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Denis Lee Takes Down World Series of Poker Circuit Thunder Valley Main Event

California Resident Outlasts Field of 742 Entries To Earn Second Ring and $207,020


DenisDenis Lee is the latest World Series of Poker Circuit main event champion to be crowned at Thunder Valley Casino near Sacramento, California. The resident of Fremont, CA made the trip of just over 100 miles to the venue and was rewarded with his second career WSOPC gold ring and the top prize of $207,020.

This win also saw Lee take home 912 Card Player Player of the Year points, enough to move him into 10th place in the 2024 POY standings presented by Global Poker.

Lee overcame a field of 742 entries in the $1,700 buy-in no-limit hold’em tournament to secure his first-ever six-figure tournament payday. Before this win, his largest payday had been a $15,843 score for a sixth-place showing in a $365 buy-in event at the 2018 WSOPC stop at this same venue.

Lee’s other ring was earned in a $400 buy-in no-limit event at the WSOPC Harvey’s Lake Tahoe stop in 2023. That victory came with a $13,807 windfall. Lee now has more than $329,000 in total tournament earnings, with more than $280,000 of that coming from his success at WSOPC stops over the years.

The strong turnout in this event resulted in a $1,124,130 final prize pool, more than doubling the $500,000 guarantee. The top 113 finishers made the money, with five figures or more for the top 18.

Among those who ran deep in this event were bracelet and ring winner Dann Turner (9th), ring winner Randy Gil (5th), and Kaylen Lebaron (2nd). The $127,720 runner-up payout was by far the largest score yet for Lebaron, topping his $37,705 cash in the 2018 main event for a 329th-place finish.

The final hand of the tournament saw all of the chips get in on a QDiamond SuitJSpade Suit7Spade Suit2Club Suit board with Lee holding JHeart Suit7Diamond Suit against the JDiamond Suit2Spade Suit of Labaron. The better two pair held up through the KSpade Suit river and Lee was awarded the pot and the title.

Place Player Earnings POY Points
1 Denis Lee $207,020 912
2 Kaylen Lebaron $127,720 760
3 Vijay Ramani $95,140 608
4 Mark Bekalu $71,160 456
5 Randy Gil $53,800 380
6 Adam Dunkle $41,130 304
7 Dan Sarasin $31,810 228
8 Joseph Spanne $24,880 152
9 Daniel Turner $19,690 76

Photo credit: WSOP.