JC Tran Wins WPT Rolling Thunder for $300K

JC Tran Wins WPT Rolling Thunder

The World Poker Tour (WPT) California Swing is on its final leg. Focus has shifted from the Bay 101 Casino to the Thunder Valley Casino in Sacramento for the WPT Rolling Thunder.

Final Update

The legend continues. JC Tran is the WPT Rolling Thunder Main Event Champion. The hometown Sacramento crowd erupted when Tran took down the final pot. Tran’s rail was packed with family and friends. With the win, Tran joined the rare two-time Champions Club and took home $302,750, including a seat in the WPT Championship.

It took 211 hands to crown the champion. In the final hand Harwell shoved 1,125,000 chips and Tran made the call. Harwell revealed {8-Spades}{5-Spades} and Tran flipped over {k-Diamonds}{4-Clubs}. A classic race was under way for the title as Tran was a slight 54/46 favorite according to the PokerNews Odds Calculator.

The flop ran out {6-Clubs}{4-Spades}{2-Diamonds} leaving Harwell a bunch of outs and also a slight advantage with a 51% chance to double up. The turn {10-Hearts} and the river {9-Hearts} sealed the deal for Tran and Harwell was out in 2nd place.

1JC Tran$302,750
2Preston Harwell$200,030
3Quoc Pham$127,140
4Mimi Luu$100,240
5Benjamin Zamani$80,130
6Ken Jorgensen$60,180

The first casualty of the night was Ken Jorgensen. On the 18th hand, Jorgensen shoved from the button with 435,000 chips. Tran made the call from the small blind turning over {k-Hearts}{q-Spades} and Jorgensen was slightly ahead holding {a-Clubs}{3-Spades}. The {k-Spades}{8-Spades}{4-Clubs} flop was not kind to Jorgensen as Tran spiked a king. The {5-Clubs} on the turn and {3-Clubs} on the river shipped the pot to Tran and Jorgensen was eliminated in 6th place.

After being crippled by Quoc Pham, on hand 67, Zamani moved all in from the small blind for 140,000. Tran called from the big blind and Pham called the extra 30,000 from his 110,000 open. Tran and Pham both checked down a board of {8-Spades}{8-Hearts}{4-Hearts}{4-Clubs}{a-Diamonds} and Pham turned over {j-}{j-}, it was no good as Tran flipped over {a-}{4-} for a full house and Zamani mucked, hitting the rail in 5th.

With the elimination, Michael Rocco won the the California Swing points race beating Zamani, who needed to finish second or better. The California Swing package includes free accommodations at the Commerce Casino and the Thunder Valley Casino for next year’s California Swing, as well as the opportunity to be a Shooting Star at Bay 101.

Mimi Luu was the next victim to fall. On hand 130, Tran opened under the gun to 165,000 and Mimi Luu called from the big blind. Both players check the {q-Spades}{10-Spades}{9-Diamonds} to see the {4-Hearts} on the turn. Luu bet 200,00 and Tran called. The river was the {j-Hearts} and Luu moved all in for 430,000. Tran snap-called, turning over a flopped straight with {k-Diamonds}{j-Clubs} and Luu was crushed showing {8-}{7-} for the bottom end of the straight. Luu was out in 4th place.

Seven hands later, the short stack Quoc Pham also ran into Tran. Pham shoved on the button for 705,000 and Tran made the call. Pham turned over {7-Diamonds}{6-Diamonds} and was behind the {q-Hearts}{10-Spades} of Tran. The board ran out {k-Hearts}{10-Clubs}{8-Diamonds}{8-Hearts}{2-Hearts} and Pham was knocked out in 3rd place.

The WPT will now shift to the east as the next stop is the WPT Jacksonville bestbet Open from March 21st to 25th. We will have end-of-day recaps until a new WPT Champion is crowned.

Day 3 Update

Then there were six. The final table has been set at the WPT Rolling Thunder. Quoc Pham leads the way with 5,580,000 chips. Preston Harwell sits in second with Benjamin Zamani, Mimi Luu, local legend JC Tran, and Ken Jorgensen rounding out the final table.

Seat 1Preston Hanwell4,425,000
Seat 2Mimi Luu735,000
Seat 3Benjamin Zamani1,990,000
Seat 4Ken Jorgensen510,000
Seat 5J.C. Tran710,000
Seat 6Quoc Pham5,580,000

JC Tran is definitely the highlight of the final table. The Sacramento pro is a WPT Champions Club member as the winner of the Season V World Poker Challenge, has five final tables, and 13 cashes totalling $3,138,168 in his WPT career. The local legend is also a two-time bracelet winner and has total earnings over $11,000,000.

The chipleader Quoc Pham will be sitting at his first ever final table and will far surpass the $2,000 he has in recorded winnings so far.

Preston Harwell will also be sitting at his first WPT final Table. Harwell made the final table of a World Series of Poker Circuit event in January, finishing fourth for $127,000. If Harwell can finish third or better he will win his career-best biggest cash.

Benjamin Zamani has never reached a WPT final table but has found success on the tour. Zamani has six WPT cashes totalling $170,000. Zamani finished 34th for $25,000 at last week’s WPT Bay 101 Shooting Stars Main Event. He has amassed over $1.4 million in his career and will be looking for his first ever major title.

Mimi Luu is making her first WPT cash. She definitely chose a good spot, as the minimum she can walk away with is $60,180. Luu has two titles to her name and career earnings of $320,000.

Ken Jorgensen rounds out the final table. Jorgensen has never cashed on the WPT. This will be the first major cash of his career.

18 players hit the rail on Day 3. Bubble boy Ryan D’Angelo held on for 97 hands during seven-handed play but was eventually outed by Zamani.

Zamani raised from the hijack to 65,000 and D’Angelo called from the big blind. The flop came {j-Hearts}{9-Diamonds}{5-Hearts}, D’angelo checked, Zamani bet 105,00, and D’Angelo called. The turn was the {4-Spades} and D’Angelo check-raised a bet of 215,000 by Zamani, and was all-in for 530,000. Zamani made the call with {a-Clubs}{j-Diamonds} and D’Angelo turned over {9-Clubs}{8-Hearts}. The river {q-Hearts} was no help to D’Angelo and he busted one away from the final table, winning $41,410 for 7th place.

Others busting on Day 3 were WPT Champions Club member James Calderaro, 10th for $30,170, Keven Stammen, 14th for $16,470, Bryan Campanello, 15th for $16,470, and current California Swing points leader Michael Rocco, 21st for $12,780.

Zamani is the only contender left in the California Swing points race and can win it if he finishes second or better in this event. Michael Rocco is the current leader. The winner of the points race will receive 10 nights accommodations at the Commerce Casino for the 2015 L.A. Poker Classic, a private jet to Bay 101, the chance to be a Shooting Star, and five nights at the Thunder Valley Casino Resort for the 2015 WPT Rolling Thunder.

The final table will start at noon. Check back to see who is crowned the WPT Rolling Thunder Champion.

Day 2 Update

The WPT Rolling Thunder Main Event is down to its final 24 players. WSOP bracelet winner Bryan Campanello sits atop the leaderboard with 1.4 million chips. Rounding out the top stacks are Chad Eveslage and Benjamin Zamani.

Day 2 saw 191 players take their seats. 54 would make the money. Of those surviving Day 2 were WPT Champions Club members James Calderaro and local poker legend JC Tran, Ryan D’Angelo, Ken Jorgensen, Keven Stammen, David Forster, Michael Crabtree, and current California Swing points race leader Michael Rocco.

1Bryan Campanello1,436,000
2Chad Eveslage1,390,000
3Benjamin Zamani1,350,000
4Preston Harwell945,000
5Ryan D’Angelo751,000
6Dylan Hortin691,000
7Michael Crabtree691,000
8James Calderaro686,000
9Quoc Pham674,000
10Ken Jorgensen595,000

Michael Crabtree got a much needed double up late in the day courtesy of Bryan Campanello. Crabtree raised to 22,000 under the gun and Campanello called from the big blind.

The flop ran {k-Hearts}{9-Hearts}{3-Spades}, Campanello checked, Crabtree bet 39,000, and Campanell moved all in over top. Crabtree made the call with his final 166,000, turning over {10-Hearts}{10-Spades} and Campanello showed {7-Hearts}{4-Hearts}. Crabtree was ahead but needed to fade a bunch of outs in the next two streets.

The {a-Clubs} turn and the river {4-Spades} were just what Crabtree wanted to see and he doubled up to 387,000.

The California Swing points race is heating up. Rocco entered the day needing to finish higher than 32nd to dethrone the current points leader, Mukul Pahuja. That is just what he accomplished, but now has just four other players who could potentially still finish the race on top. Rocco needs to finish 19th or better to eliminate Ryan D’Angelo, 14th or better to eliminate Keven Stammen, 13th or better to eliminate Benjamin Zamani, and 11th or better to eliminate Thomas Lutz. If Rocco is unable to reach any of these numbers, the other contenders will have an opportunity to catch the lead.

Notables busting on the day were online legend Calvin Anderson, 31st for $9,390, Bobby Oboodi, 35th for $9,390, Jesse Sylvia, 38th for $8,000, Joe Serock, 39th for $8,000, Brandon Cantu, 40th for $8,000, Allen Kessler, who cashed for the 20th time on the WPT (2nd most lifetime WPT cashes in the world) busted 42nd for $8,000, and Nam Le, 53rd for $6,770.

Play will resume at 12 p.m. PT where play will continue down to a final table of six. Check back at day's end to see who is left to be crowned a WPT Champion.

Day 1b Update

Joe Serock lead the way on Day 1b. Serock was able to accumulate 261,000 chips after ten levels of play. Following closely were Benjamin Zamani, David Forster, Noah Vaillancourt, and Andy Frankenberger.

241 players entered on Sunday bringing the total to 465, creating a prize pool worth $1,488,000. 54 players will make the money and first place will earn $302,750, including a seat in the $15,000 WPT Championship.

106 players bagged chips at the end of play on Day 1b. They will join the 85 surviving Day 1a. Notables making the cut Sunday were Jason Koon, Bobby Oboodi, Moshin Charania, Jeff Madsen, Dylan Wilkerson, Randy Lew, Scott Clements, Faraz Jaka, and Michael Crabtree.

Here’s a look at the top ten stacks from Day 1b:

1Joe Serock261,800
2Benjamin Zamani238,000
3David Forster231,500
4Noah Vaillancourt162,200
5Andy Frankenberger161,600
6Bobby Oboodi142,700
7Dylan Hortin131,200
8Moshin Charania123,500
9Brian Park122,900
10Jason Koon119,800

Others not so fortunate on the day were Phil Hellmuth, Antonio Esfandiari, Jonathan Little, Will Failla, Mukul Pahuja, Darren Elias, Matt Affleck, and Ravi Raghavan.

The California Swing has a unique points race that runs for players who enter all three stops. Mukul Pahuja is the current leader of the race. He busted on Day 1b so the title is up for the taking. There are 11 players remaining with a chance to catch Pahuja; they are listed below by how high they need to finish to overtake his top spot.

Needs 31st or Better
- Michael Rocco

Needs 19th or Better
- Nam Le

Needs 6th or Better
- Joe Serock

Needs 4th or Better
- Thomas Lutz
- Noah Vaillancourt

Needs 3rd or Better
- Keven Stammen
- Benjamin Zamani

Needs 2nd or Better
- Ryan D’Angelo

Needs to Win
- Brian Brubaker

From the WPT Blog:

Players will earn points based on their finishing position in each event and the one player who earns the most points will receive a 2015 California Swing grand prize package including:
- 10 nights free accommodation at the Commerce Casino’s Crowne Plaza Hotel during the 2015 WPT LA Poker Classic
- Up to five nights in a free suite at the Thunder Valley Casino Resort and $500 in food and beverage credits during the 2015 WPT Rolling Thunder
- A one-way private jet flight to San Jose, CA from either Los Angeles or Las Vegas and the opportunity to play as a Shooting Star at the 2015 WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star

Players are back inside the Thunder Valley Casino for Day 2 Monday at noon. Check back at day’s end for a full recap as the players play down to the final 36.

Day 1a Update

Day 1a began Saturday with the first of two starting flights. 224 players took to the felt on Day 1a, and 85 survived. Galen Hall built the biggest stack of the day, ending play with 211,100 from his 30,000 starting chips. Following Hall were Tony Recchia, David Miscikowski, online legend Calvin Anderson, and Chris Hinchliffe. Here are the top ten stacks from Day 1a:

1Galen Hall211,100
2Mark Pham195,000
3Tony Recchia191,900
4David Miscikowski189,000
5Chris Hinchcliffe186,000
6Calvin Anderson187,300
7Brandon Shane183,800
8Kevin Eyster179,900
9Jordan Cristos173,600
10Robert Panitch167,900

The event is a re-entry, so we can expect some of the players busting on Day 1a to buy in again today. Notables hitting the rail were Antonio Esfandiari, Joe Serock, Jeff Madsen, Phil Hellmuth, Scott Clements, Will Failla, and Brandon Cantu.

Failla caught himself in a unique but truly hilarious position as he moved all in pre-flop and before his opponent made the call, Failla says “I have a flush, if you have a full house you should call.” The player eventually made the call with {7-}{7-}. Failla turned over {a-Diamonds}{k-Diamonds}. The table erupted when the board ran out {4-Diamonds}{4-Clubs}{3-Clubs}{7-Clubs}{5-Diamonds} and Failla’s prediction came true as he left the table.

Day 1b will start at 12 p.m. local time. Registration is open until the start of Level 7 so players can enter and/or re-enter until then. Check back at day’s end for a complete recap and a look at the final numbers.

*Photos and data courtesy of the WPT Live Blog.

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