Michael Jukich Triumphs at WSOP Circuit Baltimore Main EventMay 10, 2018 5:10 am
The WSOP Circuit recently finished its latest stop at the Horseshoe Casino Baltimore in Maryland, with 12 events featured during its run from April 26 to May 7. Attracting the most attention, however, was its $1,675 Main Event which drew 513 players, with Michael Jukich eventually besting the field to claim a top prize of $165,438.
The payout now represents almost half his $377,404 in career earnings, and following his impressive win, the Virginia native dedicated his victory to his fiancé Ashley and two-year old son Ryker, stating:
“It was last minute that I even decided to come. I was playing in my home game, back in Lynchburg, VA on Friday night and I got the okay to come up here and play. I just have to give a shout out to my fiancé, Ashley and my son, Ryker. That’s who I do this for.”
The WSOP Circuit Baltimore featured a prize pool $269,500 in excess of its initial $500,000 guarantee, and amongst the recognizable pros finishing in one of its 54 money places was Allen Kessler in 47th ($2,955), Peter Eichhardt in 27th ($5,156), and Loni Harwood in 13th ($10,127).
Plotting a rocky course towards the final table was its eventual winner Michael Jukich, who on Day One found himself reduced to just ten big blinds before scoring a number of double ups against another final tablist, Chris Caruso. On Day Two, Jukich then scored a massive double-up holding pocket kings to Chris Asaro’s pocket queens, with the hand propelling him into the chip lead, and allowing him to close out the day in second place overall to Jeremy Stein.
Reflecting back on the fateful hand, the 34-year-old pro said that it helped a ton, stating that “the first hand of the day was kind of a disaster, but I went from 10k to 300k in like four hands. I just kept speaking to the guys in my group chats and they kept me positive.”
Jukich entered the final table second in chips to Jeremy Stein, but it was James St. Hilaire who dominated the early proceeding, eliminating Ari Eiblum in 9th, and Paul Fisher in 8th, before Jeremy Stein entered the fray by taking care of Christopher Conrad (5th), and Kyle Adams (4th).
When just three players remained, however, James St. Hilaire reduced to a short stack pushed his remaining chips preflop holding 10s-9s, prompting a call from Jukich with Ah-Jc. The board then ran out 3c-Jh-7s-Qc-As to eliminate St. Hilaire in 3rd place ($74,726), leaving Jukich and Stein to battle it out for the coveted WSOP Circuit ring.
At the start of heads-up, Jukich held a roughly 50bb to 37bb lead over Stein, and just a few hands later the deciding hand was played with Stein (A-K) limping from the small blind, Jukich (6-6) raising from the button, prompting a three-bet from Stein, followed by a decisive all in from Jukich. Stein quickly made the call, and after the dealer laid out a Q-4-3-J-Q board, Stein collected $102,290 for his runner-up finish, representing his biggest score to date, while increasing his career earnings to $430,008.
Similarly, Jukich’s first place prize was also his biggest win ever, and after clinching the victory, his rail came down to congratulate him, with fellow professional player Alex Rocha among their ranks. Heaping praise upon Rocha and a number of other pros that are his friends, Jukich said:
“He helps [my game] a lot, man. A lot of credit to him too. He, Asher Coniff, Joe Liberta. They are like my main guys that I talk a lot of poker with. They’ve kind taken me under their wing and showed me a ton about poker. I look up to them.”
Final Table Results
1: Michael Jukich $165,438
2: Jeremy Stein $102,290
3: James St Hilaire $74,726
4: Kyle Adams $55,396
5: Christopher Conrad $41,661
6: Christopher Caruso $31,780
7: Kyle Jensen $24,586
8: Paul Fisher $19,291
9: Ari Eiblum $15,352