8 mins Read
The $1,675 WSOP Circuit Thunder Valley Main Event hosted in Northern California was won by 43-year-old Stockton resident Hafiz Khan (cover image). The event attracted 599 runners across two starting flights and California-based Khan walked away with the $188,686 first place purse on his maiden WSOP Circuit Main Event appearance. Along with the title, Khan also added a shiny new ring to his mantle and won a seat into the 2018 Global Casino Championship.
Incidentally, Khan was away from the tables for two years and only decided to return a year ago. Post his win, the stoked champion said, "People have been telling me all week while I'm walking in the halls. They just grab me and tell me I'm gonna win. It feels really good. I always go to the World Series every summer – I haven't really had much success, so it feels good to win a tournament, and I ran good."
A few familiar faces who ran deep but couldn’t make it to the final table included Charles “Woody” Moore (22nd place), Ben Keeline (27th place), Sean Yu (30th place), Kindah Sakkal (46th place), Justo Avalos (51st place), Tommy Chen (55th place) and Tony Bracy (57th place).
A player of Indian origin Vijay Ramani also managed to make it to the final table, finishing eighth for a $22,031 (₹14,01,722) payday.
Final Table Chip Counts
1. John Chase – 2,140,000
2. Elisa Nakagawa – 2,080,000
3. Hafiz Khan – 1,885,000
4. Greg Guth – 1,735,000
5. Steve Michaelis – 1,300,000
6. Michael Scott – 1,140,000
7. Vijay Ramani – 675,000
8. Roland Shen – 645,000
9. Josh Prager – 370,000
Final Table Recap
Eliminations at the final table started off with short-stacked Josh Prager. Prager shoved with and got one caller in Michael Scott who called tabling. Scott hit two pairs on the flop and Prager found no help on the turn and river @5s to bust.
Vijay Ramani was the next one out after he raisedto 305,000 from middle position, with just 150,000 behind. Action folded to Greg Guth who shoved with and Ramani called tabling a weaker . The flop , gave Ramani hope of a flush but the turn and the river blanked out sending Ramani to the rail in eighth place.
Next up, Steven Michaelis exited in seventh place followed by John Chase in sixth place.
Scott was going strong but was next to fall in fifth place after losing two big hands to Khan. In the first hand, Scott’s bluff didn’t work against Khan and shortly thereafter, Khan opened to 110,000 with and Scott moved all-in for 515,000 with . Khan asked for a count and finally called. The flop opened two pairs for Khan. The turn gave Scott both flush and straight draws, but the river sealed Scott`s fate and he hit the rail.
Elisa Nakagawa then busted in fourth place followed by Guth in third and with that, the heads up duel between Roland Shen and Khan began.
Shen started with an over 5-1 chip lead, however, Khan was able to win some key pots to close the gap. A key all-in flipped the chip-lead in Khan’s favour. Khan raised and Shen 3-bet prompting Khan to move all in with . Shen made the call tabling . The board ran and Khan doubled up to get a huge lead and shortly thereafter, secured the title.
On the final hand of the event, Khan’s defeated Shen’s on the rundown . Shen settled for the runner-up spot while Khan lifted the trophy and with that took his live tournament earnings to over $2.6 million.
Final Table Results (USD)
1. Hafiz Khan – $188,686
2. Roland Shen – $116,686
3. Gregory Guth – $85,340
4. Elisa Nakagawa – $63,326
5. Michael Scott – $47,647
6. John Chase – $36,344
7. Steven Michaelis – $28,105
8. Vijay Ramani – $22,031
9. Josh Prager – $17,503