The time is running out to secure one of the limited seats in the season-ending WSOP Global Casino Championship.
While much of the traveling tournament crowd is venturing from stop to stop to try to collect enough points to earn an at-large bid, Dennis Tsai did things the easy way at Horseshoe Baltimore. Tsai amassed 80 points to win the Casino Champion race in a tiebreaker, guaranteeing himself a spot in the Championship to be held at Harrah's Cherokee in August.
Tsai is a 30-year-old finance professional from nearby Rockville, Maryland. “I just play poker on the side,” he said. “Mostly tournaments. I’ve had some luck in tournaments, so I sort of stick with it.”
He calls it luck, but Tsai appears to be turning into a dangerous poker player despite only having time to play the game recreationally. Back in 2015, he finished as the runner-up in the first WSOP Circuit event ever held at Horseshoe Baltimore. He went on to cash twice more during that series, including a 22nd-place finish in the Main Event.
Tsai was back at Horseshoe Baltimore during this most recent series, and he took a Friday off work to play the $365 one-day event. About 16 hours later, he was sitting alone at the Event #2 final table, posing for photos with his first Circuit ring. The $20,950 score represents a new career-best for Tsai, and it forced him to make a decision about the rest of the week.
"[My plans were] actually to-be-determined based on what happened today,” he said in his postgame interviews. “I have been running kinda like shit — er, crap — and it was kinda like, ‘Let’s just see how today goes.’”
It went about as well as it possibly could, and he took the next week off to continue chasing points. It turned out to be quite a profitable decision.
Tsai made another final table appearance a couple days later in Event #4, dropping out in sixth place to collect another significant profit. He went on to cash twice more in the next three events, ending with four cashes, two final tables, and one victory.
Here are Tsai's complete results from the series:
Event #2 1st place 50 points $20,950
Event #4 6th place 22.5 points $7,850
Event #6 18th place 2.5 points $651
Event #7 14th place 5 points $1,235
Both Tsai and Event #3 winner John Richards finished with the series with 80 points, but Tsai's $30,726 in earnings gave him the tiebreaker and the title.