In a Casino Champion’s race that had World Series of Poker (WSOP) staffers crunching numbers well into the late stages of the final event at Harrah’s Rincon, it is only fitting that a man with a true passion for numbers emerged victorious.
Valentin Vornicu, a math tutor and part time poker player from San Diego, California, locked up the honor and the automatic seat to the 2013 WSOP National Championship, presented by Southern Comfort 100 Proof thanks to a deep run in the final event of the stop.
The twelfth and final day of the Circuit stop began with a wide open race. As the day progressed, contenders for the Casino Champion title surged to the top of the leaderboard only to have someone else make a run and overtake them. The Main Event concluded and Robert Pagcaliwagan was the man to beat. Then, Fedor Truntsev topped the field in Event 11 and took the lead. However, across the room, the twelfth and final event was nearing its finish. As the field shrank, Vornicu’s stack grew. Even with a massive stack, Vornicu still had a sweat, as fellow Event 12 final tablist Jack Converse still had a shot at the freeroll seat.
In the end, Converse went out fifth and the title belonged to Vornicu, who went on to finish second in the event. That runner-up showing along with his win in Event 7 earned Vornicu the Casino Champion honor. It isn’t the first time Vornicu has found Circuit success. He won his first ring last season in Hammond and his win in Rincon marked his second victory in as many years.
The Romanian-born Vornicu has a host of Circuit accomplishments, but his real passion isn’t poker, it is math. In addition to working as a tutor, Vornicu also runs a math camp and a website.
“I love math. It's really my passion,” Vornicu said. “I only play poker part time. What I am most interested in is doing math problems and puzzles. Check out my site – you'll see what I mean. Math can be fun for everyone.”
Math may be the most fun for Vornicu, but after this run in California and a trip to New Orleans and the National Championship on the docket, poker probably is a close second.