Photo Credit: Kevin Statham/River Rock Casino Photo
Richmond, BC (November 8, 2012) — John Crncic won the Main Event at the inaugural WSOP Circuit stop at River Rock Casino in Richmond, BC late Wednesday night. The tournament, which drew 1,032 entrants, is recognized as the third largest Circuit Main Event of all time and one of the largest poker tournaments ever to take place in Canada.

“I’m afraid I’m going to wake up and it’s going to just be a dream,” Crncic told the WSOP following his win. “It’s absolutely fantastic. This is much more than I hoped for.”

In addition to $286,382, a WSOP Circuit gold ring and a free seat in the $1 Million National Championship, Crncic’s boss promised him he would buy him into the $10,000 WSOP Main Event in Las Vegas in July if he won -- Crncic assured the WSOP his boss was a man of his word, too.

Amazingly, these riches came on the heels of what began as a $180 satellite Crncic won at the River Rock poker room to earn his Main Event seat. He admits the championship event was the first large buy-in tournament he has ever played in, but with numerous wins in lower buy-in events his confidence never faltered -- a fact made even more impressive because the final table was broadcast to thousands on ESPN3.

“It didn’t bother me at all,” Crncic said of playing in front of the cameras. “I had never been in a situation like this, yet, it felt like I do it every week. It was great fun. I loved it. I wish I could do this every weekend.”

Crncic ended Day 1 third in chips, but by his own account, had a rough go of things on Day 2. He ended the day 14th out of 30 remaining players but says his mindset was always final table or bust.

“When we got down to the final 30 (players) I felt great,” Crncic said. “I just felt like I would be at the final table, and now here we are.”

Crncic’s win came in the finale event of what was the WSOP Circuit’s first ever stop in Canada. The series, which kicked off with a 410-person tournament, was a mega success. Its $1,125 buy-in event drew 354 entrants -- almost 60 percent more than the next largest $1,125 tournament of the Circuit season. Additionally, the $365 No-Limit Hold’em turbo tournament drew 381, more than 50 percent more than the next largest turbo tournament to take place in 2012-13.

“It was fantastic,” Crncic said of the 12-day series. “(The WSOP) did a great, great job. The whole River Rock staff, they did a fantastic job.”

A more comprehensive report of the Main Event can be found on the River Rock events page.

Don't forget, WSOP Circuit action starts up again Thursday, November 8 at Harvey's Lake Tahoe. The Main Event begins November 17 and the "12 Rings in 12 Days" series will conclude November 19.