Casey Sandretto Wins WPT Rolling Thunder Championship for $246,600

Casey Sandretto WPT Rolling Thunder

Casey Sandretto came out victorious on Tuesday in the $3,500 buy-in World Poker Tour (WPT) Rolling Thunder Championship, and he made $246,600 for his efforts. He defeated 2004 WPT Reno Hilton champion Michael Kinney heads up for the title.

"It feels amazing," Sandretto said after finishing off the tournament. "It's only my second WPT event. I've only played WPT Rolling Thunder this year and last year."

Day 4 began with Yunkyu Song owning more than half the chips in play with six players remaining. But it just wasn't his day and he'd inevitably bow out in fourth place. On a positive note, he was one of four players in the 485-entry tournament to score a six-figure payout with a $105,000 cash. Still, the final table outcome wasn't exactly what he was anticipating when he showed up for the livestream.

Song Can't Catch a Break

Yunkyu Song
Yunkyu Song

Early at the final table, the shortest stack, Brock Wilson, was eliminated by Kinney, the only past World Poker Tour champion, in a race situation.

Wilson, the most accomplished pro at the table with over $7 million in The Hendon Mob results, exited in sixth place, two spots from a six-figure payout. Over an hour later, Cody Wiegmann, another short stack, was all in and in great shape with AQ against Kinney's Q10. But the board came out K329J, giving Kinney a straight and sending Wiegmann home in fifth place for $78,000.

WPT Rolling Thunder Championship Final Table Results

1Casey Sandretto$246,600*
2Michael Kinney$235,000
3Travis Egbert$140,000
4Yunkyu Song$105,000
5Cody Wiegmann$78,000
6Brock Wilson$60,000

*Includes $10,400 seat into 2024 WPT World Championship.

By the time three-handed play began, Song no longer held a chip lead. He'd doubled up his opponents a handful of times throughout the final table, and that includes a monster pot against Kinney in which Song had AxQx preflop against AxJx, and once again Kinney sucked out.

On the 100th hand of the final table, Song ran into a three-way cooler with AQ when he ran into Sandretto's AK. All the chips were in the middle preflop, and the best hand held. It simply wasn't Song's day, but a third place fourth place finish and $105,000 should help ease the pain.

When three-handed play began, Kinney had a sizable lead over Egbert and Sandretto. Egbert didn't last much longer when his top pair was outkicked by Kinney, and was eliminated in third place for $140,000, a career-best score.

At the start of heads up play, the players took a 15-minute break and discussed a chop arrangement. Following negotiations, given both players had nearly identical stacks, they agreed to a near-even chop, leaving about $11,000 extra to the winner along with the free seat into the 2024 WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas in December.

On the final hand of a bloated pot, the board showed 3K2A, all the money went in with Sandretto's KK for trips coolering Kinney's A2. The 10 on the river didn't change anything, and Kinney had to settle for runner up and $235,000, 19 years after his last WPT cash and 20 years from his first and only WPT title, which took place in Reno, Nevada in 2004.

Sandretto, a hometown player who considers Thunder Valley the "best run casino when it comes to poker tournaments in the country" more than doubled his previous $161,000 lifetime live tournament earnings, and scored his first WPT title and cash.

"I definitely will mix in some more events, I will mix in some more non-hold'em events this year to try to get a bracelet now that I got a WPT championship to my name," Sandretto said about his plans to play more events now that he has a bigger bankroll.

Sandretto hasn't decided yet if he'll play the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown, which kicks off April 18 in South Florida. But he said it's a possibility he'll travel across the country to attempt to go back-to-back on the World Poker Tour.

Sandretto's rise to becoming a WPT champion was an improbable one. In the pre-Black Friday days, he played online, but struggled to make money. After a few years grinding, he gave up the poker dreams to become a loan officer in the mortgage industry. A few years later, he decided to give the poker gig a second shot, and this time around it worked out.

*Images courtesy of World Poker Tour/Drew Amato.

  • Find out how the @WPT Rolling Thunder Championship final table played out.

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