Nolans nightly Rincon recap with photos

back in 2006, he must have thought it was the start of something really big.  To his credit, the 36-year-old from San Diego had been a full-time poker pro for several years.  But winning any kind of WSOP-related victory often changes things.  If nothing else, a major tournament victory instills self-confidence and opens up a new fontier of opportunities as to what is humanly possible on the rough and tumble tournament poker circuit.

Unfortunately, Souza did not catapult himself from his 2006 win to the stratosphere of riches and superstardom.  He won other tournaments, and made nearly another dozen or so WSOP Circuit final tables.  But Souza has run into the same glass ceiling which looms over all poker players who aspire to greatness.  In short, the ranks of the Brunsons, the Iveys, the Chans, and the Hellmuths is a very select club, indeed.  In poker, going from merely “very good” to “great” is the toughest step of all, akin of the final ascension of Mount Everest.

With his victory in today’s most recent World Series of Poker tournament — which was held at the at Harrah’s Rincon Casino and Resort, near San Diego – Souza’s poker career took another giant leap forward.  The victory gave him his second WSOP Circuit gold ring and re-emphasizes the natural progression of things in the poker world which is, “First the Ring, then the Bracelet.”

Souza won $13,237 in prize money along with the victory.  But it was perhaps the satisfaction of overcoming enormous odds which was the most fulfilling aspect of the win.  Souza never had many chips during the tournament, and arrived at the Final Table ranked eighth out of nine players.  The chip leader had him dominated by an 8 to 1 margin.  But that didn’t seem to matter.  Souza did what he does best, playing extraordinary poker when it really counted en route to the victory.

The $300 (+40) buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament was played over two consecutive days during March 24-25, 2010.  Final Table play began on a Thursday afternoon.  There were two prior WSOP Circuit gold ring event winners among the final nine players – including Souza and Tony Lee, who won his title here at Rincon three years ago.

But all eyes at the start were on the one seat, occupied by Dustin Fox.  He arrived with the biggest chip advantage of any player so far at this year’s Rincon series.  Fox had all of his opponents covered by nearly 3 to 1 or more.  In fact, he had about 40 percent of the chips in play, an astounding advantage going into the final nine.  It appeared Fox would run over the final table when he amassed well over half the chips in play at one point.  But he went card dead at the worst possible time and ended up finishing in third place.  By the time Final Table play ended nearly six hours after it began, Souza had all the chips and the victory.

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