California - Thunder Valley Casino Resort

Thunder Valley Casino Resort
Lincoln, California
September 14 - 28, 2015
Total Prize Pool: $672,120
Congratulations to Tom West for winning $154,590
and the HPT champion's bracelet!

See below for a full writeup of the event

Click HERE to see results from side events from this series

California - Thunder Valley Casino Resort Quick Summary

Please check out the full event write up below.

California - Thunder Valley Casino Resort Top 9

First Place

Tom West
Los Altos, CA

Second Place

Nic Vu
San Rafael, CA

Third Place

Randy Smith
Tracy, CA

Fourth Place

Minh Nguyen
Modesto, CA

Fifth Place

Craig Gold
Belmont, CA

Sixth Place

Adam Ghattas
Reno, NV

Seventh Place

David Carey
Rohnert Park, CA

Eighth Place

Daniel Hatch
Santa Clara, CA

Ninth Place

Doron Shako
San Jose, CA


California - Thunder Valley Casino Resort Top 54 Finishers

1. Tom West $154,590
2. Nic Vu $94,500
3. Randy Smith $62,642
4. Minh Nguyen $43,553
5. Craig Gold $32,598
6. Adam Ghattas $25,205
7. David Carey $20,500
8. Daniel Hatch $16,803
9. Doron Shako $13,442
10. Valerie Hanley $10,888
11. Jaime Ronas $10,888
12. Larissa Buchman $10,888
13. Robert Mitchell $8,133
14. Phuoc Nguyen $8,133
15. Greg Guth $8,133
16. Nadav Noy $6,251
17. Marko Fontanos $6,251
18. Steven Geralis $6,251
19. Josh Prager $4,772
20. Dan Barker $4,772
21. Yasir Maheed $4,772
22. Brent Lickiss $4,772
23. Nicholas Matsumoto $4,772
24. Paul McCaffrey $4,772
25. Anne Bui $4,772
26. Anthony Spinelli $4,772
27. Sean Rogan $4,772
28. John Nicholson $3,898
29. Paul Brown $3,898
30. Edvin Talusan $3,898
31. Dan Stir $3,898
32. Triet Nguyen $3,898
33. Michael Pearson $3,898
34. Cary Marshall $3,898
35. Arish Nat $3,898
36. Kfir Nahum $3,898
37. Daniel Williams $3,159
38. Exequiel Fernando $3,159
39. Dee Timmons $3,159
40. Mike Jacob $3,159
41. Lance Garcia $3,159
42. James Richards $3,159
43. Anton Dimagiba $3,159
44. Matthew Dillon $3,159
45. Ron Larsen $3,159
46. Andrew Ling $2,890
47. Shane Preston $2,890
48. Jared Griener $2,890
49. Mark Lehnert $2,890
50. Jacqueline Wesley $2,890
51. David Forster $2,890
52. Dipankumar Padsumbia $2,890
53. Dokyun Kim $2,890
54. Ken Fitzgerald $2,890

California - Thunder Valley Casino Resort Recap

West Emerges Victorious on HPT for $154k

Second time a charm for California man at Thunder Valley

Lincoln, CA (September 28, 2015) – Back in January, Tom West finished third in the Heartland Poker Tour Main Event at Thunder Valley Casino Resort for a score of over $64k. It’s not easy to improve on a finish of that caliber, but that’s exactly what West did Monday. The caterer from Mountain View, California defeated a field of 464 players to capture the HPT Title and $154,590.

“I feel incredible,” said the new champ after the win. “It’s hard to express in words how it feels.”

West faced plenty of challengers throughout the three-day tournament. One of his toughest foes was runner-up Nic Vu of San Rafael, California. On the final hand of the tournament, Vu called West’s all-in on the flop with a flush draw. The fifth diamond never came and Vu’s day ended one place short of a victory. The poker pro will still take home $94,500 for his efforts.

Marketing VP Randall Smith listed his career earnings at $3,500 coming into the Final Table. The Tracy, California man will surely go home with a smile on his face after finishing in third place and tallying a $62,642 score to that total.

Modesto, California’s Minh Nguyen scored the biggest cash of his career last weekend when he took down the first preliminary event of the HPT series. He followed that win with another strong showing in the Main Event, making his first appearance at a televised table. Minh’s magical run came to an end in fourth place. The life insurance agent will earn $43,553 for the finish.

This was the tour’s fifth visit to Thunder Valley Casino Resort. The venue just outside of Sacramento has quickly become one of the favorites among HPT faithful. Many notable players, including Stan Jablonski and Greg Raymer, complimented the property and staff throughout the weekend. HPT has already announced it will return to Thunder Valley in late January for another series.

When play began on Monday, Craig Gold was the lone short stack at the table. It didn’t take the business consultant long to chip up, though. Gold would hang around long enough to finish in fifth place for a $32,598 payday. The Belmont, California native plans to put most of the winnings into savings.

On the other end of the chip spectrum when the day started was real estate investor Adam Ghattas. The Reno, Nevada man played well early on with the chip lead, but found himself on the losing end of a big hand with Vu right before the dinner break. He busted out of the tournament shortly after the players returned. Ghattas collected $25,205 for sixth place.

David Carey’s day came to a close when the eventual champ put him to the test before the flop. Carey called West’s bet, which put him all-in, with pocket sixes. West flipped over ace-queen, making Carey a slight favorite in the hand. The flop didn’t produce any outs for West, but a queen on the turn sealed Carey’s fate. The self-employed consultant from Rohnert Park, California was sent to the rail in seventh place with $20,500.

Daniel Hatch also exited at the hands of West. The eighth-place finisher earned $16,803 for his weekend’s worth of work. Before his departure, Hatch doubled up online advertiser Doron Shako early in the day. The double up extended Shako’s stay at the table, but not by much. He lost to Gold shortly thereafter to become the first player eliminated. Shako, of San Jose, left with $13,442.

From here, HPT will make the long journey to Daytona Beach, Florida for a series that kicks off this Thursday. Visit for a complete schedule and a list of all other upcoming tour stops.

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