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Wasicka Wins WSOPC Tunica
Four years after the biggest runner-up finish in poker history, Paul Wasicka finally got his World Series of Poker win.
The 2006 WSOP Main Event second place finisher took first in the WSOP Circuit Tunica Championship Event Wednesday, banking $139,422 and a seat in this year's Main Event.
"This is something that I've been searching for, for a very long time," he said. "This is just awesome, it was always about the money, but now it was about just taking one down."
Wasicka, who did win the 2007 NBC National Heads-Up Championship to follow up his $6 million second-place finish in 2006, says he was affected by the success he found at such a young age.
"It's weird experiencing that much success that young in your career," he said. "It toys with you a bit; you lose motivation and question why you're playing."
Now, the 28-year-old pro says he is solely focused on poker and will continue playing high-stakes tournaments wherever he can find them.
"It's not going to stop for the next month," he said. "Heading to L.A. now and then I'm going to hit the Circuits."
The final table in Tunica began just after 12 p.m. ET with Wasicka holding a big chip lead.
Alabama's Jerry Saucier was the first player to exit, taking ninth when he bluffed into a Carter Phillips set of kings.
Robert Thornhill ran eights into Larry Gurney's kings to bust eighth before PokerListings blogger Matt Stout's back-to-back Tunica final table appearances came to a close.
He ran A♥ T♦ into Wasicka's ace-king to bust seventh and was sent to the rail by the man he'd travelled to Tunica with.
2009 WSOPC killer Dwyte Pilgrim got sucked out on by Gurney to leave him short and busted sixth soon after, running queen-nine into Richard Robb's aces. Robb flopped quads to leave no doubt.
Phillips, who took the title at EPT Barcelona in the fall, was the next to go, putting sixes up against Gurney's jacks and failing to improve.
Wasicka then made flush in a battle of ace-ten suited hands to send Shane Zell out fourth and just a few hands later, Robb's ace-jack fell to Gurney's ace-nine to set up the heads-up match.
Wasicka and Gurney began about even, but after winning a 270,000 pot right at the outset, Wasicka took a lead he would never relinquish.
He eventually built up more than a 5-1 chip lead before Gurney shoved with pocket fours on a 9♥ 8♠ 6♣ flop. Wasicka called with 9♦ 8♦ for top two and the title was his.
The next stop on the WSOP Circuit begins Feb. 18 at Horseshoe Council Bluffs in Iowa.