Amateur poker player Thomas Pomponio made history at the 2017 World Series of Poker (WSOP) when he beat 18,053 players during a 6 day event to win the Colossus III $565 No-Limit Hold'em event. He won the guaranteed $1 million in prize money, making it his biggest cash out ever.
Pomponio defeated Tyler Black in final heads-up play held at the Rio Convention Center in Las Vegas to also win his first WSOP gold bracelet. Black took home $545,480 for his second-place win. A native of New Jersey, Pomponio is a butcher by trade and has been playing poker for over 10 years mostly online. He said that he typically plays once or twice a week.
Pomponio stated that he had first felt that he had a chance to win the title on Day 2 of the event when he finished sixth in the remaining field of 41 players. Colossus is a highly popular WSOP (World Series Of Poker) event typically seeing record-breaking entries. This year’s Colossus event had an increased prize pool and reached $8 million as opposed to the $7 million prize pool in the 2016 edition.
The payout structure for the Colossus differs from other WSOP events. Players were able to finish in the money in each of the six starting flights held, with the cash-out depending on the total number of entries the flight had. The remainder cash was then added to the pool from Day 2 onwards. The final day play saw nine players face-off for the ultimate prize.
Pomponio was at fourth place in chips but fought strongly to make it to the top. The action was fast-paced with hand decisions being made in seconds. In just eleven hands, the field was down to seven players, and soon it was down to Pomponio and Black. At the beginning Pomponio was chip deficit, but he was able to turn it around in four hands to gain a lead. Black who had started with a five-to-three chip lead couldn’t hold on and lost out to Pomponio after nine hands of intense play.
Before winning the Colossus III event, Pomponio had won a little over $13 thousand in career prize money. In a statement Thomas Pomponio said
It feels… just surreal. Ever since I was a kid, I was dreaming about sitting there and holding that gold. I’m just waiting to wake up from the dream, but I don’t think I’m going to. So, it’s pretty good.