Juan Jaramillo could do no wrong at the most recent World Series of Poker Circuit event held at Caesars Palace Las Vegas. Whatever Jaramillo needed, and whatever card he needed to catch, came his way in what was one of the most dominant performances seen by any final table player in the five-year history of the Circuits.
This is not to suggest that Jaramillo got lucky, or did not play well. In fact, the 32-year-old businessman played his hands perfectly, maximizing the most of his opportunities when holding big hands. It’s just that everything went absolutely perfect in what ended up as a near-record 90-minute final table performance. The finale came just short of setting the record for the shortest final table in Circuit history, challenging the rocket-fast mark set at Harrah’s New Orleans three years ago (at one hour and ten minutes).
The $300 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament attracted 231 entries, generating $67,221 in prize money. The top 27 finishers collected payouts. All the action took place over a two-day period inside the Caesars Palace Las Vegas poker tournament room.
Juan Jaramillo began play second in chips. Frank Rusnak was the chip leader when play commenced on day two. The top nine finishers were as follows:
9th Place – It took an hour to knock out the first player. That came when Israel Elias moved all-in with pocket eights, but was called by Juan Jaramillo holding pocket queens. The higher pair held up, which put Elias out of the tournament in ninth place. Elias, an architect from Monterrey, Mexico was striving to become the second Mexican national to run deep in this WSOP Circuit event after Guadalajara’s Francisco Navarro was the runner up a few days ago. He collected $1,681.
8th Place – Stewart Yancik was getting low on chips and moved in with A-6. He ran into A-K which ended up making a pair of kings. Yancik, a 23-year-old poker player from the Kansas City area received $2,185 for eighth place.
7th Place – Down to seven players, Rick Townsend was severely short-stacked. He moved all-in with a marginal hand in an effort to steal a round of blinds and antes. But he was called and ended up losing his stack. Townsend, a hunting and fishing guide from Alaska, reeled in $2,689 for seventh place.
6th Place – One of the biggest hands of the tournament took place when the two chip leaders went to battle, with Juan Jaramillo taking down the biggest pot of the night up to that point. Jaramillo had Frank Rusnak covered and held A-K versus pocket jacks. Wasting no time, two kings flopped which knocked Rusnak out in sixth place. Rusnak, a former sportswriter for the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper who now plays poker full time was paid $3,361 in prize money.
5th Place – When you’re hot, you’re hot – so said Juan Jaramillo. Just two hands later, Jaramillo had much the worst of it with A-6 against Tommy Tran’s A-K. Tran was all-in and appeared to be in great shape to double up. But Jaramillo made a straight when the final board showed 8-7-5-4-J. That meant Tran ended up as Jaramillo’s next victim. The former programmer from Las Vegas pocketed $4,201 for fifth place.
4th Place – No one had time to blink as Leo Vernik went out second later with A-Q. Jaramillo again was dealt a premium hand, this time pocket tens, which held up. Vernik made things interesting with a straight and flush draw after the flop. But two blanks on the turn and river sealed the Canadian’s fate as the fourth-place finisher. Vernik, who works as a stage and television actor in Toronto collected $5,210 in prize money. At last year’s WSOP, Vernik also cashed in one of the No-Limit Hold’em events.
3rd Place – When play reached three-handed, Jaramillo had about 90 percent of the chips on the table. Given the jumps in prize money, his two opponents were eager to craft a deal, and the trio settled on Andy Rose officially taking third place. Rose, a casino host in Las Vegas was paid $6,386.
2nd Place – Second place went to Jarno Laupman, from Holland. Laupman represented one of four nations sitting at the final table (Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. were the others). The 28-year-old businessman on vacation in Las Vegas was officially paid out $10,083.
1st Place – The winner of Event #15 was born in Ecuador. Juan Jaramillo has been living in San Diego for the past nine years. He owns his own business. Jaramillo plays poker recreationally. This was his second time to cash in a tournament and first victory. The official payout for first place totaled $16,305. Jaramillo was also presented with a gold ring, the ultimate prize awarded to all champions who win events on the WSOP Circuit.
With 15 of 22 events now completed at Caesars Palace Las Vegas, tournaments have attracted nearly 3,000 total entries and have awarded in excess of $2 million in total prize money. The championship event begins on April 27th. The WSOP Circuit continues through April 30th.