California Poker Calendar Wraps Up With World Series Of Poker Circuit In Los Angeles

Written By Steven Schult on December 22, 2022
World Series of Poker Circuit Bicycle Casino main event winner

The Bicycle Casino hosted California’s final major poker tournament series of the year.

Last week, the Southern California casino wrapped up its second World Series of Poker Circuit series of 2022. The 13-event series was the final shot for California poker players to win a poker tournament of any significance in 2022.

However, they will have another chance very soon. The WSOP Circuit returns to the Golden State next month with a stop at Thunder Valley, a Northern California casino, starting on Jan. 12.

Andrew Merrick wins Bike main event

The series featured mostly small and mid-stakes no-limit hold ’em events. The Circuit staple, the $1,700 no-limit hold ’em main event, served as the highlight.

San Diego-based grinder Andrew Merrick topped the 251-entry field, earning his third Circuit ring and $87,120. Merrick won both of his other rings during a stop at Harrah’s Rincon in the San Diego area in 2013.

He took down the $580 no-limit hold ’em for $17,639 and a $365 no-limit hold ’em for $16,576. His victory in the Bike’s main event was the largest score of his poker career. He defeated Hong Xing Wang heads-up. Wang earned $53,870 for his runner-up finish.

After the victory, Merrick told WSOP reporters he was getting back into poker after some time off. A victory wildly exceeded his own expectations.

“It’s sinking in. I haven’t played a lot of events lately, I have just been working and having some life adjustments. I was happy to come in and make it back to a final table.”

The final table was filled with California natives with two-thirds of the final nine players calling the state home. Only Brazilian Andre Garcia, Las Vegas native Daniel Brown and Arkansas resident David Carver hailed from outside state lines.

Main event final table results

1stAndrew Merrick$87,120
2ndHong Xing Wang $53,870
3rdAdam Miller $38,505
4thWin Nguyen $28,010
5thAndre Garcia $20,740
6thMichael Lo $15,635
7thPayman Arjang $12,101
8thDaniel Brown $9,395
9thDavid Carver$7,495

William Wolf scores third Circuit ring

Merrick wasn’t the only one to earn his third Circuit title in Los Angeles. William Wolf won the $1,100 no-limit hold ’em event for $22,565 and his third ring.

The victory is continued success at the Bike for another San Diego native with all three titles coming in Los Angeles. Wolf won his first in 2014 after taking down a $365 no-limit hold ’em and a second in 2017 in another $365 no-limit hold ’em event.

Other notable deep runs included Frankie O’Dell’s third-place finish in the $600 Omaha hi-lo. O’Dell, who already has three WSOP bracelets to his name and seven-figures worth of career tournament cashes, fell just shy of his fifth Circuit ring.

Former Survivor contestant and founder of the poker software Floptimal, Shirin Oskooi, finished sixth in the $250 no-limit hold ’em double stack for $2,140.

Complete series results

Event #Game Field Size WinnerPayout
1$500 No-Limit Hold'em Mammoth Stack 282 Wissam Gahshan$26,470
2$400 No-Limit Hold'em 153Stefan Bean $13,125
3$250 No-Limit Hold'em 475 Madhav Goyal $18,395
4$600 Omaha Hi-Lo 70Anthony Pitesa$11,630
5$400 No-Limit Hold'em Monster Stack 549Anh Nguyen $53,735
6$400 No-Limit Hold'em 78Brenton Gill $8,060
7$250 No-Limit Hold'em 263 Andres Garcia $11,695
8$400 No-Limit Hold'em Turbo 78Grant Stoker $8,060
9$400 No-Limit Hold'em 110Gabe Attoun $10,285
10 $400 No-Limit Hold'em 205 Robert Gill$16,160
11$1,700 No-Limit Hold'em Main Event 252Andrew Merrick $87,120
12$1,100 No-Limit Hold'em 74William Wolf $22,565
13$250 No-Limit Hold'em 161Guillermo De La Vega$8,280

Las Vegas series likely caused a depressed field size

The Bike typically hosts the WSOP Circuit twice a year. The first comes in March and the second rounds out the calendar year.

It is usually one of the more popular events on the Circuit schedule. However, this series saw turnout down across the board and the absence of its usual $2,200 high roller no-limit hold’em event.

For example, last March, the main event drew 550 entries and awarded $161,500 to the winner. But those numbers were nearly cut in half last week.

The time around, the Bike’s December series overlapped with the World Poker Tour World Championship series at the Wynn Las Vegas. The Wynn series posted massive turnouts for all its events, including a $10,000 main event.

Unfortunately for the Bike, a good chunk of the California poker player pool headed to the desert for that series instead of playing in their backyard.

The WPT will almost certainly run the same series next year. As a result, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Bike change dates for its second WSOP Circuit stop.

Photo by World Series of Poker
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Steven Schult

Steve serves as managing editor for PlayCA and a handful of other sites across Catena Media. The New York native is a veteran of the gambling world. He started covering high-stakes tournaments in 2009 for some of poker's most prominent media outlets before adding the broader US gaming market to his beat in 2018.

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