Sasha Sabbaghian triumphs in first-ever RunGood Thunder Valley main event

Haley Hintze
Published by:
Posted on September 28, 2021 3:15 pm EDT

The RunGood Poker Series has wrapped up its first visit to California’s spacious Thunder Valley Casino Resort, with Thunder Valley regular Sasha Sabbaghian claiming the title in the RGPS $200,000 Guaranteed $575 Golden Ticket Main Event. Sabbaghian, from nearby Roseville, earned $40,485 for the win.

Sabbaghian’s win highlighted RunGood’s six-day debut at Thunder Valley. The main event drew 565 entries and ended in a three-way chop. At the time of the deal, Sabbaghian held a narrow chip lead over Zihan Men and Jerez Mercado. Men and Mercado earned $37,891 and $36,619 respectively for their strong showings.

The big win stands as Sabbaghian’s third-largest career cash. In July, he pocketed $66,854 for a runner-up finish in one of the Orleans’ Summer Poker Series events. His other cash over $40,000 was for another runner-up finish, in a Circuit ring event at Thunder Valley in 2019. Sabbaghian is a regular in Thunder Valley’s cash games, though his recent tourney successes may prompt him to enter more events in the future.

Sabbaghian profits from tough beat during four-way action

Sabbaghian put a relatively bad beat on fourth-place finisher Shahin Shojaeyan to jump into the chip lead. In an all-in, pre-flop collision with about two million chips in the pot, Shojaeyen had the edge with pocket tens to Sabbghian’s pocket nines.

Shojaeyan moved further ahead when he flopped a set of tens. Sabbaghian, though, rivered a straight to take the huge pot. Shojaeyan claimed $17,240 for fourth, meaning the rivered straight effectively sealed an additional $23,000 in winnings for Sabbaghian.

Besides the big payday in this RGPS “All-Stars Comeback Tour” main event, Sabbaghian also earned a champion’s ring and a seat into the RGPS’s season-wrapping special event, the All Star Pro-Am event in December at PokerGO’s studio in Las Vegas. That 64-player special event will be held at the Aria Resort & Casino. Many of the pro-am seats have been won by main-event winners and overall series leaders at RGPS stops. The remaining RGPS seats will go to pro and celebrity invitees of RunGood’s and PokerGO’s choosing.

Final results:

  1. Sasha Sabbaghian – $40,485
  2. Zihan Men – $37,891
  3. Jerez Mercado – $36,619
  4. Shahin Shojaeyan – $17,240
  5. Victor Villaneuva – $13,235
  6. Randy Gil – $10,890
  7. Kevin Weinmann – $9,000
  8. David Ong – $7,180
  9. Kevin Nguyen – $5,385

(top three payouts reflect three-way chop)

Featured image source: Thunder Valley Poker Blog / Dan Ross