Say hello to the comeback kid! David Larson bested a field of 44o runners to win the WPT Rolling Thunder at the Thunder Valley Casino Resort, just north Sacramento (a.k.a. the capitol of California). Larson had a tough final table that featured WSOP Main Event champion Joe McKeehen. Despite holding the lead, McKeehen exited in third place.
This year the California swing only included two events -- the L.A. Poker Classic and the WPT Rolling Thunder. Just the other day, Dennis Blieden shipped the LAPC for a cool million. And last night, the WPT Rolling Thunder came to a conclusion. The final table included Ian Steinman, Joe McKeehen, Ping Liu, Rayo Kniep, and D.J. Alexander.
D.J. Alexander is quickly closing in on $2 million in earnings after his final table appearance. He final tabled the WPT Legends of Poker in L.A. last summer. It's only a matter of time before he finally breaks through to the winner circle. With Alexander busting first, it was one less shark that Larson had to worry about.
Despite hitting quad Aces at the final table, Rayo Kniep could not improve better than a fifth-place finish. Ping Lui hit the road in fourth place.
Ian Steinman made a pretty sick fold after rivering a set of Kings (against McKeehen's runner-runner Broadway straight). Steinman's Spidey-senses were tingling and he made the correct fold, but not after using 6 time-chip extensions (of 30-seconds each). So so so so hard to lay down Kings. I totally woulda gone broke there, but that's why I'm a poker writer and not a pro. McKeehen won the pot, but Steinman lived to see another day.
With three to go, it looked like Joe McKeehen was going to win the title. Alas, McKeehen bowed out in third place.
McKeehen's exit set up a heads-up bout between Larson and Steinman. Heads-up lasted only 24 hands before Larson emerged as the victor. Ian Steinman walked away with a decent score of $201K for a runner-up's share.
David Larson banked $295,128 plus a $15,000 seat into the season-ending Tournament of Champions, to be hosted next month at the Aria Casino in Las Vegas.
Paul McCaffrey bubbled off the final table in seventh place. Notables who went deep and cashed in the WPT Thunder Valley Casino Resort... Sam Panzica, Amnon Filippi, Ari Engel, David Eldridge, Olivier Busquet, Derek Wolters, Dylan Wilkerson, Anthony Zinno, and Steve Tabb.