The World Series of Poker Circuit wrapped up its last stop of the year this week at the Bicycle Casino and Hotel. The $1,675 Main Event drew 687 runners, which created a $1,024,000 prize pool, and it was SHRPO Ambassador Jared Jaffee who emerged victorious to win $211,220, his first gold ring, and a seat into the 2018 Global Casino Championship.
Luck of the Buddha
It was actually the second piece of gold hardware for the 36-year-old Jaffee, who at the 2014 WSOP won Event #58: $1,500 Mixed Max for a career-high $405,428. Other big scores for Jaffee include $258,590 for finishing fourth in the 2014 WPT Borgata Poker Open, $252,749 for winning the 2013 World Poker Tour bestbet Fall Poker Scramble, and $246,477 for second in the 2010 Wynn Classic.
To win the ring, Jaffee credited his good friend Sam Panzica, who recently brought him a special souvenir back from Asia.
“I was registering the six-max at Five Diamond and he gave me this lucky Buddha card protector,” Jaffee told WSOP officials. “Then I won the six-max and then I went pretty deep in the main and then I came here and won this.”
“I would say that it’s probably not me. It’s the luck from the Sam Panzica Asian souvenir experience.”
On his way to victory, Jaffee had to contend with his friend Kelly Minkin. Fortunately for him, Bendan Baksh did the deed of eliminating her. It happened in Level 32 (60,000/120,000/20,000), Baksh raised to 300,000 from the button with the A♣J♥ and then called when Minkin moved all in for 1.44 million holding the 10♦10♥ in the small blind.
It was a flip, but Baksh took a big lead when he paired on the A♥7♥6♣ flop. The 6♥ turn and 3♥ river gave both a flush, but, of course, Baksh’s was bigger. Minkin had to settle for third place and $95,880, while Baksh went on to finish runner-up for $130,720. As for Jaffee, he notched the fifth-largest score of his career.
“The year has actually been kind of stressful,” said Jaffee. “This has actually been my worst year of poker in like the last seven or eight years … So, I had a bunch of losing months in a row and it turned into a losing year. That made it tough, but this helps, and it feels like the momentum is shifting and I’m looking forward to 2018.”
Others to finish among the top 72 and cash the Main Event were Nick Phoenix (16th for $10,655), Scott Stewart (26th for $6,400), Kevin Gerhart (50th for $3,440), and WPT champ Pat Lyons (61st for $3,145).
In addition to Jaffe, who now has more than $3.4 million in lifetime earnings, 11 others won rings during at the Bike. Early on, Hermilo Vargas defeated an 1,150-entry field to win Event #2: $365 Monster Stack for $71,195, and not long after David Brookshire prevailed in a 92-entry field to win Event #5: $365 Omaha Hi-Lo, the only non-hold’em event on the schedule, for $8,285.
Another well-known player to win a ring, which was his second, was 24-year-old Ryan Van Sanford, who you may recall he won the 2014 WPT Bestbet Bounty Scramble for $421,668. At the Bike, Van Sanford won Event #6: $365 NLHE for $13,135.
Speaking of Liu, he ran away with the Casino Champion title after cashing in four events and making four final tables. That included winning his third ring in Event #8: $365 No-Limit Hold’em Turbo for $12,585, and finishing fifth in the Main Event for $53,740. Like Jaffee, he received a free seat into next year’s Global Casino Championship.
The WSOP Circuit returns in 2018 with their latest stop at Oklahoma’s Choctaw Durant, which runs from January 3-15.
Final Table Results
1 Jared Jaffee (Brooklyn, NY) $211,220
2 Brendan Baksh (Costa Mesa, CA) $130,720
3 Kelly Minkin (Tucson, AZ) $95,880
4 Aaron Frei (Longmonth, CO) $71,300
5 Edward Liu (Los Angeles, CA) $53,740
6 Massoud Eskandani (Mission Viejo, CA) $41,045
7 Chahn Jung (Los Angeles, CA) $31,760
8 Brian Small (Los Angeles, CA) $24,895
9 Tuan Phan (Tucson, AZ) $19,765