Swing ends with Tran winning at Thunder

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The World Poker Tour’s three-stop California Swing recently culminated at Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Lincoln with the Rolling Thunder. This swing, which hit three properties in a 500-mile radius in less than a month (March 1-19), allowed for players to play in all three events as 105 entered all three main events, including local NorCal heroes J.C. Tran, Antonio Esfandiari and Phil Hellmuth.

The California Swing also had some other perks besides ballooned prize pools and the greatest road trip view in the country. It also offered a point-based incentive for those who entered all three tournaments. The ultimate winner was Michael Rocco, who finished third at the Commerce’s LAPC ($423K) and 21st at Rolling Thunder ($13K) to accrue the most points in the swing series. For this accomplishment, he won 10 free nights at the Commerce, five free nights in a Thunder Valley suite and he will be a “shooting star” in next year’s Bay 101.

Each of the tournaments brought out some incredible players and the winners were some of the most respected tournament players on the circuit.

The LAPC went to one of the greatest online tournament players in the world, Chris Moorman. He took home a cool $1 million and can claim his place as a WPT champion. Moorman is no stranger to winning tournaments, having won more than $11 million lifetime online. This event was special, however, being his first live major win.
The next series was the Bay 101 Shooting Star Classic, which drew its largest field ever with 718 entries. This unique bounty-on-the-pros event was won by well-respected live and online pro James Carroll. It was only a matter of time before Carroll won a major of this caliber and he made it count, winning the largest amount of the California Swing, $1.2 million.

The last stop, Rolling Thunder, had a storybook feel with hometown legend Tran dominating his way though 464 entries, winning $302K. It was his second WPT title and he got to do it in his own city in front of family and friends. Tran has amassed $11 million in career winnings.

Even with the California Swing being in its first year, it’s being commended by some of the top pros in the game. With the series being run by the best tournament directors in the world, players are able to experience the finest that the tournament poker world has to offer.

— Email Garrett at roth@anteupmagazine.com.