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Hanks California State Poker Champion

As far as poker is concerned, Brent Hanks has shown himself to the Golden Boy of the Golden State after winning the 2013 California State Poker Championship.

The Las Vegas resident topped a field of 258 players and took $117,760 back to Nevada following his first place finish on the weekend, a welcome addition to the multitude of money payouts he has won throughout his poker career. It is his first major poker victory of 2013, however, but with the World Series Of Poker (WSOP) in Las Vegas just around the corner, the Californian State Poker win may be just the entrée to a fabulous year for Hanks.

While the Championship featured a number of poker notables like Mimi Tran, Jeff Madsen, Barry Greenstein and Eric Baldwin, none of those players managed to make it into the money. Hanks did remain, though, and his sizable chip lead made him the favourite to take out the tourney as soon as the final table came into place.

Hanks had 1.3 million chips at the start of the final table, nearly 450,000 more than Daniel Park, who wound up being eliminated in third place. The player who would pose a threat to him, however, was the final table’s short stack, fellow WSOP Gold Bracelet winner Gavin Griffin.

Griffin had just 163,000 when the final table began, and it looked like he would last no time at all. He proved any critics wrong after having a great run, chipping himself up along the way. Griffin further improved his chip stack by knocking out three players in the tournament’s later stages – Dong Tao in fifth place, David Malka in fourth place and Daniel Park in third.

The southern California native had gathered masses of momentum going into heads-up play, and it appeared that Hanks dominance was under great threat. However, it also appeared that Hanks was destined to win the Championship as he stopped Griffin’s excellent run of play to win take first place.

Griffin moved all-in with Ace Six offsuit in what would be the final hand of the tournament. Hanks, who had Ace Nine off suit, called and he remained in front after the flop of Seven of Hearts, Seven of Spades and Four of Spades was shown. The Nine of Diamonds on the turn all but sealed the Championship for Hanks, giving him a two pair with the two Sevens on the board. The river brought the Ace of Clubs, which confirmed the victory for Hanks.

The victory comes nearly a year after Hanks won his first, and currently only, WSOP Gold Bracelet after he won the $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em event. Hanks had his largest ever poker cash win at that event, winning $517,725.

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