Santa Rosa’s Brett Murray Wins Again At Thunder Valley WSOPC Stop

Written By Martin Derbyshire on September 26, 2018 - Last Updated on April 17, 2019

A year after winning the Casino Champion title at the inaugural World Series of Poker Circuit stop at Thunder Valley Casino Resort outside Sacramento, Santa Rosa’s Brett Murray returned to take down the $1,700 Main Event.

In an interview with WSOP staff following his WSOPC Main Event victory last week, Murray said his father lives just a five-minute drive from the Lincoln casino. That gives him a bit of a home field advantage.

“I don’t like being at the casino all the time. So I’ll just go home and hang with him and relax. It’s definitely nice for my off days.”

A seat in the WSOPC Global Casino Championship

Murray earned a $151,145 first-place prize that, much like his Casino Champion win did last year, comes with a seat into next year’s WSOPC Global Casino Championship.

The Global Casino Championship is the WSOPC’s season-ending $1,000,000 invitation-only event held traditionally in August at Harrah’s Cherokee in North Carolina. WSOPC Main Event winners, Casino Champion winners, and the top 50 players on the season leader board earn free entry. All WSOPC ring winners and the top 100 players on the 2017 WSOP Player of the Year leader board can also buy in for $10,000.

Murray outlasted a field of 464 entries that helped create a prize pool of $702,960. The final table played out Monday, Sept. 17 with Murray defeating Alexandria, Virginia’s Viet Tran heads up. The rest of the final table participants, and 17 of the top 20 finishers, is all from California.

JC Tran over $13 million

The most successful tournament player to ever come out of Sacramento, JC Tran, finished 31st for $3,634. The cash actually pushed Tran’s total career live tournament winnings up to $13,001,308. Tran is second on California’s all-time money list behind only Poway’s Brian Rast. Tran’s career best score remains the $2,106,893 he earned finishing fifth in the 2013 WSOP Main Event.

At last year’s inaugural WSOP Circuit stop at Thunder Valley where Murray won the Casino Champion title, Gilbert, Arizona’s Nicholas Pupillo got the best of a 528-player field to win the Main Event and $170,286.

Manju Gera earns Casino Champion title

This year, Diamond Bar’s Manju Gera earned the Casino Champion title at Thunder Valley. A mixed-game specialist, she won the $400 H.O.R.S.E. event for $8,303 and booked two other cashes in the $400 Pot-Limit Omaha and $400 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better events to capture the title and collect the Global Casino Championship seat that comes with it.

The WSOP Circuit is already at its next stop at the Seminole Casino Coconut Creek casino in South Florida. Plus, the WSOPC began hosting its first ever completely online circuit event series on Sept. 18.

The online poker series is open to all players inside Nevada and New Jersey. There is no residency requirement. The series will run through Sept. 30 with 13 WSOPC gold rings up for grabs over 13 days. Plus, there is $700,000 in guaranteed prize pools.

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Martin Derbyshire

Martin Derbyshire has more than ten years of experience reporting on the poker, online gambling, and land-based casino industries for a variety of publications including Bluff Magazine, PokerNews, and PokerListings. He has traveled extensively, attending tournaments and interviewing major players in the gambling world.

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