WSOP-C Atlantic City: Racener Notches First Major Title
After a marathon Day 2, the final table of the World Series of Poker Circuit Main Event at Harrah's Atlantic City went by in a whirlwind. Day 2 took 18 hours to settle on a final table, but it took less than five hours for eight of those players to fall once play resumed, leaving 22-year old John Racener the WSOP Circuit Atlantic City champion.
Here were the seating assignments and chip stacks as the final table kicked off, with Eric Buchman narrowly in the lead. Racener and Feming Chan were returning for the second straight year to the final table in this event:
Seat 1: Adrian Velez — 755,000
Seat 2: Eric Buchman — 870,000
Seat 3: David Fox — 535,000
Seat 4: Thomas Fee — 255,000
Seat 5: John Racener — 780,000
Seat 6: Joseph Brooks — 450,000
Seat 7: James "Mike" Nelson — 470,000
Seat 8: Feming Chan — 690,000
Seat 9: Sam Skolnik — 80,000
Sam Skolnik went all in preflop on the second hand of the day, finding callers in both Eric Buchman and Dave Fox. Fox bet out at the side pot when the flop came down , and Buchman folded. Fox tabled for second pair, and Skolnik revealed for top pair. The turn gave Fox outs to a straight, and the on the river gave him the straight and sent Skolnik home in ninth place ($23,712).
Next, James Nelson got all his money in ahead with to Joseph Brooks' , but the flop put Brooks in the driver's seat. The turn and river came down a useless , and Nelson was eliminated in eighth ($35,568). Adrian Velez was next to fall when he ran into Eric Buchman's preflop. The board brought no help for Velez, and he was busted in seventh place for $47,424.
Buchman went all in again against Fox, this time tabling to Fox's . The flop brought magic for Buchman, as the offering gave him the nut straight. The turn and river were no help to Fox, and his cracked aces meant a sixth-place finish ($59,280).
Thomas Fee went out in fifth when he went all in preflop with and found one caller in Racener with . The board of brought the nut flush to Racener and sent Fee home with $71,136 for his three days of work. Soon after, Joseph Brooks checked his big blind with after Racener limped in. The flop came down and Racener led out. Brooks raised, Racener pushed all in over the top, and Brooks called with his top pair. Racener turned over for the overpair, and the turn and river brought no help for Brooks. He picked up $82,992 for his fourth-place finish.
Once Brooks was eliminated, the three remaining players were almost even in chips; Buchman had a slight lead over Chan and Racener. It only took a few hands of three-handed play for Eric Buchman to eliminate that chip parity, doubling through Chan with pocket jacks against Chan's . That hand left Chan on a very short stack, which he wasted no time putting in the middle of the table. Buchman and Racener both called and checked it down on a board of . Racener tabled K-9, good enough to beat Chan's K-8 and send him to the rail in third ($106,704).
Buchman took the chip lead into heads-up play, but it only took Racener five hands to double through. In the key hand, Racener raised preflop with , and Buchman called to see a flop of . Buchman checked, Racener bet out, and Buchman check-raised all in with . Racener called, and his top pair held up for the double-through. Buchman pushed all in preflop on the very next hand with , and Racener called with . The flop brought two pair for Racener with , and Buchman was drawing thin. The turn left him drawing dead, and when the river concluded play, Buchman bowed out with runner-up money ($208,666).
John Racener bettered his 2006 finish at the Atlantic City circuit event by two spots, earning $379,392 for his win, along with a $10,000 buy-in to the WSOP Main Event and the gold-and-diamonds Circuit championship ring. The young pro turned 21 just in time to enter this event last year, and followed his impressive showing here with big finishes at the World Poker Open in Tunica and the Borgata Winter Open. This WSOP Circuit title, though, marks his first major tournament victory.