Harrison Gimbel Completes Second Leg of Triple Crown, Wins WPT Rolling Thunder

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Picking off the second leg of poker’s Triple Crown, Harrison Gimbel overcame an epic battle against Mohsin Charania – himself looking for his third World Poker Tour title – to emerge victorious at the WPT Rolling Thunder on Wednesday night.

The final table of the WPT Rolling Thunder was one of the strong tables in recent memory, with Russell Garrett heading the pack with his 3.686 million in chips. Gimbel was right behind him with 3.315 million, while Charania pulled into the third slot with 2.716 million. The final three men – Markus Gonsalves (1.258 million), Hafiz Khan (754,000) and Derek Wolters (544,000) – all had the skills to win the title but needed some ammunition to be able to fight for it. With the average stack around two million chips, there was plenty of time for play among the six men that was demonstrated in the early going.

It would take well over 50 hands before the first elimination would be made. Both Wolters and Khan fought hard to increase their stacks but, when Wolters made his stand on Hand 57 against Gimbel on a 9-8-5-10, he was actually in the lead with his K-10 over Gimbel’s J-9. The river card would crush Wolters’ thoughts of a double, however, when a third nine came on the river for Gimbel to give him trips, increase his stack over the 4.2 million mark and send Wolters to the rail in sixth place.

Khan would last ten hands longer and would go out in almost as vicious a fashion. Moving all-in over the top of a Garrett bet, Khan had the edge with his pocket threes over Garrett’s A-Q off suit after Garrett called. The 7-7-5 flop kept Khan in the lead, but another five on the turn counterfeited his pocket pair and left him looking for one of two remaining treys in the deck to offset Garrett’s Ace to win the hand outright. The river nine wasn’t what Khan was looking for as he fell to Garrett in fifth place while Garrett solidified his lead.

Only a few hands later, Gimbel would scoop up some more chips with an elimination. After a Garrett bet, Gimbel three bet the action from the button Gonsalves four-bet to 275K. Garrett pondered for a minute and decided to wait for another time, but Gimbel’s moment of thought brought him to a decision to move all in. Gonsalves called off his remaining stacks and, once the cards were up, Gonsalves had made the right decision, his A-J off suit leading Gimbel’s K Q.

Once again, however, Gimbel found fortune on the board. A Queen came on the Q-10-8 flop and, after another Queen gave Gimbel trips, Gonsalves was left looking for a King to give him a Broadway straight. The river card brought paint but it was a Jack, leaving Gonsalves with a losing two pair to Gimbel’s trips and a walk towards the exits of the Thunder Valley Casino Resort in fourth place.

Now the short stack with slightly more than two million chips (Garrett and Gimbel, both over five million chips, were only separated by 20,000 chips), Charania had his work cut out for him if he were to challenge for his third WPT title. He found a double through Garrett to get healthier and, after Gimbel chopped some more off of him, Garrett suddenly found himself on the short stack. Garrett would fight admirably but, on Hand 107, he would lose a race to Gimbel, his A-Q off suit failing to catch Gimbel’s pocket sevens, to exit the WPT stage in third place.

Literally 55K in chips apart, the battle between Gimbel and Charania proved to be a long one. Over the first 50 hands of play, Charania looked to be the one in command as he worked out to slightly more than a 2:1 lead over Gimbel. Over the next 40 hands, though, Gimbel would draw within a couple million chips of Charania. On Hand 203, the “game changer” occurred, setting the course to crowning the champion.

Gimbel min-raised off the button and Charania, after making the call, saw a flop of 9-4-3. Charania check-raised a Gimbel bet of 325K to 850K and Gimbel moved all in. Charania made the call and turned up a Q-9 for top pair, but Gimbel topped him with a K-9 for a better kicker. When the turn and river ran out with two fives, Gimbel’s King played and he picked up an 8 million-plus pot, seizing the lead from Charania.

Although it would take another 20 hands, it was essentially over. Charania could never recover and, on Hand 222, Charania called off his stack after Gimbel moved all in over his opening bet. It was the right thing to do for Charania, his K Q holding a significant edge over Gimbel’s 5 4, but once again the stars seemed aligned for Gimbel. The J-3-2 flop was about as fortuitous as Gimbel could have expected and the five on the turn was especially welcome. Looking to dodge a King or a Queen, Gimbel saw another five hit the river to give him trips and the championship of the WPT Rolling Thunder.

1. Harrison Gimbel, $275,112
2. Mohsin Charania, $192,132
3. Russell Garrett, $123,682
4. Markus Gonsalves, $91,616
5. Hafiz Khan, $68,712
6. Derek Wolters, $54,970

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