Big names, big crowds come out for WSOPC Hammond

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On Dec. 6, 2002, the Blue Chip Casino’s poker room ran Chicagoland’s first weekly hold’em tournament. Ten years later, the Horseshoe hosted the World Series of Poker Circuit’s biggest event. With the fifth year in the books, the numbers are again the big story. This year’s WSOPC opener was the third largest in history (2,498 entries) with almost $750K in the prize pool. The main event’s 1,523 entries made up this year’s largest field for a circuit event.

Michael “Grinder” Mizrachi, his brother Robert, Gavin Smith, Brian Hastings, Chad Brown and Dan Heimiller were some of the big names in town for the series. Heimiller, who won Southern Indiana’s main event earlier in October, finished sixth in the H.O.R.S.E. event. Brown was runner-up to Nick Jivkov in the Omaha/8 event.

Allen “Chainsaw” Kessler, Faraz Jaka and Kathy Liebert are becoming familiar faces at this circuit event every year.

“I like coming to Hammond because they have more mixed games than other circuit events” Kessler said. H.O.R.S.E., pot-limit Omaha and Omaha/8 were again ring events. Kessler said he also likes the large fields.

The opener had Milwaukee’s Thomas Rodgers come out on top of Dave Backstrom, bringing home $110K. Part-time poker player Joshua Williams from South Bend, Ind., went home with $386K for winning the main event.

Amanda Musumeci, best known for her deep run in the 2011 WSOP main event, picked up her first ring, winning a no-limit hold’em event.

— “Chicago” Joe Giertuga is Ante Up’s Chicagoland Ambassador. Email him at chicago.joe@comcast.net.

WSOP Circuit, Horseshoe Hammond, Oct. 15-23

Event 1 • $365 NLHE
Entries: 2,498 • Pool: $749,400
Thomas Rogers, $110,535
Event 2 • $580 NLHE
Entries: 678 • Pool: $339K
Milliard Hale, $69,505
Event 3 • $1,125 NLHE
Entries: 164 • Pool: $164K
Eddie Ochana, $44,281
Event 4 • $365 PLO
Entries: 166 • Pool: $49,800
Donald Walsh, $38,046
Event 5 • $365 NLHE
Entries: 730 • Pool: $219K
Blake Barousse, $43,805
Event 6 • $580 NLHE
Entries: 313 • Pool: $156,500
Stan Barshak, $39,123
Event 7 • $365 H.O.R.S.E.
Entries: 277 • Pool: $83,100
David Droeger, $20,725
Event 8 • $1,125 NLHE
Entries: 222 • Pool: $222K
Ari Engel, $55,503
Event 9 • $365 Omaha/8
Entries: 214 • Pool: $64,200
Nick Jivkov, $16,046
$1,675 Main Event
Entries: 1,523 • Pool: $2.3M
Joshua Williams, $385,909
Event 11 • $580 NLHE
Entries: 260 • Pool: $130K
Amanda Musumeci, $31,851
Event 12 • $365 NLHE
Entries: 248 • Pool: $74,400
Nicholas Cikulin, $18,229