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JC Tran Wins the 2006 WCOOP Main Event

2 October 2006

Accomplished tournament poker professional JC Tran (area23JC) won the 2006 World Championships of Online Poker (WCOOP) No-Limit Hold'em Main Event, earning an online-record $670,194 and the prestigious WCOOP gold bracelet.

Tran, who is coming off a World Series of Poker (WSOP) where he cashed six times and made one final table, is having a career year. Despite several deep finishes in WSOP and World Poker Tour (WPT) events, Sunday's payday was his largest to date.

Although Poker Stars listed $1.157 million as the prize for finishing first in their 2006 WCOOP Main Event, final table players struck a deal when the tournament reached six-handed play.

Final Results

1st Place: area23JC
Prize: $650,042

2nd Place: Hannibalrex
Prize: $400,581

3rd Place: Lefort
Prize: $417,734

4th Place: GODFATHER 72
Prize: $540,793

5th Place: Numie2
Prize: $600,042

6th Place: DEEZZZ_NUTS
Prize: $353,164

7th Place: Annette_15
Prize: $163,150

8th Place: milkybarkid
Prize: $119,225

9th Place: Serb2127
Prize: $72,065

Tran, who was the chip leader when negotiations began, immediately agreed to chop the pot according to chip counts, assuring himself a prize total of more than $600,000.

Because Poker Stars insists that money be left on the table after a WCOOP deal, Tran continued to battle successfully for the remaining $50,000 and the 14-Karat gold Main Event bracelet.

"I can't help but be a little disappointed with the deal," said Greg "Fossilman" Raymer, the guest host during the Poker Stars final table radio broadcast. "I was looking forward to the first online tournament million dollar payday. Area23JC will go home with $670,000, but the one million dollars would have had a special sound to it."

According to Raymer, the 2006 WCOOP Main Event was the year's fourth largest tournament prize pool, finishing just shy of the third place $50,000 WSOP H.O.R.S.E event. Although the $2,600 buy-in was lower than most major live tournaments, the online format allowed for more participation, drawing 2,510 players and creating a record online prize pool of $6,275,000. Poker Stars guaranteed $3 million for the Main Event, meaning the tournament was twice as large as original projected.

Poker Stars representatives Tom McEvoy and Joe Hachem repeatedly reminded the final nine players and the more than 3,000 observers that the WCOOP Main event was the first online tournament to pay six players six-figure prize money.

"I am so jealous of you guys," Hachem told the final table players. He then informed the final nine that they could tip him and the other final table commentators if they were feeling generous.

None of the players took him up on the offer, but Hachem did thank one of the observers who apparently sent the 2005 WSOP Main Event Champion one dollar.

Final table play began Monday at 4:20 a.m. EST. Hannibalrex, who eventually finished third, came into the table as the chip leader and quickly increased his stack by knocking Serb2127 and milkybarkid from the tournament.

Although Hannibalrex had a sizable early lead, none of the final seven players were severely short-stacked, prompting Raymer to comment that "everyone has a chance to play good poker and win this tournament."

And he was correct. There was only one really bad beat, with most of the final table all-in bets being won by the player with the best hand. Unfortunately for fan-favorite Annette_15, she was the only victim of an awful suck-out.

Holding pocket nines, Annette_15 watched in horror as Lefort's 5-6 of diamonds connected for a seven-high straight on the flop. The loss knocked Annette_15 from the tournament just before the deal was struck.

All six of the final players agreed to pause play and hear the deal numbers from Poker Stars Tournament Director Lee Jones. Although Lefort and DEEZZZ_NUTS postured for more money, every player eventually agreed to split the money by chip count. Per Poker Stars WCOOP rules, play resumed to see who would win the bracelet and the $50,000 that was not included in the deal.

Play loosened considerably after the deal and participants began to drop fast. DEEZZZ_NUTS was the next to go, followed quickly by Numie2 and GODFATHER 72. Tran was the cause of the Numie2's demise and Lefort bounced the GODFATHER, moving the tournament to three-handed play.

Tran essentially sealed his victory at this stage. Sitting in the big-blind with pocket twos, Tran called a large bet from Lefort, who was in the small blind holding a pair of Jacks. The flop gave Tran a set and produced a board of all low cards, inducing Lefort to move all-in. Tran quickly called and became the monster chip leader when his set of twos held.

"For that to work, you need to hit the set without any over cards showing to scare away the big pair," Raymer said. "If there had been an over card like an ace on the flop, Lefort might not have been willing to move all-in."

Just three hands later, Tran finished off the crippled Lefort. Holding A-7 offsuit, Lefort moved all-in and was called by Tran who had pocket fives. Despite dancing around a straight, Lefort did not improve, pitting Tran against the final table's original chip leader Hannibalrex.

Heads-up play lasted one hand. Severely short-stacked, Hannibalrex moved all-in with A-4 and was called by Tran who had K-9. Both men hit their bottom pair on the flop, but neither improved any further, giving Tran the largest win in online poker history.


Mucking McLane
JC Tran Wins the 2006 WCOOP Main Event is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.
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Best of Ryan McLane
Ryan McLane

Ryan McLane was a poker reporter for Casino City. Although he has a strong background in reporting, the same can't be said for his poker skills. He has never won a major tournament nor is he a professional player. He applied for this job thinking it was a joke, only to find it out that it's true, people will pay you to write about poker. His favorite word is ridiculous.

After receiving his BA in History from Stonehill College in Easton, MA, he somehow ended up freelance reporting for a couple years before being deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom III with the Massachusetts National Guard. He's back now and is a strong advocate of the phrase "God Bless America."

Currently, Ryan lives in Boston and occasionally makes international treks to cover tournament poker and news. Feature writing is his passion and there is no need to ask for his opinion, he'll probably offer it first - free of charge.
Ryan McLane
Ryan McLane was a poker reporter for Casino City. Although he has a strong background in reporting, the same can't be said for his poker skills. He has never won a major tournament nor is he a professional player. He applied for this job thinking it was a joke, only to find it out that it's true, people will pay you to write about poker. His favorite word is ridiculous.

After receiving his BA in History from Stonehill College in Easton, MA, he somehow ended up freelance reporting for a couple years before being deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom III with the Massachusetts National Guard. He's back now and is a strong advocate of the phrase "God Bless America."

Currently, Ryan lives in Boston and occasionally makes international treks to cover tournament poker and news. Feature writing is his passion and there is no need to ask for his opinion, he'll probably offer it first - free of charge.