On Tuesday afternoon, the final table of the WPT Rolling Thunder Main Event will begin, marking the beginning of the 2023 World Poker Tour season. A record 590 players registered for the event, leading to a total prize fund of $1,888,000 and a winner’s share of $361,660.
When play resumes on Tuesday, Alejandro Jauregui has amassed 10.450 million chips, making him the current chip leader. He has a sizable lead against WPT broadcaster Tony Dunst, who has just $7,125,000. Nobody else has more than 4.5 million chips, so it seems like Jauregui and Dunst are in charge.
Third place goes to Albert Tapia, who has 4.5 million chips. Jeremy Joseph (1.575 million), Scott Eskenazi (2.15 million), and Victor Paredes (3.125 million) make up the bottom half of the rankings (2.05 million). They do have roughly 20 huge blinds between them, so Eskenazi and Joseph aren’t completely desperate just yet.
In 2014, the Thunder Valley Casino Resort in nearby Sacramento became the site of the first WPT Rolling Thunder tournament. With 465 submissions, the original round was also the winner. JC Tran came out on top and took home $302,750 for his efforts. By 2018, every single WPT Rolling Thunder Main Event had over 400 entrants. Due to the increase in the buy-in from $3,500 to $5,000, there was a significant decline in participation in both 2019 (280 entrants) and 2020 (250 entries). The 2019 prize pool was about in line with previous years, but the 2020 pool was somewhat smaller. Unfortunately, that 2020 event was the last stop on the World Poker Tour before the circuit was suspended due to a pandemic. As a matter of fact, it squeaked in the week before the US government shut down.
Since the 2020 tournament, this is the first time the WPT has hosted Rolling Thunder.
When Jauregui eliminated Dann Turner in seventh place, it sealed the deal on the final table. As Jauregui made a pre-flop bet to 225,000, Turner called with 1.275 million. Even though Jauregui’s A-J was better than Turner’s K-T, the tension was high since both of Turner’s cards were still in play. A ten hit the turn, giving him an out, but his relief was short-lived as a jack hit the river to give Jauregui the hand and eliminate Turner.
While this is being posted, the final table is getting underway in California.
Final Table Chip Counts for the 2023 World Poker Tour Rolling Thunder Main Event
10,000,000 for Alejandro Jauregui
$7,125,000 for Tony Dunst
4.5 million for Albert Tapia.
$3,125,000 for Victor Paredes
$2,150,000 to Scott Eskenazi
Joseph Jeremy, 2,000,000