Wa­ter wreck­age

World Se­ries of Poker crowns win­ner of mas­sive Colos­sus


Card-play­ing supremacy. Brag­ging rights. Cold, hard cash. More than 22,000 gam­blers — many pros, quite a few am­a­teurs — came for the same thing in Las Ve­gas, drawn by the low cost to en­ter the World Se­ries of Poker’s new Colos­sus event.

Just US$565 to en­ter, un­like the US$10,000 price to play the much­watched Main Event, Colos­sus proved ir­re­sistible.

They had a 1 in 22,374 chance, right?

There was Nick Luis Dam­ico from High­land, Cal­i­for­nia, who plays Tues­day night poker tour­na­ments in a buddy’s garage and snapped pho­tos of pros in the tour­na­ment’s hall­ways be­fore tak­ing a seat at his own ta­ble and get­ting knocked out rel­a­tively early.

And then there was Jen­nifer Kist­ner from North­ern Cal­i­for­nia who had played in a World Se­ries of Poker ladies tour­na­ment be­fore but thought she might win enough this time to build an ad­di­tion to her house for her mother.

“Who wouldn’t give it a shot?!” she said in a text mes­sage.

Ul­ti­mately, the last men stand­ing were no novices to the game, in­clud­ing 25- year- old win­ner Lance “Cord” Garcia from Hous­ton who found his stride his third time en­ter­ing the event and took it all the way to a pair of fours at the fi­nal ta­ble that turned into a full house for the win.

He won US$638,880 Wed­nes­day, mi­nus the US$1,695 he spent en­ter­ing three times.

“It hasn’t set in that I’ve won the big­gest tour­na­ment in poker,” he said af­ter six days of out­last­ing ev­ery­one else. The regular on the tour­na­ment cir­cuit posed for pho­tos with his mom, his friends and his poker chips. He wel­comed the big­ger crowd of com­peti­tors to get more peo­ple in­volved.

“It’s al­ways good for the game,” he said.

Colos­sus was just one of 68 events hap­pen­ing through­out the 51-day World Se­ries of Poker that started last week and cul­mi­nates with the closely watched Main Event. Colos­sus at­tracted at­ten­tion for its low buy-in and ex­pec­ta­tion to at­tract crowds.

1,130 Times His In­vest­ment

The US$11.2 mil­lion prize pool was spread out among 2,241 play­ers.

The spread of wealth is what sur­prised and up­set many play­ers with a few find­ing out mid­play Sun­day that the top prize wouldn’t break US$1 mil­lion.

World Se­ries of Poker spokesman Seth Palan­sky said the pay­out rep­re­sented the tour­na­ment’s stan­dard for­mula used for most events since 2009.

“Never did we think a win­ner get­ting 1,130 times his in­vest­ment five days later would be con­strued as a neg­a­tive,” Palan­sky said of Colos­sus.

Jimmy Fon­dren of North Las Ve­gas was one of the cash win­ners. He carved out a spot near the top of the heap at 1,345, win­ning US$2,315.

As he saw it, ev­ery green poker chip stacked on the fi­nal felt ta­ble — and there were many — sym­bol­ized 20 com­peti­tors who tried to get there and lost.

Af­ter six days, nine play­ers were left when the no-limit Texas Hold ’em play­ing re­sumed Wed­nes­day un­der­neath stu­dio lights and with fans watch­ing in sta­dium-style seat­ing in­side a con­ven­tion hall at the Rio All-Suite Ho­tel and Casino. Three play­ers were elim­i­nated in the first two hours.

Aditya “Adi” Prase­tyo of Cam­bridge, Mas­sachusetts, was the fourth af­ter go­ing allin. The day be­fore he care­fully ar­ranged a fortress of chips in front of him, more chips than any­one else. Ul­ti­mately his ace and nine of clubs were out­done by a pair of kings with no help from the five cards on the ta­ble. The 32- year- old for­mer com­pet­i­tive chess player fre­quents the poker tour­na­ment cir­cuit and cash games but said he had never com­peted in an event as large as Colos­sus.

“This is pretty much a big marathon,” he said of the six-day en­durance test to out­last and out­bet ev­ery­one else.

With the ex­cep­tion of one com­peti­tor from Bel­gium, the fi­nal nine were from the United States. All the men have had at least a taste of the World Se­ries of Poker or its cir­cuit tour­na­ments be­fore Wed­nes­day.

Paul Lentz of San Fran­cisco placed fourth. The man who reg­u­larly plays cash games, not tour­na­ments, was one card away from a club-suited flush, but Garcia had a pair of un­beat­able aces.

“I never thought I’d ex­pe­ri­ence some­thing like this,” Lentz said af­ter­ward of the Colos­sus event.


Res­i­dents watch city em­ploy­ees work­ing af­ter their street was de­stroyed by heavy rain in the Can­de­laria neigh­bor­hood of Managua, Nicaragua, Wed­nes­day, June 3. Rain hit the area Tues­day night and con­tin­ued early Wed­nes­day morn­ing.


Lance Garcia gets a kiss from his mother, Kristen Scott, while pos­ing for pho­tog­ra­phers af­ter he won the World Se­ries of Poker Colos­sus event in Las Ve­gas on Wed­nes­day, June 3.

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