By Joseph Smith Sr.
JC Tran is the odds-on favorite to win it all and take home his third WSOP bracelet plus $8,359,531 in cash. He brings all the right weapons to the final table to win the card war come November. He has already won 2 WSOP bracelets, he has the most chips at 38 million and that’s 8.3 million more than the 2nd stack and his game is honed to perfection.
After a careful analysis of Tran’s chances to become the 2013 WSOP best poker player in the world there’s not much that’s apparent that could go wrong and derail this poker express train. But then… we remember final tables and favorites from past years. In 2006 poker pro Allen Cunningham ran into Jamie Gold and finished 4th; or how about the world’s greatest poker player, Phil Ivey, unable to overcome card luck and finished 7th in 2009 and then Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi forced out in 5th place in 2010.
Tran was born 36 years ago in Vietnam and moved to America with his family when he was two years old. He grew up in California, earned a business degree from California State University at Sacramento while developing his poker skills at Capitol Casino in Sacramento playing $9 - $18 limit Texas hold’em. JC Tran brings a long list of attributes to this year’s November Nine and tops the charts in every category. He began his professional poker career in earnest in 2004 when he left behind the limit games in Sacramento and began playing in the majors. Success seemed to come easy to the young player after he began to regularly cash in tournaments including a 5th place in the 2004 World Poker Finals and then the TV bubble in the 2004 LA Poker Classic.
He played the WSOP Main Event in 2004 and cashed out in 117th place. The following year Tran again played the WSOP Main Event and cashed in the same 117th spot. He made 3 final tables at the 2004 and 2005 WSOP. He then placed 2nd in a WSOP Circuit event and collected $251,920. Tran won the 2006 World Championship of Online Poker Main Event and pocketed $670,000. In 2007 he had his first million dollar cash when he came 2nd in the LA Poker Classic at the Commerce Casino on March 2 and collected $1,177,010. Four weeks later on March 28th he won his first World Poker Tour title and added another $683,473 to his growing bank accounts. The win catapulted him into the WPT Player of the Year award. 2008 was another great year for JC Tran. He cashed in 7 events at the 2008 WSOP and carried away $896,392. He won his first WSOP gold bracelet in the 2008 event #49 when he outlasted a field of 2,718 to win $631,170. Then 2009 brought a second WSOP bracelet in a Pot-Limit Omaha event that paid $235,685. Tran has played in all of the major tournaments over the years, won some and cashed in all of them.
Tran is the player that took on the always intimidating Tony G, owner of the international poker media cartel, Poker News, in a heads-up finish at the PartyPoker.com Premier League III event and walked away with the winner’s prize of $300,000. Now Tran is the intimidator and all that stands between him and the Championship is eight players, all with fewer chips. Is this Tran’s year to take down the championship? It’s very difficult to make a case for anyone else winning. We know why he’s the odds-on favorite; but… those pesky flashbacks of past tournaments when Cunningham, Matusow and the Mizrachi clan came up short still haunts us.