Fifth Time’s The Charm For Michael Bratovich


The final event of the World Series of Poker Circuit was a $365 Turbo, and this was players last chance to earn points on the National Leaderboard as well as win Casino Champion. It looked as if 127.5 points would be enough to qualify for the National Championship.

Kenneth Christopher earned enough points to qualify for the National Championship when 14 players remained. DJ Mackinnon was looking for a 7th place finish or better, but unfortunately was eliminated 12th place, falling short of his goal. With at least 10 points awarded for 11th place or better, both Michael Bratovich and Paul Mattioda earned enough points to have the proverbial monkey off their back.

Meanwhile, Brad St. Vincent had outlasted anyone that could catch him for Casino Champion, so it seemed as if he was just showing off by making another final table in this series. Unfortunately, Brad would be eliminated in 9th place to leave him with 102.5 points, 27.5 points ahead of James Campbell.

Kenneth would be eliminated in 6th place when his Th7h couldn’t catch up with Paul’s AhJd. Soukha Kachittavong made his second final table appearance this series, but was eliminated in 4th when his Qd6d could not beat Greg Zara’s Ad9c in a rollercoaster 9d6hTsQc9s board.

Michael held a decent chip lead over his opponents when three-handed play began, and he never let go. He knocked off Paul in 3rd place when Paul’s AcTh was sucked out by Micahel’s Ad8h. Paul holds over Michael the ability to see Michael’s hole cards after a hand anytime in the future due to an agreement the two made, so it should be interesting to see if that comes into play during the National Championship.

Greg was finally dispatched by Michael when his Ah5h held up against Greg’s Jh9c, though it was with a lot of stress for Michael as the board ran out JcTh2cAc7s. Michael shook his opponent’s hand and then put on the WSOP Circuit ring with a big smile on his face. “It’s all so surreal right now,” Michael told us.

Back in February, Michael was forced to choose between continuing to work in sales or play poker. “New Orleans was my tipping point. I decided to leave my job and chase points. My wife 100% backed me up.”

Michael picked up a 5th place finish in a six-handed event in New Orleans, eventually won by his WSOP Circuit roommate Cory Waaland. Michael was knocked out of that event with pocket kings against Cory’s pocket aces, but today things went differently. At the start of the final table, Michael received a full double up with a set of kings on an ace high flop, and he feels this is the pivotal hand towards his win.

Michael made his fourth final table here at Foxwoods Casino in Event #3. He put his chances at 95% to get enough points to win a seat in the National Championship, but before the last event, he thought he might not qualify. “I was real bummed coming into the event. I came into this event with 102.5 points, and I needed a final table. Once I made it, it took the pressure off.”

His biggest fans are his two kids: Emily, age 9, and Izabella, age 4. The two tell him to “kick ass” when he heads to play a poker tournament, and he can’t wait to share the win with them and his supporting wife Nikol. Michael booked his flight to Las Vegas this morning to go to the World Series of Poker for two weeks, but will be heading home to spend some time with his family before going back for the Main Event.

1st Place: Michael Bratovich ($14,452)

Michael Bratovich

Greg Zara moved all in and Michael made the call, and it was a 60/40 with Michael’s Ah5h against Greg’s Jh9c. The JcTh2c flop gave Greg top pair, but the Ac turn turned the tables. Michael made top pair but would need to dodge a jack, a nine, or a club on the river. The 7s river was just what Michael was looking for, as his top pair held up. Michael will win Event #12 $365 Turbo NLH for $14,452, along with the World Series of Poker Circuit ring. Congratulations, Michael!

3rd Place: Paul Mattioda ($6,428)

Paul Mattioda

From the small blind, Paul Mattioda moved all in with AcTh and was called by Michael Bratovich in the big blind holding Ad8h. It was a bit of a cooler, but it turned into a bad beat as the flop fell 6d8c6h. Paul would need to catch a ten or running sixes to survive. The Qc turn changed nothing, and the Qh river sealed the deal. Paul would have to settle for 3rd place, collecting $6,428 for his efforts.

4th Place: Soukha Kachittavong ($4,710)

Soukha Kachittauong

Soukha Kachittavong was all in holding Qd6d and was up against the Ad9c of Greg Zara. The 9d6hTs flop gave Soukha a few more outs to survive, and he hit one of them on the Qc. Soukha would need to dodge an ace or a nine on the river, but the 9s spiked to knock Soukha out in 4th place. He will collect $4,710 for his efforts.

5th Place: Ryan DeCarvalho ($3,517)

Ryan DeCarvalho

On a 2d3hJh flop, Ryan DeCarvalho check-raised all in and Michael Bratovich made the call. Ryan’s JcTc was in bad shape against Michael’s AhAd, and he would need to make two pair to survive. The Qs turn was no help, and neither was the 4d river. The stacks were counted down, and it was discovered that Michael had Ryan covered. Ryan will be our 5th place finisher and will collect $3,517 for his efforts

Event #12: 6th Place: Kenneth Christopher ($2,665)

Kenneth Christopher

From the small blind, Kenneth Christopher shoved the last of his stack in with Th7h and Paul Mattioda made the call from the big blind holding AhJd. The 6sQh9s flop gave Kenneth a gutshot, and the Js gave him an open ended straight draw. But the 3h river couldn’t save Kenneth, who will be eliminated in 6th place. He will collect $2,665 for his efforts.

Event #12 Final Table Reached

The unofficial final table has been reached in Event #11 $365 Turbo NLH, and it’s an exciting one. Casino Champion Brad St. Vincent has made the table, along with two players who have just earned enough points to qualify for the National Championship: Kenneth Christopher and Michael Bratovich. Along with those three, Paul Mattioda has also made the final table, and he qualified for the National Championship during this series.

The final ten are now on a one hour dinner break, and play will resume at 5,000/10,000 blinds with a 1,000 ante at approximately 7:45pm PST. Here are chip counts and seating assignments:

Seat 1: Greg Zara – 140,000
Seat 2: Brad St. Vincent – 123,000
Seat 3: Brent Reihl – 233,000
Seat 4: Caren Crowley – 95,000
Seat 5: Kenneth Christopher – 195,000
Seat 6: Paul Mattioda – 175,000
Seat 7: Soukha Kachittavong – 201,000
Seat 8: Ryan DeCarvalho – 150,000
Seat 9: Michael Bratovich – 226,000
Seat 10: Leonard Cortellino – 242,000

Here are the prizes left to play for:

1st Place: $14,452
2nd Place: $8,934
3rd Place: $6,428
4th Place: $4,710
5th Place: $3,517
6th Place: $2,665
7th Place: $2,061
8th Place: $1,616
9th Place: $1,294
10th Place: $1,043

1st Place: David Kluchman ($124,369)


Michael Thibeau was all in with AcQd against David Kluchman’s 3s3h. It was a big coin flip, and Michael picked up a lot of outs on the JcKdJs flop. The 9s turn meant Michael now had sixteen outs going to the river. But the 7h river was not one of them, and David’s pocket threes held up to win the tournament.

Michael will exit this tournament in 2nd place, good for $76,883, while David will win the Main Event for $124,370. Along with the prize money, David wins the World Series of Poker Circuit ring and a seat in the National Championship. Congratulations, David!