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JC Tran Beats Tony Dunst Heads Up to Win WSOPC Thunder Valley High Roller

JC Tran

JC Tran says he considers himself a "washed-up pro," but he was in top form this weekend en route to winning his third career World Series of Poker Circuit gold ring.

Tran outlasted a field of 47 entries, including WPT Raw Deal host Tony Dunst heads-up, and took down the WSOP Circuit Thunder Valley $3,250 High Roller title for $49,035. The win marks the second time Tran has won the event, and with the victory, the longtime tournament pro adds to a resume that includes more than $13 million in career earnings.

"I consider myself a washed-up pro. I still got it a little bit here and there."

"I’ve always compared poker to golf. If you don’t play a lot, you can probably still get lucky, get a decent round here and there," Tran said. "That’s kind of where I’m at. When I had all my success, I played volume. I played prelims up to mains."

"These, I kind of pop in and out. I consider myself a washed-up pro. I still got it a little bit here and there. Every now and then I pull a little nice, close run."

Tran said that while he doesn't put in the volume he used to, he enjoys playing at Thunder Valley Resort, which requires just a 25-minute drive for Tran to the Lincoln, California venue.

Final Table Action

PlaceWinnerCountryPrize (USD)
1JC TranUnited States$49,035
2Tony DunstUnited States$30,305
3Joshua ShawUnited States$19,779
4Ben UnderwoodCanada$13,552
5Noel RodriguezUnited States$9,773
6Roger BaileyUnited States$7,437
7Dapo AjayiUnited States$5,992
8Darren RabinowitzUnited States$5,127

With eight places paid and the tournament running eight-handed throughout, the official final table was the cutoff point for getting paid in the High Roller.

Tran emerged victorious from a formidable lineup, including Dunst, who came up just short in his bid to win his first career WSOP Circuit ring. After a two-hour heads-up battle, the final hand came down to Dunst with ace-ten offsuit against Tran's pocket queens, with Tran's premium pair holding up.

"I actually haven’t had too many hours with Tony. He played really well," Tran said. "It came down to me having queens and he had ace-ten. Tony’s a great player, I have a lot of respect for him. He’s similar to me in some ways, he doesn’t play a ton of these tournaments, because he’s doing stuff with WPT and whatnot."

Joshua Shaw (3rd - $19,779) was on the short stack for most of three-handed play, finally bowing out after his open shove with jack-nine suited came up short against Dunst's ace-king.

Other tough opponents at the final table included Noel Rodriguez (5th - $9,773), Dapo Ajayi (7th - $5,992), and Darren Rabinowitz (8th - $5,127).

The day began with 23 players in the hunt, with the money bubble bursting during Level 16, the fourth level of play on Day 2.

JC Tran vs. Tony Dunst
JC Tran vs. Tony Dunst

Big Names Come Out for the High Roller

In addition to the loaded final table, other notables coming through the Thunder Valley Poker Room for the High Roller included Brett Murray, Ian Steinman, Joe Kuether, Bryan Piccioli and Andreas Kniep.

Ajayi came into Day 2 as the chip leader and was near the top of the leaderboard for most of the day en route to the money finish. Steinman, one of the shortest stacks in the room coming into Day 2, was out early, as were Murray and Kniep.

The 47 entries brought the total prize pool to $141,000.

PokerNews coverage of the WSOP Circuit here at Thunder Valley continues with the $1,700 Main Event, which you can follow here.

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