Thomas Kornechuk Wins WSOP Circuit Thunder Valley for $193,439; Denies Brett Murray Back-to-Back Titles

Thomas Kornechuk Wins WSOP Circuit Thunder Valley for $193,439; Denies Brett Murray Back-to-Back Titles

Thomas Kornechuk

The 2019 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Circuit Thunder Valley wrapped up on Monday with the stop’s $1,700 No-Limit Hold’em Main Event, a tournament that attracted 608 entrants and generated a $921,920 prize pool.

After three days of play, Thomas Kornechuk, a 57-year-old software engineer, made a name for himself by capturing the title for $193,439, his first gold ring, and a seat into the 2019 Global Casino Championship. In the process, he stopped defending champ Brett Murray from going back-to-back, sending him out the door in second place.

It was hard work paying off for Kornechuk, who just started taking poker seriously.

"I’ve followed a few different coaches. I’ve studied a lot of scenarios with them. I’ve read books about mental preparedness, specifically poker. And I’ve tried to apply that,” he told WSOP officials after the win. "My game plan was to be conservative as much as possible, and apply pressure when I saw openings to do so. I was looking for a couple of tells that I saw. I attacked those. I think that’s what changed for me.”

WSOPC Thunder Valley Main Event Final Table Results

Position Player Hometown Prize
1 Thomas Kornechuk Auburn, Washington $193,439
2 Brett Murray Santa Rosa, California $119,644
3 Jeremy Joseph Buffalo, New York $87,488
4 Yifu He Sunnyvale, California $64,921
5 Tony Bracy West Sacramento, California $48,847
6 Chris Tham San Francisco, California $37,259
7 Ryan Jaconetti Las Vegas, Nevada $28,813
8 Paul Richardson San Ramon, California $22,586
9 Paul Camby Guernville, California $17,943
10 Paul Chai Santa Clara, California $14,443

The top 62 Main Event finishers made the money including former LFG Podcast guest Valentin Vornicu (13th – $11,722), Craig Varnell (23rd – $6,881), Matt Affleck (40th – $3,592), Ricky Guan (45th – $3,592), Randy Lew (50th – $3,270), and Ping Liu (57th – $3,012).

WSOPC Thunder Valley Main Event Final Table Action

According to updates from the event, Kornechuk got off to a hot start at the final table by eliminating Paul Chai in tenth place. It happened when Chai jammed from late position with queen-nine suited and Kornechuk woke up with aces in the small blind. The pocket rockets held and Chai had to settle for $14,443 in prize money.

Kornechuk then dispatched Paul Camby in ninth – the result of the latter’s sixes failing to win a flip against the former’s ace-queen – and then notch his next knockout with six remaining. That is when Chris Tham got it in with king-jack and failed to get there against Kornechuk’s Big Slick suited.

Kornechuk wouldn’t earn another knockout until the final one. It happened in Level 34 (100,000/200,000/30,000) when Murray got his short stack all in with the {4-Clubs}{3-Spades} and was behind the {7-Diamonds}{4-Hearts} of Kornechuk. The board ran out {8-Diamonds}{4-Diamonds}{9-Spades}{7-Hearts}{2-Diamonds} and Murray took home $119,644 for his runner-up finish.

It was a great performance for Murray, who in September of last year won the WSOPC Thunder Valley Main Event for $151,145. Amazingly, he came up just one spot shy of defending that title.

WSOPC Thunder Valley Side Event News

Adam Dunkle won the WSOPC Thunder Valley Casino Championship.
Adam Dunkle won the WSOPC Thunder Valley Casino Championship.

Also winning a 2019 Global Casino Championship seat was Adam Dunkle, a 45-year-old general contractor out of Clovis, California. He did so after winning the Casino Champion title with 115 points. That included topping a 103-entry field to win Event #3: $400 NLH for $10,197 and his first career ring.

Prior to that he finished fourth out of 1,522 runners in Event #1: $400 NLH The Opener for $29,940, and after placed runner-up in Event #9: $400 No-Limit Hold’em for $7,995.

Also doing well at the stop was Stephen Song, who bested a 74-entry field to win the $3,250 High Roller for $75,480. It marked his second gold ring and gave him 50 points on the Global Casino Championship leaderboard, which moved him into first place with 265 points on the season.

“I was grinding pretty hard to get a [Global Casino Championship] seat, but at this point, I have locked one up,” said Song. “These [WSOP Circuit] stops are great, especially ones with high rollers. Small field tournaments are way more fun because you get to make the FT way more often.”

Here’s a look at all those who won rings at the Thunder Valley stop.

WSOPC Thunder Valley Ring Winners

Event Winner Entries Prize
Event #1: $400 NLH The Opener Ryan Grant 1,522 $86,644
Event #2: $400 NLH Multi-flight Gregory Fils 237 $13,630
Event #3: $400 NLH Single Entry Adam Dunkle 103 $10,197
Event #4: $400 H.O.R.S.E. Omar Mehmood 62 $7,162
Event #5: $400 NLH 6-Handed (1 Day) Erle Mankin 113 $11,184
Event #6: $400 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Eric Estoque 101 10,000
Event #7: $400 Monster Stack David Valdez 686 $46.411
Event #8: $250 Seniors Mark Crusha 154 $8,318
Event #9: $400 No-Limit Hold’em (1 Day) Minh "Danny" Nguyen 140 $12,937
Event #10: $3,250 High Roller Stephen Song 74 $75,480
Event #11: $1,700 Main Event Thomas Kornechuk 608 $193,439
Event #12: $400 Pot-Limit Omaha (1 Day) Kennii Nguyen 106 $10,295
Event #13: $1,125 No-Limit Hold’em 8-Handed Jarod Minghini 135 $37,782

The next WSOPC stop is already underway at Horseshoe Tunica. PokerNews will bring you a recap of the stop’s $1,700 Main Event upon its completion.

Photos courtesy of WSOP Circuit.

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  • Adam Dunkle won the WSOP Circuit @TVPokerRoom Casino Championship title for Global Championship seat.

  • Thomas Kornechuk topped a 608-entry field to win the 2019 WSOPC @TVPokerRoom Main Event for $193,439.

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