If you asked Damjan Radanov a decade ago where he thought he’d be 10 years from now, sitting in a seat at the 2015 WSOP Main Event in Las Vegas is probably the last answer he would have given. But after winning the WSOP Circuit Main Event in New Orleans last weekend, that’s exactly where he’ll be this summer.
Radanov took on a field of 554 players in the $1,675 WSOP Circuit Main Event at Harrah’s New Orleans. It was the final stop on the circuit tour before the 2015 WSOP gets underway in Las Vegas, and the last chance for hopefuls to win a seat in the prestigious $10k NLHE Championship at the Rio.
When the final cards were dealt, the 33 year old poker player fund himself last man standing, earning the $147,514 prize for 1st place, his first WSOP Ring, and of course, an automatic $10,000 buy-in to the 2015 WSOP Main Event.
After an exhausting battle with table after table of worthy competitors, Radanov survived a heads-up duel with David Nicholson that lasted just 22 hands. Behind in the count, Nicholson limped from the button, then shipped his stack on (A-9), getting the call from Radanov (Q-J). The J-6-5 flop betrayed Nicholson, and the 8-turn, 4-river offered no help. Radanov earned $147k, the ring and the coveted $10k 2015 WSOP Main Event seat.
A 2015 WSOP Trip 10 Years in the Making
Ten years ago, Damjan was a college student living in Siberia, but dreaming of a new life in America. “My best friend came to the States in 2004 and he said he had the best time of his life,” Radanov told the press. “Back then you couldn’t get a student visa in your first or last year of school.”
Radanov explained that, after finishing his third year of law school, he knew it was his last chance to live the dream. “I just came to the States and I stayed,” he said. “I followed my intuition all the way.”
Damjan has been a US citizen for 10 years now, but has only been earning a living as a professional poker player for the last 6. Until now, he’d racked up about $135,000 in cashes along the way, with his largest win coming at the 2014 Southern Poker Challenge in Tunica. That 1st place finished wrangled up $19,545 for the American immigrant last May, followed by another $19,030 score for finishing 3rd at the 2015 Hollywood Poker Open in St. Louis last month.
Radanov more than doubled his lifetime poker career earnings with the win in New Orleans last weekend, bringing his new total to $283,117. Should the Poker Gods favor the Siberian-born pro, that total could increase more than 25x over with a win at the 2015 WSOP Main Event.
Slated for 12:00 sharp on July 7th at the live poker room of the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, the 2015 WSOP Main Event is the poker world’s most prestigious tournament. The $10,000 buy-in isn’t the easiest to come by for most card gaming enthusiasts, and getting to the top of the totem pole to claim the 2015 WSOP Championship Bracelet will be much more difficult, indeed.