Seems like there's always history to be made on the World Poker Tour, and last night Tony Tran decided he would be the one etching his name in the history books for a second time. Erkut Yilmaz was seeking another WPT title to add to his collection, but Tony Tran got hot at the right time to thwart another championship run by Yilmaz. Tran won a second WPT title, which he wanted to win to prove to himself and the world that the first one was not a fluke. In October 2018, Tran took down the WPT bestbet Bounty Scramble in Jacksonville, Florida. And now he has a second title to add to his resume.
The 2020 WPT Rolling Thunder at Thunder Valley attracted 250 runners to the $5,000 buy-in event. They boosted the prize pool to $1.16 million. Only the top 32 places paid out with most of the cheesecake set aside to the champion with $279K up to and the top three cashing at least six-figures.
Casey McCarrel bubbled the final table in seventh place.
The final table of six were set with Robert Heidorn, Kevin Rabichow, Jake Schwartz, Tony Tran, Erkut Yilmaz, and Shankar Pillai. Kevin Rabichow bagged up the lead with 2.86 million, but both Erkut Yilmaz and Robert Heidorn were not far behind with 2.1M or so. Jake Schwartz was short with a million or so, but Shankar Pillai and Tony Tran were the shorties with each under 885K.
On Hand #41, Shankar Pillai became the first player to bust at the final table when his pocket sevens were ambushed by Tony Tran's pocket Kings. Out. Heck of a time to run into cowboys, eh? Pillai could not suck out and he busted in sixth place which paid out $45,390.
On Hand #74, the final five lost a player. Erkut Yilmaz hit the bricks in fifth place during a battle of the blinds when his lost to Tony Tran's . Yilmaz missed a shot at winning another WPT title when he bowed out in fifth place. With four to go, Kevin Rabichow held a slight edge over Robert Heidorn.
Four-handed lasted almost 50 hands before the final table saw fireworks on Hand #125. Kevin Rabichow got short and moved all-in from the button with but Tony Tran found in the big blind. He flopped two pair with Queens and Jacks then rivered a full house with Jacks over Queens. Rabichow earned $85,800 for fourth place.
Three-handed did not last long before someone hit the road. On Hand #131, Robert Heidorn made a move with pocket deuces, but Tony Tran woke up with pocket tens. The tens held up and Heidorn headed to the exit in third place. He banked $122K for his work.
When heads-up began, Tran held a 4 to 1 edge with 8M to Jake Schwartz's 1.975M. The two were fighting for over 100K in cash differential between first and second place, plus a freeroll into the season-ending TOC.
On the final hand, Schwartz went to battle with against . Schwartz flopped top pair and an open-ended straight draw, but Tran flopped the joint with a Queen-high straight. The turn was a blank and the river filled in a Jack-high straight for Schwartz but he lost to Tran's better straight.
Jake Schwartz busted in second place and earned $177,680 for a runner-up score. Not too shabby, eh?
Tran banked the cash, title, and season-ending seat at the Tournament of Champions at the Aria in Las Vegas.
Notables who cashed at the 2020 WPT Rolling Thunder included... Donald Maloney, Farid Jattin, Tyler Patterson, Adam Sutch, Charles Kassin, Peter Neff, Jim Collopy, Toby Joyce, Taylor von Kriegenbergh, Brock Wilson, Hugh Grant, Taylor Black, Harrison Gimbel, Brett Murray, Neng Lee, Matas Cimbolas , Anthony Winters, Justin Liberto, and Yuan-Yuan Li.