Thomas Pomponio, a butcher from Stafford, New Jersey, won the World Series of Poker Colossus III $565-buy-in event in Las Vegas earlier this month. He beat out more than 18,000 others for the $1 million first-place prize.
When Pomponio spoke with the Las Vegas Review-Journal after the tournament, he was still in a victor’s daze.
“I’m just waiting to wake up from the dream, but I don’t think I’m going to, so it’s pretty good,” he told the paper. “I come to every tournament thinking I can win. I know as a poker player it’s not a reality, but I play the best I can, make all the right moves and try to give myself the best chance.”
Californian Taylor Black finished second, while Texan John Hanna finished third.
Pomponio’s road to the final table of the WSOP Colossus III
WSOP’s official article about the tournament noted Pomponio entered the final table with the fifth-most chips.
The butcher knocked out two players on the way to his heads-up battle with Black. At that point, he had half as many chips as Black.
However, he was able to turn the tables pretty quickly on the fourth hand of heads-up, dealing a decisive blow to Black’s A-10 with A-K. From there, several accounts say Pomponio was able to wear Black down until he won the tourney with an ace-high hand against Black’s J-6.
Pomponio told WSOP he planned on heading home to New Jersey for his regular shift and that he’d put some of his earnings toward some bills and give some of it to his parents.
Pomponio’s WSOP background
While the butcher’s $1 million purse was certainly his biggest, it wasn’t his first.
Pomponio’s WSOP profile reveals he’s won cash prizes at four WSOP events and two circuit events. His winnings before Colossus III totaled $13,628.
The butcher says he is a regular on New Jersey gambling websites.[i15-table tableid=4306]