New Jersey butcher claims WSOP ‘Colossus’ event, $1M prize

Thomas Pomponio carved up the final table of the World Series of Poker’s $565 buy-in “Colossus” No-limit Hold’em tournament.

Of course he did. Pomponio is a butcher back home in Manahawkin, New Jersey.

Pomponio won the first large-field tournament of this summer’s WSOP on Wednesday, defeating Tyler Black heads-up at the Rio Convention Center to claim the “Colossus” tournament’s $1 million first prize.

Pomponio outlasted a field of 18,054 entrants for his first career bracelet.

“Pretty surreal. I’m just waiting to wake up from the dream, but I don’t think I’m going to. So, it’s pretty good,” Pomponio said. “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.”

Pomponio finished Day 2 of the tournament on Monday in sixth place with 41 players remaining and said that’s when he started to realize he had a chance. He entered the final table fifth in chips.

“I really never had a small stack where I had to grind it out really until the start of this day with only about 20 (big blinds),” Pomponio said. “And then ever since there, I ran well at the start and then it just took off.”

Pomponio won two key pots early on at the final table and went on to eliminate Kent Coppock (fifth place) and John Hanna (third place).

Pomponio scored a massive double-up on the fourth hand of heads-up play against Black and then grinded down his opponent over the next 25 hands

Black pocketed $545,480 for his second-place finish.

Pomponio said he plays online poker once or twice a week and had $13,628 in lifetime WSOP earnings prior to his victory. He added that he is scheduled to return to work Saturday.

“Now, I’m a guy of principle, doing the right thing,” Pomponio said. “I don’t really like to screw over my co-workers, so I might ask my boss if I could just have off Saturday to give me some more time to get home and relax and whatnot. But I’ll have to see where I’m at with everything.”

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

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