Photo Caption: Soi Nguyen, from Santa Ana, CA final tabled the 2010 WSOP Main Event. He's a close second in chips coming into the championship finale at Harrah's Rincon.
The last WSOP Circuit championship event of 2012 is coming down to a thrilling conclusion. Several exciting stories have developed around the final Main Event to be played during this calender year.
Edmund Liu Arrives as Chip Leader -- Liu has his opponents right where he wants them. He's got the most chips, and appears perfectly primed to win his first gold ring. Liu is from Burbank, CA. He seized the chip lead during the later stages of Day Two and is now the player to beat.
Ex-November Niner Soi Nguyen Ranks Second in Chips -- The Santa Ana, CA-based office worker and part-time poker player burst upon the poker scene two years ago in the WSOP Main Event. He largely came across as a typical amateur player. But Nguyen has developed into a respected tourament veteran, having run deep in other major tournaments since then. Nguyen is seeking his first WSOP-related victory.
Lynda Tran Becomes First Female to Appear at a Championship Final Table this Season -- Hard to believe, but it took eight tour stops to finally get a female at a Main Event finale table. That's the case here at Harrah's Rincon, which has already crowned two female gold ring winners (first time that's happened here in San Diego). Lynda Tran, from Corona, CA hopes to pull off what would be a trifecta for women poker players here at Rincon.
The Amazing Tournament Results by Erik Roussakis -- You may not know that name, yet. But remember it. Based on what he's done so far, we are going to be hearing a lot more of Erik Roussakis He's playing in just three WSOP-related events in his life. He's made final tables in all three. Even more impressive was the fact these feat was accomplished only in Main Events at the WSOP Circuit. Roussakis' first two final tables took place in probably the most difficult venue to achieve such a feat, which was the Horseshoe Hammond (Chicago) championship during each of the last two years, which drew the largest Main Event fields of the season(s). The Berwyn, IL-based poker pro has picked up right where he left off, here at San Diego. Regardless of what happens, he's pulled off an amazing feat.
Here's a closer look at the nine finalists who will return for Monday's finale in the Main Event Championship:
Seat 1: Jonathan Chehanske - 387,000
Jonathan Chehanske is one of two players at today’s final table that are still in the mix for the Casino Champion title here at Harrah’s Rincon. Born in New Jersey and now living in Las Vegas, this 32-year-old has cashes dating back to 2007. His first cash was also his biggest score to date—a second place finish in a $1,000 Borgata event worth $96,091. Earlier this series, Chehanske picked up his first-ever Circuit cash when he took 5th in a $365 event. He can tie the current Casino Champion leaders with a 7th place finish and pass them with 6th place or better. Chehanske’s career tournament earnings currently stand at $134,531.
Seat 2: Lorenzo Bosforo - 233,000
Lorenzo Bosforo is a 41-year-old owner of a granite company from San Diego cashing in his first-ever Circuit event. Bosforo has one other WSOP cash to his credit though, a 34th place finish in the 2008 $1,500 Mixed Hold’em Event at the WSOP for just under $5,000. Bosforo has been playing poker since 1990. His other favorite hobby is deep sea fishing.
Seat 3: David Randall - 704,000
If David Randall’s face looks familiar, it might be because he got quite a bit of camera time during this year’s WSOP Main Event. The 25-year-old Ohio native spent a stretch of time as the chip leader in the event before eventually busting out in 92nd place. Randall’s best WSOP finish came in 2010 when he took third in a $1,500 No Limit Hold’em event for over $270,000. This year has been a productive one for Randall with five WSOP cashes and a third place showing in the $1,125 Ring event held here at Rincon last week. Like Chehanske, Randall has a shot at Casino Champion as well and would take the lead from the current frontrunners with a seventh place finish or better.
Seat 4: Soi Nguyen - 1,338,000
Soi Nguyen is best known for final tabling the WSOP Main Event in 2010, but Nguyen’s poker scores extend beyond that ninth place finish. He has five WSOP cashes to his credit, as well as a trio of in the money finishes on the WPT. Just over a year ago, Nguyen finished second to James Dempsey in the Bellagio Five Diamond Main Event for just over half a million dollars. That score and the more than $800,000 he won in the Main Event put the Southern Californian’s career earnings at $1.376 million. Even with seven-figure earnings, the 39-year-old still holds down a full time job and only plays poker part time.
Seat 5: Lynda Tran - 716,000
Lynda Tran is the first woman of the 2012-2013 WSOP Circuit season to make a Main Event final table and she will be trying to make history today as the first-ever WSOP Circuit Main Event champion. Tran came into Day 2 with the chip lead and rode that stack to a seat at the final table. This 31-year-old Freelance Wed Developer from LA has a couple of small cashes in the LA area to her credit totaling $2,800. She says her favorite poker player is Phong “Turbo” Nguyen and she learned to play the game in 2009 at home games with her friends. She is a self-admitted sweet tooth with a love of sugar.
Seat 6: James “Hank” Czarnecki - 277,000
A poker pro from Tahoe City, California, Hank, known as HankDahTank on Twitter, is making his second career Circuit Main Event final table appearance. Last season, Czarnecki took fourth place in the Harveys Lake Tahoe Main Event for just over $37,000, which is his career high score. Czarnecki also has two WSOP cashes to his credit with total earnings coming in at $81,075.
Seat 7: Erik Roussakis - 707,000
Erik Roussakis’ ROI in WSOP Circuit events is pretty unreal. He has entered three Circuit events ever in his career. The first was last season’s Hammond Main Event, where he took third place in a field of more than 1,000 entries. The second was this year’s Hammond Main Event, where he made it back-to-back final table appearances with a ninth place finish. This is his third and he is still batting a thousand when it comes to making final tables. This Berwyn, Illinois poker pro already has over $220,000 in career tournament earnings. He is a bread salesman turned poker pro who came to San Diego to visit his sister and figured he would play some poker while he was in town.
Seat 8: Edmund Liu - 1,560,000
Edmund Liu is a Seattle-based poker pro with nine WSOP cashes to his credit and a host of in the money finishes dating back to 2005. He is also the only Circuit ring-winner at the table, having taken down an event in Lake Tahoe during the 2006-2007 Circuit season that earned him the jewelry and almost $25,000. Earlier this year, Liu notched his biggest career cash when he won a $125 re-entry event at the Bicycle Casino worth over $50,000. He is the chip leader heading into our final table and his past experience has already earned him almost $250,000 in poker winnings.
Seat 9: Ted Jivkov - 200,000
The short stack at the table is Ted Jivkov of Woodland Hills, CA. The amateur is an owner of a marketing company, but this is far from his first poker cash. He has cashes at properties up and down the California coastline, including a win in a $1,000 HORSE event at the Bike back in 2010. His career earnings currently stand at just over $125,000. For those who are wondering, Jivkov is of no relation to bracelet and ring winner, Nick Jivkov.
Note: Special thanks to Jess Welman for compiling this information.