Steve Jun has won the 2018 Card Player Poker Tour Bicycle Hotel & Casino $500,000 guaranteed $1,100 no-limit hold’em main event. The 34-year-old poker pro from Torrance, California defeated a field of 524 total entrants to win the title and the top prize of $149,733.
“I was hoping to win, but I didn’t really expect that I would. I almost didn’t play this tournament because I was tired at the time,” said Jun. “My realistic goal coming into the final day was to just try to make the top nine, but I just ran really well. Probably a once-in-a-lifetime run.”
Jun came into the final day in ninth chip position with 16 players remaining. He simply survived to the unofficial ten-handed final table, outlasting a number of highly accomplished tournament pros along the way including Jordan Cristos (15th – $6,355) and Mike Eskandari (11th – $7,615).
Jun got his momentum going at this point in the day, kickstarting his run to the title by eliminating seasoned tournament professional Adam Geyer in 10th place (10th – $7,615). This knockout was enough to see him move into the middle of the pack by the time the nine-handed final table moved into the Live At The Bike! studio to be live streamed. Jun’s next victim was Eric Jeffries, who ran pocket eights into Jun’s pocket aces and failed to come from behind. The recent fifth-place finisher in a $245 buy-in $500,000 guaranteed event here at the Bike earned $13,680 for his deep run, while Jun shot up the leaderboard.
Jun was able to steadily build up his stack as the final table continued, but he ultimately took control in what was arguably the key hand of the entire tournament. 2013 World Series of Poker Asia Pacific pot-limit Omaha bracelet winner Jim Collopy raised to 250,000 and Steve Jun three-bet to 950,000. Collopy called and the flop fell AHeart Suit8Spade Suit6Heart Suit.
Jun bet 675,000 and Collopy called. The turn was the AClub Suit and both players checked. The river was the 4Diamond Suit and Jun moved all in. Collopy quickly called with ADiamond SuitQDiamond Suit for trip aces, but Jun had him outkicked with ASpade SuitKHeart Suit. Jun just had Collopy covered. He was sent to the rail in fifth place, earning $29,640 for his strong showing in this event.
With that Jun took a dominant chip lead into four handed play, which he only increased by knocking out Said El Harrak. Jun picked up pocket aces again and got all-in preflop against El Harrak’s KClub SuitQClub Suit. El Harrak made two pair on the turn when the board brought the QSpade Suit6Heart Suit4Heart SuitKHeart Suit, but the AClub Suit on the river gave Jun trips to win the pot and send El Harrak home with $52,080 for his fourth-place showing.
Jun had nearly four times as many chips as either of his two remaining opponents in Brandon Zuidema and Duey Duong. The three discussed making a deal before they all decided to play on. Duong ultimately eliminated Zuidema in third place, beating his KClub SuitJDiamond Suit with the ASpade SuitQHeart Suit. Zuidema was awarded $52,080 for finishing third.
With that Duong closed the gap somewhat, but he was still at worse than a 2-to-1 chip disadvantage. Duong achieved an incredible feat simply by making it this far in the event, though. He had finished third in this very tournament back in 2015 for $50,000 and then placed fifth in the 2017 running of this event, adding another $31,075. Now Duong had guaranteed himself an even higher finish after having made the final table of this event for the third time in four years. Duong and Jun cut a small deal to rearrange the remaining payouts and then began heads-up play.
It didn’t take long for Jun to convert his lead into a win. Jun raised to 260,000 on the button with KSpade SuitKClub Suit and Duong picked up the ADiamond SuitJClub Suit. He three-bet to 625,000, only to have Jun four-bet to 1,450,000. Duong moved all-in for 5,525,000 and Jun snap called with his big pair. The board fell JSpade Suit8Diamond Suit2Heart SuitQDiamond Suit2Spade Suit and Jun’s hand held up to earn him the pot and the title. Duong earned $97,000 as the runner-up finisher.
“I think that this event was great. It was very well run,” said Jun after the win.
When asked if he had anybody supporting him on his run to the title that he wanted to thank, Jun responded, “I’m always thankful for my wife. I love my family, my son — he’s probably watching now on the stream and not understanding what’s really going on at all. I’m thankful for them, and also my parents. My Dad isn’t necessarily in favor of me playing poker, but maybe when he founds out how much I won today it will change his mind.”
Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded in this event:
|Place||Player||Earnings (USD)||POY Points|
|4||Said El Harrak||$39,235||420|