JC Tran Secures WSOPC Thunder Valley High Roller Title

JC Tran won the WSOPC Thunder Valley High Roller for almost $50,000.

The World Series of Poker Circuit is in Sacramento for the WSOPC Thunder Valley festival. Ten events have crowned their champions and JC Tran is one of those tournament winners.

Tran was one of 47 entries in the $3,250 buy-in High Roller event. Those entrants created a $141,000 prize pool shared among the top eight finishers.

Day 1of the High Roller ended with 20 players needing to bag up chips. Dapo Ajayi finished Day 1 armed with 197,000 chips and the title of chip leader. Ajayi enjoyed a stellar 2019 thanks to a trio of six-figure prizes.

The first came in January 2019 when Ajay finished second in the WSOPC Choctaw Main Event for $198,265. He then banked $211,945 for a 39th place finish in the WSOP Main Event. Finally, another runner-up finish, this time in the WPT Montreal Main Event, saw Adayi win $254,966.

He may have held the chip lead but victory was far from certain thanks to the field being packed with elite professionals. Such luminaries as Bryan Piccioli, Darren Rabinowitz, and Tony Dunst punched their Day 2 tickets. Tran finished with 117,500 chips, enough for fifth-place on the overnight chip counts.

Classic Tran Dominates

Tran was arguably one of the original loose-aggressive poker tournament players. He has managed to win two WSOP bracelets and more than $13.1 million in winnings thanks to adopting a fearless style that often bamboozles his opponents.

The Sacramento native applied pressure throughout Day 2 and put his foot on the gas as the bubble approached. Tran claimed the chip lead with only 10 players remaining, coming from behind to do so. Everyone folded to Tran in late position and he min-raised with ace-jack. Qi Hu made it 30,000 to go frm the small blind with ace-queen. Tran responded with an all-in four-bet and Hu called. Two jacks on the flop were more than enough for Tran to scoop the pot.

Frank Azevedo burst the money bubble after coming off worse from a clash with Tran. Azevedo’s ace-queen lost to Tran’s pocket jacks and the surviving eight playrs locked up a slice of the prize pool.

Rabinowitz was the first player to cash after busting at the hands of Dunst.

Ajayi followed suit after bluffing all-in with ace-king on a jack-high flop. Unfortunately for Ajayi, Tran had flopped top pair with his queen-jack. That pair of jacks held and the player count reduced by one.

Robert Bailey’s tournament ended when he was all-in against Dunst only for Dunst to flop the nut flush. Noel Rodriguez, Ben Underwood, and Joshua Shaw all busted to leave Tran and Dunst heads-up.

Tran Never Relinquished The Chip Lead When Heads-Up

Tran held a 1,090,000 to 790,000 chip lead over Dunst and never relinquished that advantage. Dunst did manage to claw almost level, but his comeback was in vain.

The final hand saw Dunst limp in with ace-ten and Tran raise to 80,000 with pocket queens. Dunst jammed for 605,000 in total, or 24.2 big blinds, and Tran snap-called. The 8s-9d-6d flop gave Dunst outs to a straight but those outs never arrived. Dunst fell in second-place for $30,305, leaving Tran to pad his bankroll with the $49,035 top prize.

2020 WSOPC Thunder Valley High Roller Final Table Results

Place Player Country Prize
1 JC Tran United States $49,035
2 Tony Dunst United States $30,305
3 Joshua Shaw United States $19,779
4 Ben Underwood Canada $13,552
5 Noel Rodriguez United States $9,773
6 Roger Bailey United States $7,437
7 Dapo Ajayi United States $5,992
8 Darren Robinowitz United States $5,127

The champion joked with reporters that he was a wash-up pro these days, but he still has skills. His last outright victory came in September 2017 in the $2,200 WSOPC Thunder Valley Lincoln High Roller. Perhaps this latest victory can spur him on to play more live events and replicate his previous form?

Tran has had four years where he won more than $1 million. 2007 was his best year with $2,914,502 in winnings. Second-place in the WPT L.A. Poker Classic Main Event netted $1,177,010 of that incredible sum.

Matthew Pitt

Matthew Pitt

If it’s something you can play online for real money, chances are Matthew knows a bit about it. He’s been writing about slots, craps and poker for the better part of the last decade. He’s written for PokerNews, PartyPoker and many other respected online gambling websites during the last nine years.


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