After three close calls in the World Series of Poker Circuit Thunder Valley main event, the fourth time proved to be the charm for Paul Richardson. Out of the four prior times a WSOPC main event was held at the Sacramento area casino, Richardson had finished fourth in this event in the fall of 2017, fourth in September of 2018 and eighth when it was held this January. This time he managed to emerge victorious with the title, topping a field of 4141 total entries to win $130,667 and his first WSOPC gold ring.
“Four out of five. It’s amazing. My friends keep saying you always finish fourth so it’s great to finish first!” Richardson told WSOP reporters after coming out on top. “It feels great. I’ve been playing poker for a long time and I’m slowly but surely getting better and better. I’ve been working hard on my game so it’s time to pay.”
In addition to the title and the money, Richardson was also awarded 720 Card Player Player of the Year points for the win. This win marked his third final-table finish of the year, and the score was enough to see him move into 417th place in the 2019 POY race standings, which are sponsored by Global Poker.
Richardson came into the final table in sixth chip position with nine players remaining. He managed to survive to five-handed action, then doubled up through Paul Chai to climb out of the danger zone. He doubled through Chai a second time to continue his climb up the leaderboard. He then found pocket aces to win a sizable pot that vaulted him into the outright lead.
Richardson earned his first knockout of the final table by winning a race with 1010 against the AJ of Chai, who failed to improve and was eliminated in fourth place ($43,198).
Arish Nat won a coin flip of his own with 55 beating the A10 of Travis Fujisaka. Nat made fives full by the turn to send Fujisaka to the rail in third place ($58,653).
Richardson held more than a 2:1 chip lead when heads-up play began. Nat was able to fight his way back to essentially even, but Richardson righted the ship. By the time the final hand was dealt, Richardson had once again established a solid advantage. Nat limped in with 33 and Richardson raised to 400,000 with 109. The flop came down JJ8 and Nat bet 400,000. Richardson moved all-in and Nat made the call. The 8 on the turn counterfitted Nat’s two pair, and the 7 gave Richardson a straight. With that he secured the pot and the title, whilt Nat had to settle for $80,761 as the runner-up finisher.
Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table:
Winner photo via WSOP.