Friday, September 13, 2019 8:00 PM Local Time
Bryant Miller Wins 2019 WSOP Circuit Thunder Valley $3,250 High Roller for $44,413
The 2019 World Series of Poker Circuit Thunder Valley $3,250 High Roller saw 35 entries across Thursday's Day 1 play for eight hours. Of those 35 entries, 15 players advanced to Day 2. However, late registration remained open until play began on Day 2, and six more entries found their way into the contest during that time to bring the total to 41.
Seven hours later, one of those six players found themselves the newest winner of a WSOP Circuit ring and an accompanying first-place prize of $44,413. Bryant Miller was that player, earning his third career Circuit ring and first career High Roller victory.
When asked about the final table, Miller said that it was "a really tough one." He gave credit to the field as a whole, stating there were a lot of good players when only one table remained. Over the course of the final table, Miller said he felt he only had four or five truly playable hands. Much to his fortune, he was able to make each hand count, making winning hands and building his stack as the final table progressed.
High Roller Final Results
|1||Bryant Miller||West Unity, Ohio||$44,413|
|2||Kelly Minkin||Tucson, Arizona||$27,450|
|3||Niv Decalo||Oakland, California||$18,107|
|4||Ian Steinman||Mountain View, California||$12,417|
|5||Mike Heshmati||Morgan Hill, California||$8,867|
|7||Russell Garrett||Redding, California||$5,141|
Day 2 Action
It didn't take long for the 21 players entering Day 2 to be whittled back down to two full tables of eight players each, as the third table in play was broken after the conclusion of the first 40-minute level of the day. Action got started right away as Kelly Minkin, who was the last player to enter, got all in preflop with pocket jacks versus Niv Decalo's pocket kings. She barely covered and found herself left with crumbs, only to catch a few doubles including one with pocket aces to be back at starting stack 10 minutes later.
Meanwhile, Ian Steinman had entered the day second in chips and continued to build from there. Behind him was Noel Rodriguez, who also found himself atop the chip counts after flopping a full house and getting a full double against JC Tran when Tran hit a backdoor flush.
Tran was then short, busting soon after. Others to fall before the field reached nine included Lee Markholt and Brett Murray. When that number hit nine and all remaining players found themselves at the unofficial final table, two eliminations were still needed to make the money. At that time, Steinman had a commanding chip lead, but his momentum would prove to go Minkin's way.
Steinman was opening nearly every hand at the time and Minkin, who was in the middle of the pack, shoved all in from the big blind over the top. Steinman quickly called with pocket tens and was ahead of Minkin's ace-ten. An ace came on the flop, however, and she found herself with life. Short-stacked Ryan Awwad became the ninth-place finisher and Minkin began her ascent shortly thereafter, knocking out Mrityunjay Jha on the bubble when her ace-seven held against his jack-nine suited.
There were a few short stacks once play got into the money and it only took one level for Russell Garrett, Rodriguez, and Mike Heshmati to all make their way to the rail, with two of the knockouts coming from Minkin. All of a sudden, she entered four-handed play as the chip leader with nearly half the chips in play.
Steinman was the next to fall. He doubled Niv Decalo up with ace-ten to pocket kings to leave him as the shortest stack. Fifteen minutes later, he found himself shoving ace-ten into another big pair when Minkin woke up with pocket queens to send him to the payout desk.
Three-handed play then went on for about 20 minutes with no major hands: then the fireworks went off. All three players found themselves in a raised pot on the river with Miller going all in for more than a pot-sized bet. He was quickly called by Decalo and Minkin let the two have at it. Decalo had hit a straight on the river but found it second-best to Miller's turned full house. Decalo was down to just over one big blind and was eliminated on the next hand.
The tournament was then heads up, though not for long. Minkin and Miller got stacks all in preflop on either the first or second hand of play, with Minkin holding ace-queen suited and Miller holding pocket jacks. The runout came clean for Miller and he found himself claiming victory.
Miller felt like he was never out of contention even though Steinman and Minkin both had their turns looking as if they would run away with the tournament. At a minimum, he felt confident about locking up a top-three finish.
"I feel good. It was fun," Miller said after the win. "I bought in today, was kind of short, (and) got a few doubles early. (There were) not a lot of tough spots, (I) made a couple of good hands, (and) it was pretty much smooth sailing."
As for where the ship will sail next, Miller plans to fire the Main Event right away, which is currently in late registration. He said he isn't able to play tomorrow, so he hopes to keep the hot streak going and find a bag to advance to another Day 2.
Friday, September 13, 2019 6:46 PM Local Time
Kelly Minkin Eliminated in 2nd Place ($27,450)
Kelly Minkin and Bryant Miller found stacks go in preflop on what was either the first or second hand of heads-up play.
The two were off to the races for all the marbles as stacks were very close to even when play began. The board ran out , leaving Miller's jacks to remain best and the dealer began counting out the stacks.
"I think you might have me," said Minkin as her stack was almost totaled. Moments later, the news was confirmed. She stuck out her arm with a smile on her face, wishing Miller congratulations on winning the tournament as she found herself as the second-place finisher.
A recap of the tournament will follow in the near future. Stay tuned.
|Bryant Miller||1,640,000||777,000 |
|Kelly Minkin||0||-787,000 |
Friday, September 13, 2019 6:42 PM Local Time
Niv Decalo Eliminated in 3rd Place ($18,107)
Niv Decalo was all in for his last 16,000 from the big blind on the hand after he was crippled. Kelly Minkin was on the button and folded and Bryant Miller called off the necessary chips to take the hand to a runout.
The board ran out for Miller's ace high to remain best, eliminating Decalo in third place for a payday of $18,107 for his efforts.
|Bryant Miller||863,000||16,000 |
|Niv Decalo||0||-16,000 |
Friday, September 13, 2019 6:39 PM Local Time
Miller Doubles Through Decalo; Leaves Him With Crumbs
Niv Decalo was on the button and raised to 25,000. Both Kelly Minkin and Bryant Miller called out of the small- and big blinds, respectively to take action three ways to the flop . All three players checked.
The turn came and Minkin led out for 40,000. Miller called and Decalo followed suit, keeping all three players around for the river . Minkin checked and Miller announced he was all in for what totaled 303,000. Decalo immediately dropped in a chip.
"Is that a call?" said Minkin. The dealer confirmed and she sent her cards to the muck. Both players instantly tabled their hands, certain theirs was best.
Decalo had beaten Miller into the pot on his river shove after hitting a straight on the river, only to find that Miller's turned full house was best all along. Decalo's stack was counted to pay off Miller and when all was said and done, he was left with just 16,000 behind looking as if he had just been hit by a train.
Meanwhile, Miller now finds himself as the chip leader after the double with nearly 850,000 in his stack.
|Bryant Miller||847,000||462,000 |
|Kelly Minkin||787,000||-66,000 |
|Niv Decalo||16,000||-287,000 |
Friday, September 13, 2019 6:33 PM Local Time
Top Pair Good for Minkin
Bryant Miller opened to 25,000 on the button and received a call from Kelly Minkin, who defended her big blind. The flop came and Minkin check-called a continuation-bet of 15,000 from Miller.
The turn came and Minkin checked again. Miller continued, firing another 40,000 into the pot. Minkin called. Both players checked the river to take the hand to showdown.
Minkin tabled for a pair of nines and Miller mucked.
|Kelly Minkin||853,000||0 |
|Bryant Miller||385,000||0 |
Friday, September 13, 2019 6:28 PM Local Time
Miller Reaches Half-Million
Kelly Minkin raised to 36,000 from the small blind and received a call from Bryant Miller who defended his big blind. The flop came and Minkin made a continuation-bet of 26,000. Miller called.
Both players checked the turn . The river fell and Minkin thought for about 20 seconds before tapping the felt. Miller checked behind.
Minkin announced an unpaired hand that wasn't quite clearly heard and Miller responded by tabling . Minkin mucked and Miller's two pair, eights and threes were good to earn him the pot.
|Kelly Minkin||798,000||-91,000 |
|Bryant Miller||500,000||92,000 |
Friday, September 13, 2019 6:24 PM Local Time
Decalo Limp-Jams on Minkin
Niv Decalo limped in from the small blind and Kelly Minkin raised to 37,000 out of the big blind. Decalo went all in over the top for what was counted to be 264,000, sending Minkin into the tank.
After a few moments of Minkin studying Decalo, he gave off a microscopic shrug as if to ask her what she was going to do. She quickly responded by folding and the dealer sent the pot Decalo's way.
|Kelly Minkin||889,000||54,000 |
|Niv Decalo||303,000||-90,000 |
Friday, September 13, 2019 6:18 PM Local Time
Decalo Pushes Out Minkin
Kelly Minkin opened to 28,000 from the button and was called by Niv Decalo, who defended his big blind. The flop came and saw both players check.
The turn fell and Decalo bet 25,000. Minkin thought for a few moments and called. The dealer burned and turned the river and Decalo slid out a stack of chips worth around 60,000. Minkin quickly folded.
|Kelly Minkin||835,000||-67,000 |
|Niv Decalo||393,000||63,000 |
Friday, September 13, 2019 6:14 PM Local Time
Ian Steinman Eliminated in 4th Place ($12,417)
"All of it. One hundred sixty-one (thousand)," said Ian Steinman as he threw a T1,000 chip forward to announce that he was all in. Action folded back to Kelly Minkin, who instantly called from the big blind and just as quickly tabled her hand. Steinman followed suit.
Steinman was at risk for his tournament life and was unable to improve as the board ran out , sending him to the rail in fourth place at Minkin's expense, resulting in her continuing to grow her chip lead as a result.
|Kelly Minkin||902,000||196,000 |
|Bryant Miller||408,000||44,000 |
|Niv Decalo||330,000||-12,000 |
|Ian Steinman||0||-164,000 |
Friday, September 13, 2019 6:08 PM Local Time
Miller Wins Battle of Blinds
Bryant Miller opened to 30,000 from the small blind and Niv Decalo defended his big blind. Both players checked a flop of , taking action to the turn . Miller checked again and Decalo bet 30,000. Miller called. Both players checked the river to take the hand to showdown.
Upon checking back, Decalo showed for two pair, queens and eights. Miller tabled , showing queens and nines which were good for the pot.
|Bryant Miller||364,000||81,000 |
|Niv Decalo||342,000||-126,000 |
Friday, September 13, 2019 6:01 PM Local Time
Chip Counts from Final Four - Start of Level 21
|Kelly Minkin||706,000||58,000 |
|Niv Decalo||468,000||-5,000 |
|Bryant Miller||283,000||11,000 |
|Ian Steinman||164,000||-78,000 |
Friday, September 13, 2019 6:00 PM Local Time
Level 21 started
Friday, September 13, 2019 5:58 PM Local Time
Decalo Doubles With Kings
Just a few hands after tripling up with kings, Niv Decalo shoved opened from the button and Ian Steinman put him all in over the top from the big blind. Decalo called.
The flop came to give Steinman outs to the nut flush and a wheel. However, Decalo was able to hold as the turn came and the river fell behind, securing the double to vault him to second in chips at the expense of Steinman.
|Niv Decalo||473,000||194,000 |
|Ian Steinman||242,000||-238,000 |
Friday, September 13, 2019 5:52 PM Local Time
Mike Heshmati Eliminated in 5th Place ($8,867)
Niv Decalo raised to 83,000 of the 88,000 left in his stack from under the gun and Ian Steinman announced he was all in from the button. Mike Heshmati was in the big blind and told Decalo he didn't want to do it before putting in a stack of chips to call. Not having realized Steinman had shoved, the dealer and Decalo told Heshmati that Steinman was all in. Heshmati said he was all in then as well and all three hands were turned up.
Decalo's kings had him in prime shape for a triple up. Meanwhile, Heshmati was at risk for his tournament life now with what was the third-best hand preflop. He asked for a six as the dealer began the runout.
Unfortunately for him, he was unable to hit as the board came . Decalo scored a triple and Heshmati found himself with no chips to play, taking fifth place in the tournament as a result.
|Ian Steinman||480,000||-12,000 |
|Niv Decalo||279,000||161,000 |
|Mike Heshmati||0||-235,000 |
Friday, September 13, 2019 5:42 PM Local Time
Noel Rodriguez Eliminated in 6th Place ($6,605)
Noel Rodriguez went all in from the cutoff for 170,000 and action folded around to Kelly Minkin, who was in the big blind. She confirmed the amount and dropped in a stack of chips to call.
Rodriguez found himself flipping for his tournament life as a slight underdog. He was unable to improve beyond Minkin's nines as the board ran out , leaving him congratulating Minkin on a nice hand and wishing everybody at the table a good game, a feeling that was well-reciprocated.
With the pot, Minkin has now taken over the chip lead with five players remaining.
|Kelly Minkin||648,000||224,000 |
|Noel Rodriguez||0||-234,000 |
Friday, September 13, 2019 5:32 PM Local Time
Russell Garrett Eliminated in 7th Place ($5,141)
Kelly Minkin opened to 25,000 out of the small blind and Russell Garrett went all in for his remaining chips over the top of her out of the big blind. Minkin quickly dropped in a stack of chips to call.
Garrett was behind and found his luck run dry as the board ran out to make him the first in-the-money elimination at the hands of Minkin, bringing her up over 400,000 along the way.
|Kelly Minkin||424,000||119,000 |
|Russell Garrett||0||-104,000 |
Friday, September 13, 2019 5:25 PM Local Time
Miller Wins Blind-on-Blind Battle
Bryant Miller defended his big blind versus an open from Ian Steinman out of the small blind to take action to the streets heads up.
The flop fell and Steinman made a continuation-bet of 18,000. Miller called. Both players checked through the turn and river to take the hand to showdown.
Steinman showed for ace high and quickly turned it over and tapped the table to wish Miller a nice hand as he showed for a pair of nines, good for the pot along the way.
|Ian Steinman||492,000||22,000 |
|Bryant Miller||272,000||30,000 |
Friday, September 13, 2019 5:20 PM Local Time
Level 20 started
Friday, September 13, 2019 5:19 PM Local Time
Minkin Eliminates Jha on Bubble
Action folded around to Mrityunjay Jha, who went all in from the small blind for his last 53,000. Kelly Minkin was in the big blind and called.
Jha found himself at risk of becoming the bubble boy as his jack-nine suited was behind Minkin's ace. The flop was of no help to him, coming . The turn came to give him a bit of life, but the river fell to send him to the rail in eighth place, resulting in the tournament reaching seven players and making it into the money.
|Kelly Minkin||305,000||39,000 |
|Mrityunjay Jha||0||-53,000 |
Friday, September 13, 2019 5:16 PM Local Time
Steinman Leaves Jha Short
Ian Steinman opened to 16,000 from early position and action folded around to Mrityunjay Jha, who called out of the big blind. The flop came and Jha checked. Steinman made a continuation-bet of 12,000 and Jha called.
Both players checked the turn , bringing the river . Jha checked again and Steinman slid forward a stack of red T5,000 chips, putting Jha to the test for his last 53,000.
Jha folded after a few moments of thought and Steinman took down the pot.
|Ian Steinman||470,000||0 |
|Mrityunjay Jha||53,000||0 |