Valentin Vornicu Hopes to Turn First WPT Cash into a Victory

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Valentin Vornicu finally has a WPT cash to his credit (WPT photo)

When the bubble finally burst in the World Poker Tour Legends of Poker Main Event on Tuesday afternoon, Valentin Vornicu was one of the happier guys in the Bicycle Casino’s poker room. Guaranteed his first career WPT cash, Vornicu was hoping that his status as a Bike regular would help get him even deeper in the event.

“Being a local here – it’s more or less my local casino – I know most of the players here. That’s an advantage too compared to somebody who travels and doesn’t know how the locals play,” said Vornicu.

An advantage indeed. Vornicu has had a ton of success at the Bike over the last few years, taking down four WSOP Circuit events while cashing 16 times. He’s also won the Casino Champion award in 2016 and 2017. The WPT though is a different animal altogether.

“I’d say half the guys are about the same, but in this one you see more “big name” players. You’ve got Phil Hellmuth and a bunch of high rollers that travel the bigger circuit that would not show up for a $1675, that will show up for this,” said Vornicu. “It doesn’t really change it for me that much, honestly. I’ve played these guys at the Series, at Seminole and all these other places.”

While his WPT numbers are unimpressive, he did have a deep WSOP Main Event run in 2016, finishing 23rd for $269,430, and he’s coming off of a fourth-place finish in the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event for $79,296. Even though he might have more experience than some of the other locals still in, he’s shied away from playing WPT events over the years.

“I don’t really do the WPT because, or I haven’t done it until now. I just never felt like doing it. I don’t know why. First of all, the buy-ins are really high. I’m four buy-ins into this thing and I need to get into the last 24 to make anything,” said Vornicu. “The buy-in being so high, you can easily – well not easily – brick 20 of these in a row, due to variance. That’s just a lot of money right there if you think about it. So, I guess that’s one of the reasons, I don’t think bankroll wise I was able to fire a million of these a year like some people do.”

All of that could change if this run turns into something more than a min-cash. The 34-year-old, who lives in San Diego, could find himself in contention for WPT Player of the Year if he wins Legends. Being in the running for that award could shift his priorities over the next few months as he chases POY points.

“I know there’s a points system and all that, so it really depends on how I do here. I know pretty much half of this field by name, it’s going to get tougher and tougher as it goes,” said Vornicu.

As much as he needs or wants to finish 24th or better to show a profit in this event, he’s really only focused on finishing in top spot and getting his name etched on the WPT Champions Cup.

“This summer, I stayed for two months in Vegas, I played everything, every day, and I only won one tournament – it was a HORSE tournament at Aria – and that was one of the best moments of my summer, said Vornicu. “Winning a tournament, for me, it’s what I live for. I’m not here to min-cash”

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