The World Poker Tour Rolling Thunder stop in Lincoln, California wrapped up on Tuesday with former Sacramento resident Erkut Yilmaz pulling off the incredible feat of winning his second WPT Main Tour stop in the same season.
Now a Philadelphia resident, Yilmaz took down the WPT Borgata Poker Open in September, taking home a career-high cash of $575,112 in the process. Now, after navigating through the field of 280 runners at Thunder Valley Casino Resort, and eventually defeating Jim Collopy in a grueling heads-up battle, he’s become a two-time WPT champion and takes home $303,920 for the victory.
Before he could celebrate his Sacramento homecoming, Yilmaz would have to face an incredibly stacked final table that included Season 13 WPT Player of the Year Anthony Zinno and WPT Champions Club member Dylan Linde.
North Carolina business owner Jerry Robinson was at his first World Poker Tour final table when he looked down at and put in a raise from the hijack. Ajay Chabra defended his big blind with the dominated . The flop came and Chabra checked it over to Robinson who bet. Chabra put in a healthy check-raise and Robinson moved all in with his tournament on the line. With the nut flush draw, Chabra made the call. The turn was the giving Chabra an open-ended straight draw to go along with his flush draw. The river fell the , bringing in the runner-runner straight for Chabra and sending Robinson to the rail having his aces cracked. Robinson picked up $50,720 for a new career-high cash.
Anthony Zinno started the day as the short stack and was able to find a double up which helped him ladder the payouts. However, he wasn’t long for the final table after a clash with Collopy. Zinno raised from the cutoff with and both Collopy and Chabra made the call from the button and big blind respectively. The flop fell and when checked to him, Zinno put out a bet. Collopy made the call and Chabra folded. The turn was the and Zinno open-shoved the rest of his stack. Collopy made the call and flipped over the for the flush and Zinno was drawing dead to the river. Zinno fell in fifth place and the three-time WPT champ earned $68,860 in the process.
Dylan Linde was the next to move when he shipped his roughly 15 big blind stack from the small blind holding the . He was quickly called by Collopy in the big blind holding . The flop was good for Linde who improved to a pair, leaving Collopy with the three aces as outs as well as running straight or flush cards. The turn was the bringing in some backdoor possibilities for Collopy. The spiked on the river for Collopy which sent Linde out the door in fourth place for $95,530.
The remaining players battled three-handed for the better part of three hours until an all in preflop clash sent the next player to the rail. Chabra limped the button holding . From the small blind, Collopy put in a raise with the and Yilmaz folded the big blind. Chabra then three-bet jammed his remaining stack only to get snap called by Collopy. With the cards on their backs, the players saw a flop of , giving Collopy top pair and leaving Chabra looking for some serious help. The turn was the , leaving Chabra looking for a five to survive. The river was the , marking the end of the tournament for Chabra, who, settled for third place and a six-figure payday of $130,345.
Collopy held a commanding lead for most of the first part of the heads up match and had multiple shots at closing it out, only to lose back-to-back crucial flips to Yilmaz. The duo trades blows for well over two hours, with both players having their opponent on the verge of elimination only for the other to spike the card they needed to stay alive.
Finally, with the chip lead, Collopy raised from the button with and Yilmaz shipped his on the button. The flop put Yilmaz in the lead but left Collopy with outs. The turn was the adding an open ender for Collopy, but the river was the giving the hand to Yilmaz. After the chips were placed in Yilmaz’ stack, he held 95% of the chips in play. On the very next hand, the pair put the chips in the middle again with Yilmaz spiking an ace on the river to complete the feat of winning two titles in a single season.
Collopy was eliminated in second place, receiving $200,780 as a consolation. The score sends his lifetime recorded earnings north of $2 million.
Yilmaz earned the $303,920 first-place prize, a new Hublot watch, and an extra $15,000 in lieu of a ticket to the Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions, as he has already won a seat to that tournament earlier in the season.
With the victory, Yilmaz takes the lead in the Hublot WPT Player of the Year race.
WPT Rolling Thunder Final Table Payouts
1. Erkut Yilmaz – $303,920
2. Jim Collopy – $200,780
3. Ajay Chabra – $130,345
4. Dylan Linde – $95,350
5. Anthony Zinno – $68,860
6. Jerry Robinson – $50,720