the prize pools while he enjoys retirement.

KAEGIN’S BACK: Other big news in Tunica includes changes at the Gold Strike. After Ken Lambert’s departure at the end of last year, new poker room manager Karen Kaegin has settled in and has started making changes. If you’re on the email list for poker room updates through the players club, you’ll notice lots of new tournaments and fun events like the “Beat the Boss” event where players get to compete against the manager and floor for a chance at a bounty.

The bad-beat qualifier has been dropped from quads to aces full of kings or better. Kaegin has been in the industry more than 14 years, and aside from a natural love of poker, enjoys playing as well. She was the poker room manager at Island View Casino in Gulfport when it closed its poker room a couple of years ago after just two years of being open.

If you’re planning on playing the Delta Gold event, which will be under way when this article hits the stands (March 23-April 2) stop by and check out the newest promotions and give her a warm welcome. She’ll be on hand throughout the tournament, and welcomes player input and suggestions.

GOLDEN NUGGET EMERGES: A little further south, really exciting news is brewing in Biloxi. On March 5, it was announced Golden Nugget will buy the Isle Casino site. The Golden Nugget will honor all Isle Biloxi customer points and rewards, not only in Biloxi, but at the Golden Nugget properties in Las Vegas, Atlantic City and Laughlin. Plans for the Biloxi location include enhancing the look of the 720-room property, to create a premiere resort destination in the South. Renovations and upgrades are expected to be completed by 2013.

If you’ve played at the Golden Nugget in Vegas, you can be sure they take poker seriously. It’s one of my favorite places to play downtown, with a great feel to the room and professional staff. The poker room in Biloxi will give players visiting the area more options and variety, improving the overall market and draw more action to the gulf coast.

With the race for final WSOP points well under way as we get closer to the World Series, I look forward to seeing just how many Gulf Coast and Tunica players end up qualifying for the WSOP National Championship $1 million freeroll. I’m hoping to see many of you at the upcoming events, and then in Vegas this summer.

— Jennifer Gay is Ante Up’s Mississippi Ambassador.She can be contacted at
facebook.com/aceofjewels or at jennifergay80@hotmail.com.

WSOP Circuit, Harrah’s Tunica, Feb. 2-14

Event 1 • $345 NLHE
Entries: 1,128 • Pool: $328,248
Winner: Chip Ervin, $59,660
Event 2 • $345 NLHE
Entries: 701 • Pool: $203,991
Winner: Paul Sokoloff, $41,544
Event 3 • $555 NLHE
Entries: 230 • Pool: $110,200
Winner: Andy McIlvain, $27,552
Event 4 • $345 NLHE
Entries: 359 • Pool: $104,469
Winner: Matthew Weber, $23,719
Event 5 • $345 NLHE
Entries: 394 • Pool: $113,304
Winner: Kasey Stanford, $24,929
Event 6 • $345 6-Max
Entries: 344 • Pool: $98,754
Winner: Mike Urbaniak, $24,929
Event 7 • $345 NLHE
Entries: 433 • Pool: $124,653
Winner: Andrew Smith, $27,426
Event 8 • $555 Heads-Up
Entries: 132 • Pool: $64,020
Winner: Dalton Mills, $17,927
Event 9 • $345 PLO/8
Entries: 197 • Pool: $57,327
Winner: Rocky Boustani, $14,908
Event 10 • $345 NLHE
Entries: 337 • Pool: $98,067
Winner: Seth Foster, $22,557
$1,600 Main Event
Entries: 647 • Pool: $941,385
Winner: Kurt Jewell, $192,984
Event 12 • $345 NLHE
Entries: 251 • Pool: $73,041
Winner: Rodney Shows, $17,896