San Diego's Jamul Casino hosted the RunGood Poker Series (RGPS) Checkpoint $600 Main Event last weekend. Its final table was played on Sunday night. 67 entrants out of the initial 533 advanced to Day 2, each eyeing the top prize.
The tournament had a $277,160 prize pool. Rafi Azam almost won an RGPS title several months ago after reaching the $575 RunGood Poker Series Main Event final table at Jamul Casino and got busted in the third position. Still, his determination persisted as he won $52,820 and his maiden RGPS title last weekend.
Azam said after the tournament that patience was essential on the final day. He kicked it off with 17 big blinds and collected more after a short while.
The poker pro didn't lose the stack lead when 16 players remained in the tournament. Afzal Atta, his close friend urged him to sign up for the event and it eventually earned him his largest lifetime poker score and a seat at the end-of-year Thunder Valley event. He will aim at getting a seat to the PokerGo Freeroll later this year.
What Did the Top 9 Finalists Take Home?
- Rafi Azam from Esconcido, California-$52,820
- Victor Kulish from San Diego, California-$37,140
- Mark Feinberg from San Diego, California-$24,015
- Dan Duong from San Diego, California-$16,915
- Afzal Atta from San Marcos, California-$13,000
- Yary Hing from San Diego, California-$10,700
- William B Alfred from San Diego, California-$8,920
- Russell Davies from San Diego, California-$7,120
- Anastasia Knapp from San Diego, California-$5,340
How Things Unfolded on the Final Day
Several eliminations occurred simultaneously shortly after the day's action began. Players who missed a seat at the final table included Joey Gargiulo, Bob Mather, Rich Alsup, Corey Peeples, Brian "The Golden Blazer" Frenzel, Rob "Boston Rob" Mariano, Noel Eicher, and Gary Bousquet.
Anastasia Knapp was the first player to leave the final table after Azam's pocket fives defeated her pocket kings in a six-high flop. The river and turn revealed two fives that earned Azam four fives and the pot hence busting Knapp in the ninth position.
Russell Davies exited the tournament in eighth place after using king-ten to make a small blind call and Victor Kulish used ace-nine to make a big blind call. The latter's straight followed a ten-high flop on the turn thus ending Davies' run.
William B Alfred's last hand was ace-nine as he put his last 11 big blinds from a button and Azam used pocket tens to make a big blind call. The former didn't improve and finished in seventh place with $8,920.
Yary Hing held less than one million chips when the table's action kicked off. Even so, he gradually increased his stack and finished sixth after Atta and Azam faced his two-bid-blind stack.
Atta used king-queen to make the top pair thus beating Hing's king-four and sending him home with $10,700. The former finished fifth after Kulish's pocket tens beat his pocket aces.
Dan Duong lost his chips to Mark Feinberg after his five-three suited failed to hold his opponent's ten-seven suited. Duong finished fourth and made his biggest RGPS career score.
Feinberg followed him in third place after Azam's ace queen beat his ace-five offsuit. His exit set up heads-up action between Azam and Kulish. But, Kulish lost the title to Azam and won $37,140.