The legendary WSOP poker commentator Lon McEachern, one half of his incredible partnership with the award-nominated duo of Lon and Norman Chad, has won his first-ever WSOP Circuit Ring. Triumphing in Thunder Valley for a little over $15,000, McEachern was persuaded to leave his “hot tub” and enter the event. Some hours later, he had a very famous trophy to celebrate with the poker world.

Reaching the Final Table

Getting down to the final table took some time, with 181 entries in the event. By the time the final table was reached, everyone was looking at McEachern as a possible winner, including the venue themselves, The Poker Room at Thunder Valley Casino Resort. At that stage, McEachern had around 25 big blinds, good for fifth in chips.

The Thunder Valley FT
The Thunder Valley final table players assemble (McEachern front left)

With nine players left, Ronald Henry Jr. busted for a meagre $1,110, shortly before Paul Richardson went out in eighth for $1,516. Out in seventh place was Jena Venturini, whose score of $1,935 was the last below $2,000. Gregory Agren ($2,530), Nathan Fitzgerald (3,835), Anthony Banuelos (4,633) and Michael Peters ($6,485) all followed, leaving McEachern to take on the short-stacked Calvin Norman.

Norman, who had begun the final table with just 10 big blinds, was not about to let it go for nothing, but he was short and needed a double. Ace-high looked good to the player needing to chase the chips, but McEachern had a rocket too.

Lon Gets it Done

Lon's Ring
Lon McEachern beams with pride having just won his first WSOP Circuit Ring.

All-in with ace-nine, Calvin Norman was up against… ace-nine! Yes, WSOP co-host McEachern had the exact same hand in the $400-entry Seniors event, except it was suited in clubs. Two clubs landed on the flop, meaning Lon was freerolling for the win on both turn and river, but no clubs meant a chop pot.

If Lon feared that was his chance gone and an outrageous comeback was on the cards for Norman, he needn’t have worried.  With Norman drifting to just a handful of big blinds, he was all-in with ace-high again, this time ace-four. Lon made the call holding ace-eight and that held with ease to crown the broadcasting legend as the winner.

Calvin Norman won the runner-up prize of $9,276, but it was McEachern was pronounced the winner, cashing for the top prize of $15,008. Immediately after winning the event, McEachern was embraced by his friends on the rail as the whole room seemed to celebrate with the poker legend, who has been nominated for entry into the Poker Hall of Fame on numerous occasions.

McEachern Glad He “Climbed Out of the Hot Tub!”

After winning the event in style, McEachern, who’d been wondering out loud on Twitter whether to leave the comfort of his surroundings to even pitch up at the event, was glad he got towelled off.

“I guess I’m glad I climbed out of the hot tub!” he responded to Tony Dunst in the ensuing conversation. He also thanked his legions of fans for their support.

Having won not only the $15,008 top prize but his maiden WSOP Circuit ring, McEachern also makes the grade to play in the end-of-season WSOP Tournament of Champions, where he’ll compete for a World Series of Poker bracelet.

“Norman Chad doesn’t have one of these.” Said Lon after the action concluded. “I was always ahead. I had a couple of huge hands at the final table. I flopped the world against the guy who’d been my nemesis all day and the chip leader most of the da too;, I had ace-nine of diamonds against his pocket fives, flopped the ace and hit the diamonds. That helped, it gave me 95% of his stack.”

Here’s the full-length winner’s interview with the man himself:

WSOP Thunder Valley Circuit Event Final Table Results:

Place Player Country Prize
1st Lon McEachern U.S.A. $15,008
2nd Calvin Norman U.S.A. $9,276
3rd Michael Peters U.S.A. $6,485
4th Anthony Banuelos U.S.A. $4,633
5th Nathan Fitzgerald U.S.A. $3,835
6th Gregory Agren U.S.A. $2,530
7th Jena Venturini U.S.A. $1,935
8th Paul Richardson U.S.A. $1,516
9th Ronald Henry Junior U.S.A. $1,110


Joe Ellison

Joseph is a dedicated journalist and horse racing fanatic who has been writing about sports and casinos for over a decade. He has worked with some of the UK's top bookmakers and provides Premier League soccer tips on a regular basis. You'll likely find him watching horse racing or rugby when he isn't writing about sport.

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