Jonathan Chehanske Wins Harrah's Rincon Championship
Las Vegas Poker Pro Earns Biggest Victory of Career
Former November-Niner Soi Nguyen Finishes as Runner Up
WSOP Circuit at Harrah's Rincon Concludes with Another Memorable Finish
Valley Center, CA (December 17, 2012) – Jonathan Chehanske won the final Circuit Main Event of the calender year tonight, taking down the Main Event held at Harrah's Rincon, near San Diego.
Chehanske won his first World Series of Poker Circuit gold ring, plus the top cash prize totaling $107,862. The new champion also wins a seat into the WSOP National Championship presented by Southern Comfort 100 Proof by virtue of his victory.
Chehanske overcame the odds more than once in this tournament, ultimately beating out a field of 306 entries. His victory was something of a surprise given the stiff competition at the final table, which included several seasoned tournament veterans, most notably Soi Nguyen – best-known for making the final table in the 2010 WSOP Main Event. Moreover, Chehanske began play outchippped by a large margain. When the cards were dealt, he was down by a 4 to 1 margin to the chip leader, Edmund Liu, who finished fourth.
The final hand of the tournament occurred when Chehanske ended up flopping a set of deuces and getting it all-in against Nguyen's flush draw. Nguyen hit his flush on the river, but the final card also paired the board, giving Chehanske a winning full house and the title. That dramatic final ended what has been a memorable 11 days north of San Diego.
“I had like 18 pocket pairs in this tournament, and I never flopped a set until the very end,” Chehanske said. “As soon as I saw I'd flopped a set, I knew I was about to win.”
Chehanske is a 32-year-old professional poker player originally from Brigantine, NJ which is in the Atlantic City area. Prior to playing poker full-time, he was a real estate agent. He primarily played in cash games in Atlantic City casinos and has since transitioned to Las Vegas, where he now lives Chehanske travels around to many major tournaments, and expects to continue his growth as a player.
“I'm really looking forward to playing in the National Championship (in New Orleans),” Chehanske said. “I can't wait. But between now and then, it's back to the grind.”
THE FINAL TABLE:
The final table players began with the following chip counts:
Seat 1: Jonathan Chehanske – 387,000
Seat 2: Lorenzo Bosforo – 233,000
Seat 3: David Randall – 704,000
Seat 4: Soi Nguyen – 1,338,000
Seat 5: Lynda Tran – 716,000
Seat 6: James “Hank” Czarnecki – 277,000
Seat 7: Erik Roussakis – 707,000
Seat 8: Edmund Liu – 1,560,000
Seat 9: Ted Jivkov – 200,000
The top-nine finished as follows:
9th Place – Ted Jivkov went out with pocket kings against pocket aces. He arrived as the short stack at the table. The Woodland Hills, CA amateur poker player owns a marketing company. Jivkov collected $9,956 in prize money.
8th Place – David Randall was the chip leader during much of Day Two. But he had some catching up to do once he final table was set. Randall went bust with pocket nines which ran into pocket aces. His best previous WSOP finish came in 2010 when he took third in a $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em gold bracelet event which paid over $270,000. This year has been a productive one for Randall as well, as he has five WSOP-related cashes, including a third place showing in the $1,125 Ring event held at Harrah's Rincon. Randall collected $12,476 in prize money for taking eighth.
7th Place – James “Hank” Czarnecki, a poker pro from Tahoe City, CA made 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. Czarnecki also has two WSOP cashes to his credit with total earnings coming in at $81,075. This time, he could do no better than a seventh-place finish after busting out about 90 minutes into the finale. He earned $15,868 in prize money.
6th Place – Lorenzo Bosforo, from San Diego, became short-stacked during the third hour of play and moved all-in with K-9. He lost to pocket tens. That put him out in sixth place, a bit richer at $20,485. Bosforo is the 41-year-old owner of a granite company. This marked the first time he's ever cashed in a WSOP Circuit event.
5th Place – Erik Roussakis has one of the most impressive records of anyone currently playing WSOP Circuit events. Consider that he's entered just three gold ring events in his life. Yet amazingly, he's final tabled all three, and those tournaments just so happen all be Main Event Championships. Moreover, two of the three final table appearances were at the massive Horseshoe Hammond (Chicago) stop over the past two seasons. Roussakis went out here at the fifth-place finisher, which paid $26,861. He now has nearly $250,000 in career tournament earnings. He works in sales and resides in Berwyn, IL.
4th Place – Edmund Liu arrived at the final table a chip leader. He ended up finishing fourth. Liu is a Seattle-based poker pro with nine WSOP cashes to his credit and several in-the-money finishes dating back to 2005. He was also the only gold ring-winner at the final table, having won an event at Harveys Lake Tahoe during the 2006-2007 WSOP Circuit season. Fourth place paid $35,779.
3rd Place – Lynda (Phuong) Tran became the first woman of the season to make a Main Event finale table appearance. She enjoyed a great run here in what's her first WSOP-related cash – worth $48,438 in prize money. Tran came into Day Two with the chip lead and rode that stack to a seat at the final table. She is a 31-year-old freelance web developer from Los Angeles.
2nd Place – Soi Nguyen finished as the runner up. He 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. Even with more than $1.4 million in career tournament earnings, the 39-year-old from Santa Ana, CA still holds down a full-time job and only plays poker part time.
1st Place – Jonathan Chehanske enjoyed a fabulous series here at Harrah's Rincon, final tabling one event for fifth place and then winning the Main Event Championship. Chehanske was one of the shortest stacks coming into the finale, but managed to scoop the entire chip inventory in the tournament. First place paid $107,862, plus the coveted WSOP Circuit gold ring. Chehanske also wins an automatic seat into the WSOP National Championship, coming up in May 2013.
HARRAH'S RINCON CASINO CHAMPION
Meanwhile, Valentine Vornicu accumulated the most overall points in San Diego's twelve combined gold ring tournaments and earned the Casino Champion title. He receives an automatic entry into the $1 Million 2012-13 WSOP National Championship.
All players who cash in any WSOP Circuit gold ring events receive points that apply to both the Casino Championship race and the season-long race to claim one of the 60 at-large National Championship bids to be awarded to the top point earners throughout the season. More information on the points system is available on WSOP.com.
This concludes the 2012-13 WSOP Circuit at Harrah's Rincon.
The next WSOP Circuit stop takes place at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles, CA which runs January 3-14, 2013.
For more information on the World Series of Poker Circuit, be sure to follow us on Twitter at @WSOP or check us out on WSOP.com.