Former #1s Gross, Engel Score Planet Hollywood Online Circuit Rings

Former #1-ranked PocketFivers Ari Engel and Steve Gross each picked up a WSOP Circuit ring on in February. (WPT photo)

No, some of the best poker players in the world were not packed into the tables at the Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas chasing down World Series of Poker Circuit rings over the last two weeks. Players in Nevada and New Jersey were, in fact, playing on in the Planet Hollywood Circuit events with 12 rings on the line and the list of winners includes more than a handful of familiar faces including a pair of former #1-ranked online poker players. The 12-event series had a total guarantee of $1.125 million and all 12 tournaments easily cleared their individual guarantee to push the total prize pools to $1,791,499. 

Jared Jaffee Opens With a Win

Jared Jaffee, who won his first WSOP Circuit ring at The Bicycle Club in Los Angeles in 2017, added another ring to his collection by outlasting 416 other entries in Event #1 ($250 NL Freezeout). Along with the win, Jaffee, playing under the screen name ‘darrensrabbi’, earned $23,804.44. Runner-up ‘DaSurrealist‘ earned $13,359.63 while Zach ‘ThePepster5’ Epstein took third for $8,161.52.

Ari Engel Breaks into Double Digits

Ari Engel, who held the #1 spot on the PocketFives Rankings for five weeks in late 2006, became just the fourth player to win 10 WSOP Circuit rings when he bested the 151-entry field in Event #3 ($500 Big PLO $500). Engel banked $16,350.13 for the win. Daniel ‘Bunzer07’ Jordan, who won the WSOP Circuit Online $1,000 Six Max High Roller event back in January for his first career ring, fell one spot short of grabbing his second and had to settle for a $12,244 score. Seth ‘weliketoprty’ Anirudh finished in third for $9,186.87.

Steve Gross Grabs First Ring

Engel wasn’t the only former #1 PocketFiver who grabbed some hardware. Steve Gross, who had four different reigns at the top for 55 total weeks, beat 469 other runners in Event #5 ($525 NL Monster Stack) for a $40,185 score and his first career Circuit ring. Michael ‘miw201x’ Wang finished one spot shy of the ring and added $29,727.50 to his bankroll. Jeff ‘YanCanCook’ Yanchek took third for $21,925.50.

Daniel Buzgon Does Double Duty

Daniel Buzgon, the #9-ranked online poker in the United States, emerged from the series with two rings. His first came in Event #8 ($300 NL Knockout Freezeout) where he worked his way through 280 other entries to win $14,896.92. Two days later, he beat 261 players in Event #10 ($500 NL BIG 500 8-Max) for a $24,840.57 score. The New Jersey resident now has six career Circuit rings with the last four all coming in the online arena. 

Derek Sudell Ships Main Event Title

Derek ‘rickyguan’ Sudell made his way through 721 other entries in Event #12 ($525 Main Event) only to be left going heads-up against AJ ‘jnja1719’ Basselini-Truisi, the winner of the Main Event in the WSOP Circuit Super Series in January. There, Basselini-Truisi beat 892 other entries to capture his first career ring. This time however, the Howell, New Jersey resident had to settle for runner-up status. Sudell eliminated him in second place and earned the Connecticut native a career-best $57,623.10 score. 

Basselini-Truisi walked away with $42,657. James ‘muskrrr’ Moore wound up in third place and earned $31,450.50. Planet Hollywood Circuit Winners List

Event #TournamentEntriesPrize PoolWinnerEarnings
1$250 NL Freezeout417$97,161Jared 'darrensrabbi' Jaffee$23,804.44
2$320 NL 2x Re-Entry482$144,600Ralph 'sosana' Perry$24,726.60
3$500 BIG PLO 500 3x Re-Entry151$73,319Ari 'philivey' Engel$16,350.13
4$320 NL Double Stack 2x Re-Entry466$139,800Fadi 'fadiphatu1' Elsmaily$23,905.80
5$525 NL Monster Stack 3x Re-Entry470$235,000Steve 'gborooo' Gross$40185.00
6$215 NL Deep Turbo 2x Re-Entry433$86,600Bryan 'liveofodds' Hayes$14,808.60
7$1,000 NL High Roller 6-Max 2x Re-Entry218$208,190Andrew 'WATCHGUY42' Lichtenberger$43,428.43
8$300 NL Knockout Freezeout281$79,242Daniel 'juice' Buzgon$14,896.92
9$320 NL 6-Max 2x Re-Entry373$111,900Michael 'mygame' Lavenburg$21,484.80
10$500 NL BIG 500 8-Max 3x Re-Entry261$121,887Daniel 'juice' Buzgon$24,840.57
11$320 NL Double Stack 2x Re-Entry441$132,300Vijay 'eclypzed' Para$22,623.3
12$525 NL Main Event 8-Max 3x Re-entry723$361,500Ricky 'rickyguan' Guan$57,623.10

The next WSOP Online Circuit series is the Silver Legacy Circuit which runs March 19 – 30 and offers 12 ring events.