Minnesota Poker Pro Goes Hyper, Wins First WSOP Gold Bracelet, and Pockets a Quarter Million

Fast-Structured Turbo Wraps Up in Lightning-Fast Time


Name: John Reading
Birthplace: Rochester, MN (USA)
Age: 26
Current Residence:   St. Paul, MN (USA)
Marital Status: Single
Children: None
Profession: Poker Pro
Number of WSOP Cashes: 3
Number of WSOP Final Table Appearances: 1
Number of WSOP Gold Bracelet Victories (with this tournament): 1
Best Previous WSOP Finish: 108th (2012)
Total WSOP Earnings: $260,130
Personal Facts: Won a WSOP Circuit gold ring in 2015 at Horseshoe Council Bluffs

 If a Hollywood movie were to be made about the most recent event completed at the 2015 World Series of Poker, the title would have to be “Fast and Furious.”

The $1,000 buy-in Hyper Hold’em tournament debuted at the WSOP for the first time, with a breathless blind structure which forced plenty of action and determined a champion in just two short days, despite yet another big field size packed into the Rio Las Vegas. A total of 1,436 players signed up for the tourney with lightning-fast 20-minute rounds, two-thirds shorter increments than the standard tournament structure. The result was just one day of play to reach the final table, followed by the quickest finish for a nine-handed final table in recent memory.

John Reading collected $252,068 in prize money for the quick victory. He also earned his first gold bracelet, a personal milestone.

Reading is a 26-year-old poker pro from St. Paul, MN. He has played full-time for several years, with most of his previous success coming from online poker games. Reading has pocketed six-figures in the past, but nothing could compare to the thrill of winning on the biggest live stage in poker here at the WSOP.

“This is the biggest stage in the world for anyone who plays for a living,” Reading said afterward, still out of breath from the victory. “We all play to get here to compete for a gold bracelet.”

When asked about the fast structure, Reading was modest about his success. “You’ve got to run good, that’s for sure,” Reading said. “I’m not results oriented. But playing similar structures online for a long time really helped me in this tournament, there’s no doubt about that.”

Despite the fast action and quick finish, getting to this stage took a considerable time, effort, and lots of patience. Reading initially got into poker when he watched televised poker shows, including the WSOP. 

“I saw a lot of guys my age playing poker and having lots of fun,” Reading said. “Later, I realized that it was actually a lot of hard work behind the glamour to succeed, but I realized back then that this was something I wanted to pursue, and I’ve been doing it ever since.” 

In addition to achieving much online success, Reading also demonstrated the ability to adjust to live play earlier this year when he went to Horseshoe Council Bluffs and won a WSOP Circuit gold ring. Hence, he now has both a gold bracelet and a gold ring, and the year isn’t even half over yet.

As for what happened elsewhere in this tournament, if you were sitting amongst the crowd of spectators and blinked, chances are, you missed one or more of the bust outs. Here’s the succession of other finishers who made the final table, which clocked in at just 1:45 of actual playing time:

Second Place: Marc MacDonnell from Dublin, Ireland finished as the runner up. He’s the highest non-American finisher so far at this year’s series. MacDonnell is a 28-year-old poker player who cashed for the sixth time at the series. Second place paid $155,876.

Third Place: Harrison Beach finished in 3rd place. He is a 23-year-old self-employed man from Las Vegas, originally from New York City. He’s also a Magic the Gathering convert to poker. This marked the fourth time Beach has cashed at the series, worth $98,623.

Fourth Place: Aleksandr Gofman, from Ekaterinburg, Russia took 4th place in what was his second WSOP final table appearance in two years, after finishing fifth in an event last year. Gofman, a 28-year-old poker pro, earned $71,586.

Fifth Place: Matt Woodward took 5th place. He is a 32-year-old poker pro and former lifeguard from Seal Beach, CA. Woodward earned $52,807 in this, his 20th in-the-money finish at the WSOP.

Sixth Place: Robert Suer, a poker player from Dana Point, CA took 6th place and collected $39,547. He now has ten cashes as the series, plus seven more on the WSOP Circuit.

Seventh Place: Kenneth Johnson, a 30-year-old drywall construction worker from Lakeville, MN finished in 7th place. He also finished seventh in a WSOP Circuit held last season in New Orleans. This time, Johnson earned $30,048.

Eighth Place: Ryan Julius ended up in 8th place. He is a poker pro from Peoria, IL. They payout was $23,133. This marked the 17th time Julius has cashed at the WSOP in Las Vegas, in addition to three WSOP Circuit finishes.

Ninth Place: Wayne Boyd finished in 9th place, the first to bust out from the championship finale. He is a 57-year-old senior vice-president with the Orion Marine Corp. Boyd has now cashed 5 times at the WSOP, this one worth $18,041.


Two-time winner Jason Mercier cashed for the 42nd time at the WSOP.

Two-time winner and 2012 world champion Greg Merson cashed for 13th time and second time this year at the WSOP.

Hollywood movie and television actor James Woods cashed for the second time this year, after finishing seventh in Event #4.


Although similar “Turbo”-style events have been held in the past, this was the first “Hyper Hold’em” event at the WSOP.

Clocking in at less than two hours of actual playing time, the final table is believed to be one of the quickest finales in the WSOP modern era.


For this event’s results, visit:

For John Reading’s official player profile page, visit:

For the Live Reporting Log for this event, please visit:

For photos from this event, please visit:

For official winner photo, please visit:

For the live stream archive of this event, please visit:

(Note: Will appear 48 hours after event concludes)


Written by Nolan Dalla (WSOP Media Staff)