Tran breaks through!

Apr 2, 2007 4:21 AM

After making five World Poker Tour (WPT) final tables in his career — with three in the past two months —professional poker player J.C. Tran won his first WPT champion title last week at the World Poker Challenge at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno.

Beating out a field of 475 pros and amateurs, the 30-year-old Sacramento native will take home a first place prize of $683,473 and a $25,000 seat in the WPT World Championship at the Bellagio in April.

On the heels of two recent WPT final table appearances — including a second place finish in the Los Angeles Poker Classic on March 1 and a sixth place finish in the World Poker Open on January 25 — Tran will pass the current point leader Joe Pelton in the Season V WPT Player of the Year race.

The Player of the Year will be announced after the WPT World Championship, which is the last tournament of Season V.

Tran secured his first place World Poker Challenge finish on the fourth hand of heads-up poker against Juan Carlos Alvarado, who moved all in pre-flop. Tran called with pocket 10s that held up against Alvarado’s A6, sending the 21-year-old Alvarado home with a second place prize of $366,798.

During the winner toast, Alvarado expressed his praise to Tran, saying, "I have a tremendous amount of respect for JC. He deserves this."

Poker pro David "the Dragon" Pham placed third, winning $182,260, followed by poker pro and Professional Poker Tour commentator, Mark "the Shark" Seif in fourth with $159,478. John Hom went out in fifth taking home $136,695, leaving Danny Wong in sixth with a $113,913 prize.

For more World Poker Challenge tournament and final table details, visit the World Poker Tour Live Updates at www.worldpokertour.com. The World Poker Challenge will air Wednesday, July 24 on the Travel Channel.