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John Crncic Wins 2012-13 World Series of Poker Circuit River Rock Main Event

John Crncic

The inaugural 2012-13 World Series of Poker Circuit River Rock Main Event came to a close Wednesday. The historic tournament was not only the first WSOP Circuit event held in Canada, but it also ended up holding the distinction as being the largest live cash buy-in tournament ever held on Canadian soil.

After weaving his way through a field of 1,032 players, John Crncic will forever be known as first champion of the significant event at River Rock. Not only will Crncic be revered in Canadian poker history, but he also earned a nice payday of $286,382, a gold WSOP-C ring, and a seat to the WSOP National Championship.

The tournament began with players choosing to play on one of three starting days, with the option of reentering on a subsequent Day 1 flight if they were to bust. Many notable made the trip, including Jason Koon, Doug Lee, Matt Affleck, David "Doc" Sands, Scott Clements, Gavin Smith, Huy Nguyen, Robert Cheung, Adrienne "talonchick" Rowsome, Adam Levy, Laurence Grondin, and Terrence Chan. Despite the best efforts of those players and many more, they were unable to survive a single Day 1 flight with chips.

Day 2 saw the return of 246 players with the fields from the three starting flights combining. The top 108 players in the field made the money, so each player had that immediate goal on their mind. Early exits came from players like Noah Vaillancourt, Matt Jarvis, Mark Bonsack, Alex Sutherland, and two-time WSOP bracelet winner Greg Mueller.

Once the money bubble burst, the players began dropping like flies. Among those eliminated in the money were Darren Kennedy (107th), Daniel Idema (103rd), Day 2 chip leader Jingjing Liu (79th), Scott Stanko (69th), Scott Stiglitz (67th), Kelly Kellner (54th), Joel Micka (42nd), and Isaac Baron (37th).

The final 30 players then returned for Day 3 for a relatively short day of poker during which they played to a final table. By the end of the day, Sonny Sekhon, who came into Day 3 as the chip leader, was taking the top stack into that final table.

Final Table Chip Counts

SeatPlayerChips
1Mal Hagan1,735,000
2Michael Collins1,595,000
3Calvin Anderson2,755,000
4Tyler St. Clair1,960,000
5Sonny Sekhon4,660,000
6John Crncic2,415,000
7Ryan Biermann3,085,000
8Glenn Sullivan1,010,000
9Justin Ciolfitto1,490,000

The first victim was Glenn Sullivan, who made his exit roughly one hour into play on Day 4. He came into play as the shortest stack at the table and moved all in from the button. Mal Hagan called him from the big blind and showed {j-Spades}{j-Clubs}. Sullivan tabled {4-Diamonds}{4-Clubs} and was in need of some help. Sullivan struck gold on the {10-Spades}{4-Hearts}{Q-Clubs} flop, hitting his set of fours and jumping into the lead. The {K-Spades} on the turn gave Hagan open ended straight outs, but he managed to hit the {J-Diamonds} on the river, giving him a bigger set to send Sullivan to the rail as the first victim of the final table. Sullivan took home $28,236 in winnings for his ninth place finish.

The final table then came to a crawl as play tightened up and the final eight players dueled for a whopping four hours before finally seeing the next casualty. Michael Collins saw his stack get blinded down to almost nothing and when he finally moved all in it was for less than a minimum raise. Collins held {j-Diamonds}{7-Spades} against Crncic's {A-Hearts}{K-Hearts}. The board came {8-Hearts}{6-Hearts}{A-Clubs}{3-Diamonds}{8-Spades} and Collins officially became the eighth place finisher.

Tyler St. Clair finished in seventh place when he moved all in from the small blind holding {7-Diamonds}{4-Hearts} only to have Sekhon wake up with {A-Spades}{7-Hearts} in the big blind. A board of {k-Clubs}{A-Clubs}{k-Spades}{4-Clubs}{A-Hearts} sent St. Clair to the cage to collect $45,031 in prize money.

Perhaps the most agonizing elimination of the final table came just after the dinner break when Calvin Anderson moved all in from the cutoff for his last 1.6 million in chips. Ryan Biermann went into the tank for well over two minutes before finally announcing a call.

Showdown

Anderson: {10-Hearts}{10-Spades}
Biermann: {A-Spades}{7-Spades}

Anderson saw his dreams come true as he made a set of tens on the {10-Diamonds}{4-Hearts}{Q-Hearts} flop. The {k-Diamonds} rolled off on the turn, giving Biermann a gutshot draw to make Broadway and win the hand.

"Just pair the board," said Anderson timidly.

Unfortunately for Anderson the dealer did not listen, as the {J-Spades} struck fifth street and caused players in the room to explode with shock. A stunned Anderson took home $57,864 in winnings.

Sekhon was the chip leader to start the day and was sailing along nicely until he lost back-to-back hands that spelled the end of his tournament. Sekhon lost most of his chips when he ran into the pocket kings of Biermann, and then was essentially forced to move his last two blinds all in the very next hand[/URL] with {7-Clubs}{2-Diamonds}. The worst starting hand in hold'em did not improve for Sekhon and he was eliminated in fifth place.

Hagan fell to the hands of Biermann when he moved all in with {k-Diamonds}{10-Spades} and was called by Biermann's superior {a-Hearts}{k-Hearts}. Hagan failed to improve and went home as the fourth place finisher. Not long after, Justin Ciolfitto was eliminated in third place when his {A-Hearts}{9-Clubs} could not outdraw the {A-Diamonds}{K-Hearts} of Crncic.

Heads up play began with Biermann taking a sizable lead over Crncic. That all changed, however, when Crncic scored a crucial double up by flopping top pair and having it hold[/URL]. From there on it was Crncic who dictated the action on the felt. The match finally came to a head when Crncic opened to 800,000 on the button only to have Biermann move all in for about 6.8 million total. Crncic called and the hands were revealed:

Showdown

Crncic: {A-Diamonds}{8-Diamonds}
Biermann: {A-Clubs}{q-Spades}

Biermann's hopes of doubling up were dashed when the dealer fanned out {A-Spades}{8-Hearts}{2-Hearts}, giving Crncic two pair and the best hand. The turn brought the {6-Hearts}, meaning that Biermann would have to catch one of the two remaining queens to stay alive. The {k-Spades} hit the river and he was forced to settle for second place and a payday of $177,060.

Final Table Payouts

PlacePlayerPrize
1John Crncic$286,382
2Ryan Biermann$177,060
3Justin Ciolfitto$131,580
4Mal Hagan$98,917
5Sonny Sekhon$75,217
6Calvin Anderson$57,864
7Tyler St. Clair$45,031
8Michael Collins$35,449
9Glenn Sullivan$28,236

For extensive coverage of the WSOPC River Rock Main Event, check out our Live Reporting page. And be sure to tune into our coverage starting Nov. 17th as the WSOPC Main Event at Harvey's in Lake Tahoe kicks off!

Lead photo courtesy of the WSOP blog.

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