Thomas Kornechuk Wins Thunder Valley Main, Earns $193,439; Stephen Song (pictured) takes High Roller ring, Adam Dunkle wins Casino Champion seat

This page is the hub for information on the WSOP Circuit at Thunder Valley. Check back here (http://wsop.com/n/8d4) for information and links on this ongoing tournament series.

Lincoln, California (21 January 2019) - It's never too late to be the new kid in poker, as Canadian native and current Seattle-area resident Thomas Kornechuk can attest. Kornechuk, a 57-year-old software engineer from Auburn, WA, who dedicated himself to seriously learning the fine arts of poker just two years ago, topped a final table full of regional veterans and previous ring winners on the way to a Main Event Circuit ring, the $193,439 first-play payday, and a seat into the 2019 Casino Championship.

Kornechek's run to victory included his unexpected grinding down of Brett Murray during heads-up play, after the two battled with nearly even stacks for a couple of hours. Murray, a three-time Circuit ring winner himself, was also the winner of the Main Event during the Circuit's last visit to Thunder Valley, and his try at back-to-back wins in the main came up one rung short.

Kornechuk flirted with the chip lead late in Day 2, made it into Day 3 with a mid-pack stack, then negotiated his way to the final table while other strong players, including 12-time ring winner Valentin Vornicu, couldn't stay in the hunt. Kornechuk found himself short on a couple of occasions at the final table, but secured the big double-ups and a couple of key knockouts to once again build a healthy stack.

The software engineer, who now owns dual Canadian and American citizenship, credited hard study of the game for his breakthrough win. Prior to this event, Kornechuk's largest WSOP score was a cash for a bit over $7,000 at the 2018 WSOP. "I think I have what it takes," he said, and this result offers proof of his hard work. "I started a year ago dedicating one trip somewhere a month, if I can.
 
 "I've followed a few different coaches. I've studied a lot of scenarios with them. I've read books about mental preparedness, specifically poker. And I've tried to apply that." Then there's how he applied those studies. "My game plan was to be conservative as much as possible, and apply pressure when I saw openings to do so.
I was looking for a couple of tells that I saw. I attacked those. I think that's what changed for me," meaning his new-found skills and confidence in the game. 
 
 Kornechuk's life as a self-employed software engineer -- he's working on "sort of a startup" right now, allows him the freedom to pursue more poker success. And now, he's got the bankroll to chase that success as well. Kornechuk has already made plans to attend most of this summer's World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, playing numerous events. But there's already an upgrade planned. "I switched my RV reservation to a hotel reservation." 
 
 Another highlight of the 12-day Circuit Thunder Valley series was its $3,250 No-Limit High Roller event, which drew 74 entrants and served as a lead-in to the second weekend's packed schedule centered on the Main Event. Greenwich, Connecticut's Stephen Song, a regular on the Circuit tour, was eyeing another handful of Casino Champion points in search of a seat into the season-ending Casino Championship. The 50 points Song earned for winning the High Roller – not to mention the $75,480 first-place payday – made the cross-country trip to Thunder Valley well worth it. Song boosted his 2018-19 season points total to 265, putting him top the leaderboard roughly halfway through the season and all but locking up a seat. The High Roller win was Song's second career triumph in an official Circuit ring event. 
 
 Clovis, California's Adam Dunkle claimed the Circuit Thunder Valley's Casino Champion title, riding a huge first week of the series to a 115-point total which dominated this chase. Dunkle won Event #4, H.O.R.S.E, and added second- and fourth-place finishes in two other early events. As always, the player who accumulates the most overall points during the 12 ring events at the Hard Rock Tulsa earns the title of Casino Champion and receives automatic entry into the WSOP Global Casino Championship.

 


CASINO CHAMPION UPDATE

Clovis, CA's Adam Dunkle has clinched this series' Casino Champion title with a 115-point total.

 


  


 

COMPLETED EVENTS


Event #1: $400 No-Limit Hold'em Multi-flight ("The Opener")Ryan Grant outlasts a 1,522-entry field to win his first career Circuit ring and $86,644. Official Report | Winner's Photo | Results

Event #2: $400 No-Limit Hold'em Multi-flight – Gregory Fils tops a 237-entry field to win his first career Circuit ring and $13,630. Official Report | Winner's Photo | Results

Event #3: $400 No-Limit Hold'em Single Entry – Adam Dunkle routs a 103-entry field to win his first career Circuit ring and $10,197. Official Report | Winner's Photo | Results

Event #4: $400 H.O.R.S.E. – Omar Mehmood bests a 62-player field to win his first career Circuit ring and $7,162. Official Report | Winner's Photo | Results

Event #5: $400 No-Limit Hold'em 6-Handed (1 Day)  Erle Mankin triumphs over a 113-player field for his second career Circuit ring and $11,184. Official Report | Winner's Photo | Results

Event #6: $400 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better - Eric Estoque tops a 101-player field to win his first career Circuit ring and $10,000. Official Report | Winner's Photo | Results

Event #7: $400 No-Limit Hold'em Monster Stack David Valdez outlasts a 686-player field to win his first career Circuit ring and $46.411. Official Report | Winner's Photo | Results

Event #8: $250 No-Limit Hold'em Seniors (Unofficial Ring Event) Mark Crusha emerges from a 154-player field to win his first career Circuit ring and $8,318. Official Report | Winner's Photo | Results

Event #9: $400 No-Limit Hold'em (1 Day) Minh "Danny" Nguyen bests a 140-player field to win his first career Circuit ring and $12,937. Official Report | Winner's Photo | Results

Event #10: $3,250 No-Limit Hold'em High Roller Stephen Song beats a 74-player field to win his second career Crcuit ring and $75,480. Official Report | Winner's Photo | Results

Event #11: $1,700 No-Limit Hold'em Main Event  Thomas Kornechuk survives a 608-entry field to win his first Circuit ring and $193,439. Official Report | Winner's Photo | Results

Event #12: $400 Pot-Limit Omaha (1 Day) Kennii Nguyen routs a 106-player field to win his fourth career Circuit ring and $10,295. Official Report | Winner's Photo | Results

Event #13: $1,125 No-Limit Hold'em 8-Handed  Jarod Minghini tops a 135-player field to win his second career Circuit bracelet and $37,782. Official Report | Winner's Photo | Results

 

The full schedule of events (including satellites) for Circuit Thunder Valley is available here.