Chase Bianchi is the newest member of poker’s gold bracelet club.
The poker player from Columbia, MD topped the $1,000 buy-in, No-Limit Hold’em event, which was played over three days and nights and just concluded at the Rio in Las Vegas. After four cashes in Circuit events, Bianchi recorded his premier WSOP cash, claiming $316,920 in prize money and a coveted gold bracelet to go along with it.
Not many can say they have hoisted a gold bracelet on their first ever WSOP cash. Even less can say they accomplished this feat on essentially their last bullet before their time in Las Vegas was up.
“This is one of the last ones I was playing. I’ve been out here for about two weeks. I have a flight booked for tomorrow afternoon. Couldn’t have written it any better.”
Bianchi, a fun-loving husband, was sure to be excited to tell his wife the incredible news. He speculated that the winnings could be used for a housing upgrade within Maryland. “It might be an early down payment on a house. We’ve been saving up.”
The final nine players were comprised mostly of WSOP final table first-timers, including Bianchi himself. Coming into the home stretch as chip leader, Bianchi swapped positions here and there, but for the most part never looked back. He sought to rake in as many pots as possible against a field presumably more focused on the payouts. “There were a lot of recreational players at the final table, so they were looking to climb the pay jumps. I was trying to steal blinds.”
When play got down to three, Bianchi had built up a commanding chip lead, which left him in the driver seat and enabled him to continue to deter the others preflop. Heads-up, he defeated Erik Silberman, a biology teacher from Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, who walked away with $195,738.
Another unlikely act was pulled off during the final hand when Binachi found himself in a Heads-up cooler situation. After snap calling an all-in bet from Silberman, Binachi showed his pocket 8s only to be suffocated by Silberman’s pocket 10s. The flop came Qx 6x 5x, no help to Binachi. The turn revealed a 7x, which provided a sense of hope in the form of an open ended straight draw. A magical 4x appeared on the river and Binachi could finally breathe a sigh of relief.
With some previous experience in larger tournaments, Bianchi has come close to winning, but fallen short. So, when asked how the win felt he replied, “Unbelievable. It felt good to close one.”
Attracting a total of 2,242 players the $1,000 N-Limit Hold'em, an always popular event, showed a significant increase from the previous year (2015), which brought in 1,915 players.
Aside from the winner, here’s a brief report of the other top finishers who made the final table:
Second Place: Erik Silberman, from Rancho Santa Margarita, CA finished as the runner up. He banked $195,738 in prize money, his first WSOP cash and final table. Silberman is a High School Biology Teacher.
Third Place: Roberto Romanello, from Swansea, Great Britain, was the most experience WSOP player at the final table. The 39-year-old poker pro used his experience and skill to clock his 22nd cash, and largest ever at the World Series, in the amount of $142,926.
Fourth Place: Charles Carragher a Circuit player, from Pensacola, FL took fourth place. Awarded $105,308, this was his first WSOP cash.
Fifth Place: Paul Nunez, owner of Lucille’s American Café in Weston, FL, collected $78,301 for his 5th place finish. Nunez has been a Miami Dolphins season ticket holder for 17 years.
Sixth Place: James Alexander, who finished 19th in the 2013 Main Event, finished in sixth place. This marked his fourth WSOP cash. Although it was not as big as his Main Event winnings ($285,408), he still made a generous amount at $58,758.
Seventh Place: Felix Morin-Dutil, from Kelowna, Canada, cashed in this same event two years ago. Improving on his winnings, this time around Morin-Dutil claimed $44,503 and his second ever WSOP cash.
Eighth Place: Cameron Rezaie, a native of Boston now living in Eureka, MO, finished in eighth with $34,024. He learned to play poker online and now has his first ever, live WSOP cash.
Ninth Place: Chris Leong, from New York, NY, grabbed his second WSOP cash of 2016 and his fourth overall. Winning $26,259 at ninth place set his new best at the WSOP, in terms of money and finish. Leong is an accomplished Circuit player with two rings to his name.