Will Pengelly Wins WinStar River Poker Series Main Event for $249,310

Will Pengelly Wins WinStar River Poker Series Main Event for $249,310

The 2018 WinStar River Poker Series recently concluded its one-month long and 11-event run at the WinStar World Casino & Resort in Oklahoma. Bringing the series to a close was its $2,500 Main Event, which attracted 807 players and was ultimately won by Will Pengelly for a whopping top prize of $249,310.

While he’s not in class, the University of North Texas student grinds out a living playing cash games at the casino. After swapping his routine around by taking a shot at the WinStar Main Event, a move which obviously paid off in spades, the 20-year-old player commented:

“I think of tournaments kind of like the lottery. Many people enter and one player wins a lot of money. Today, that happened to be me.”

$2,500 Main Event

The $2,500 Main Event featured a prize pool worth $2 million. Amongst the notable pros booking a cash but falling short of a final table appearance was Ben Keeline in 96th ($4,100), Allen Kessler in 89th ($4,460), Andy Philachack in 39th ($6,980), Austin Lewis in 34th ($7,840), Seneca Easley in 33rd ($8,900), Chris Tryba in 32nd ($8,900), Joe Elpayaa in 19th ($19,820), and Men “The Master” Nhuyen in 14th ($24,040).

Final Table

After the final table was reached on Day 3, the players lined up as follows:

Johnny Deas 4,725,000
Ricky Green 3,880,000
Will Pengelly 2,555,000
Jeff Banghart 2,545,000
Ekrem Bozkurt 2,435,000
Matthew Bray 1,945,000
Dean Baranowski 1,100,000
Alan Cummins 845,000
Brian Green 590,000

Despite starting third in chips, Pengelly initially had a rocky ride and twice lost a considerable portion of his stack after failing to complete open-ender flush draws holding Q-10 suited. Later on, however, his Ad-Kd suited combo draw managed to get there against the pocket sixes of start-of-day chip leader Johnny Deas to steady the ship. Meanwhile, Deas saw his lead dramatically slip away and eventually lost his remaining chips holding pocket fives to Pengelly’s pocket jacks to exit in 8th place.

Prior to that, Jeff Banghart (8-7) had eliminated Brian Green (A-10) in 9th, and after Deas’ exit, he dished out the same treatment to Alan Cummins in 7th, and Matthew Bray in 6th to thin the field further.

Pengelly (7-5) subsequently rejoined the action once more after calling Dean Baranowski’s (A-K) all in re-raise on a 9-7-2 flop, with the latter hitting the rail in 5th after a 2 and Q was dealt on turn and river. The remaining players subsequently agreed to an ICM chop, as can be seen from the generous final table payouts received by the top five finishers.

When play resumed, Pengelly eliminated Ricky Green in 4th, before being dealt pocket jacks and seeing off Jeff Banghart (A-5) in 3rd to set up the final showdown against Ekrem Bozkurt for the title.

The tournament progressed at a turbo speed following the five-handed money deal, and heads-up was no exception. Just one hour after agreeing to a chop, Pengelly saw off his last opponent to collect top honors. Commenting upon how he would spend his new found wealth, the finance major said that he would “really want to buy a nice car but it will most likely be going into the bank.”

Final Table Result

1st: Will Pengelly $249,310
2nd: Ekrem Bozkurt $215,170
3rd: Jeff Banghart $206,570
4th: Ricky Green $205,710
5th: Dean Baranowski $144,000
6th: Matthew Bray $75,440
7th: Alan Cummins $58,580
8th: Johnny Deas $46,060
9th: Brian Green $36,640

$100K Oklahoma State Championship

Elsewhere in the state, the Oklahoma State Championship was taking place at the Hard Rock Tulsa, with the series running from August 30th to September 9th. Its Kickoff Classic Championship ($100,000 Guaranteed) event cost $175 to enter, and attracted a good-sized field, one of  whom was Oklahoma resident Eric Thompson. The highly-respected player had $545,075 in winnings going into the competition, including in 2014 taking down the $1,100 Championship Choctaw Fall Poker Series for $103,228.

Unfortunately, Thompson suffered a heart attack mid-way through the tournament and tragically passed away aged just 49-years old. On Day 2 of the event, the organizers held a moment’s silence in his honor, before allowing his stack to blind off during the day’s play. Thompson was a popular player highly regarded by his peers, and following his death numerous players posted their memories and commiserations on social media. One of them was Cary McFarland, who wrote:

“The poker community and the world has lost a wonderful soul. Although known best in his hometown of Tulsa, he was well-liked throughout the poker world as well. As fiercely competitive as he was on the felt, he was equally caring and conscientious in the real world. Always seemed to have an encouraging word for us lesser players, or a kind word of celebration and support if we somehow bested him!”