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Coming up in Texas poker is tough. In addition to fading the normal variance of the game, players have to fight exorbitant rakes and dodge robberies and raids. Spots come and go often, with no regulation cheats can operate with impunity for years before their reputations get tarnished. No poker tours come to our home towns, no special promotions for pit players trickle down into our economy, and no advertising means we have smaller player pools to fish in. When people express shock that grinders from Texas are going on a rush in a regulated market like Cali I just laugh- compared to our home games this is a walk in the park.

2011 Rincon recap:

There was no event at the bicycle casino last year, but the Texas crew cleaned up at Rincon in 2011. Seneca Easley (@6ovspades), Mstr Lynch, and Justin “Choctaw” Kruger (@ChoctawKruger) grabbed four rings from the circuit stop, including a main event win by Mr. Easley.

2011 Texas Rincon winners:

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Mstr Lynch, Seneca Easley, Justin Kruger

Starting strong in 2012:

La Sengphet (@lasengphet) continued the Texas west coast ring run in 2012 winning an open event at the Bike’s first wsop circuit in January. She made history with that win becoming the first woman to win 3 open wsopc events. Read more about that trip here: http://whoisdavidclark.wordpress.com/2012/01/13/lala-land/

LaLa Land:

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Picture by Eric Butler of Image Masters

Different paths to the prize:

The two new ring winners both got their start in Dallas poker, but they took very different routes to their Rincon victories. Josh Evans continued his poker progression by moving into online mtts. According to pocketfives.com Josh “pairDboard21″ Evans amassed 1.6 million in online cashes across the sites before the DOJ shuttered them. After black Friday Josh was forced to relocate to Vegas to continue his career as a live grinder.

John Harris transitioned from Dallas poker to a dealing job on the wsop circuit. He also dealt at the Venetian and would eventually take a floor position there. After his time in Vegas John moved to Bakersfield California to help open the Aviator casino. Recently he decided to hang up his suit and join the ranks of circuit grinders following the wsopc, a decision that has certainly started off on the right foot.

Josh Evans turns his last two antes into a ring:

Josh, like many pros, showed up to Rincon hunting points more than rings. He had a few deep runs in his limited circuit schedule, including a 2nd in the re-entry at the Bicycle Casino, and made the trip to take advantage of the short fields to try and lock up 10k in free roll equity. Of course the best way to get points is to win a tournament, and Josh showed his mental toughness recovering from a crippling loss AK vs. AK aipf to do just that.

After getting flushed out on, Josh was left with 2 500 ante chips late in day one. With some run good, solid game theory, and a never quit attitude he was able to parlay his last 1k into 120k by the end of the day. After turning 1k into 120k, turning 120k into 1.9 million chips didn’t seem so unreasonable. He came to the final table of the 6-max event with around 250k and never looked back.

Another day at the office for Josh Evans:

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Josh has made multiple TV appearances, including the final table of the Million dollar free roll in 2011 where he and La spent some quality time together. His low key style and a string of 2nds and 3rds have kept him under the radar, but that trend is unlikely to continue. Titles and bravado get you publicity, but skill and consistency gets you respect in the community and Josh has earned his stripes with solid results year after year.

John Harris (@85nutz) gets off to a great start:

A few months back our good friend John Harris called me and told me he was thinking about quitting his current job and taking a shot at grinding the circuit. He asked me about the ins and outs of the circuit life and I was happy to share my thoughts. Hopefully our conversation was some of his inspiration for taking an extended leave from the floor gig and dipping his toes in the West Palm Beach circuit waters.

John’s first circuit outing was a success. He booked a 3rd place finish in a 555 prelim and cashed in the large Florida main event field making a solid profit for the trip. His opening expedition gave him enough confidence to make his extended leave a permanent one. With a backing arrangement in place with his Dad, he packed up his apartment and made plans to bunk with La and I at Rincon for his second outing.

John is a great guy. Even though he had an event to play at noon the next day, he stayed up and railed my final table at Rincon until the HU match was over at 6am. I couldn’t be happier that I quickly got a chance to return the favor and rail his final table and first ring! The story of how it happened has already been told, but I wanted to take this opportunity to congratulate him again on an excellent start to his new career.

Harris ships his first ring:

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