Denver amateur earns second gold ring in 2015’s largest Circuit finale.
Hammond, Ind. (October 27, 2015) — The largest Circuit Main Event of 2015 concluded early Tuesday morning at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Ind. The $1,675 finale boasted a field of 1,376 entries besting last year’s mark and generating a prize pool of $2,064,000. Following four days and more than 48 hours of play, Denver’s Krzysztof Stybaniewicz laid claim to the tournament’s title. Stybaniewicz, a semi-pro, earned $356,043 in addition to his second Circuit gold ring and a berth in the season-ending WSOP Global Casino Championship.
“This means everything to me,” Stybaniewicz said. “I have a lot of friends that have had a lot of success. These guys are constantly making final tables and I’m kind of on the sidelines. It was nice to have the roles be reversed for once […] Everything went right and all the spots worked out. I kept the gas pedal to the floor and brought it home.”
Stybaniewicz, 26, graduated college in 2011 with a degree in finance and immediately took to poker. He played for about three years fulltime and experienced modest success. Then, about a year ago, he hit a wall. The game wasn’t fulfilling like it had been and he decided to take some time away from the felt. He took nine months to clear his, then got back into it. In the days and weeks since then, he’s logged five WSOP-related cashes including four this summer.
Stybaniewicz’s most recent standout performance came at the hands of a difficult field. Day 3 alone included the likes of this year’s WSOP Main Event 29th-place finisher Kelly Minkin, bracelet winner Aaron Steury, this season’s Palm Beach Kennel Club Main Event champion Peter Vitantonio and Chicago pro Kevin Saul. The third and final day of play began with 25 players. Less than five hours later, Minkin ran her into the of Stybaniewicz. She busted 10th earning $28,483 and gave Stybaniewicz the chip lead heading into the nine-handed finale.
Next to go in ninth was Vitantonio when Robert Kuhn spiked a three-outer against his . From there Hao Sun finished eighth. Saul, who along with Minkin was one of the most active players during the middle stages of Day 3, didn’t get anything going at the final table. He was caught bluffing early and eventually met his demise seventh courtesy of Kuhn. Kuhn followed him to the rail next finishing sixth.
Five-handed play then lasted the better part of two hours before Stybaniewicz claimed another victim in Ben Beever. Next to go was Chicago tactical police office Mike Younan. He got his last 2,750,000 in in a race against Stybaniewicz and couldn’t catch up. For Younan, the deep run marked his second final table of the series and earned him $123,035. Stybaniewicz kept up his steamrolling ways busting Lytle Allen third and leaving himself holding a two-to-one chip lead against decorated pro Joe Kuether.
After about an hour of heads-up play, Kuether opened the button and Stybaniewicz defended his big blind. Both players checked the flop, and Stybaniewicz followed suit on the turn. Kuether bet 800,000 and Stybaniewicz jammed. After some time in the tank, Kuether called and flipped over . He was behind the of Stybaniewicz as they headed to the river. The improved neither player and Kuether busted second earning $220,848.
“To beat Joe heads up is even more special because of the run he’s been on in the last year and a half,” Stybaniewicz said of his heads-up competitor. “He’s obviously one of the best live tournament players in the world.”
Others to finish in the money but short of the final table include Steury (12th), Tom Koral (16th), Kenny Nguyen (25th), Daniel Weinman (44th), Harrison Gimbel (48th), Mo Nuwwarah (59th) Doug Carli (65th), Nicholas Pupillo (85th), Aaron Massey (118th) and Blake Bohn (119th).
“I was pleasantly surprised with the competition,” Stybaniewicz said. “People were not going to sit down and let themselves get pushed around. They were all extremely aggressive and very good players. It was an extremely tough grind.”
For Stybaniewicz, the victory marked his 25th WSOP-related cash and pushed him past the $450,000 mark in career earnings. He’s part of a traveling group of tournament pros that includes Ben Keeline and Alexander Greenblatt. Together, they call themselves the BPIGs. Stybaniewicz credits their friendship and mentoring for some of his success.
With the conclusion of the Main Event comes the end of the Hammond series. Gold ring events began Thursday, October 15. Including the Main Event, three players from the 12-day festival earned six-figure prizes – the re-entry winner, the High Roller winner and Stybaniewicz.
The Main Event was the ninth of 12 gold ring events on the WSOP Circuit schedule at the Horseshoe. The $1,675 no-limit hold’em tournament attracted 1,376 entries. The total prize pool came to $2,064,000 and the top 153 finishers were paid.
Final table results:
1st: Krzysztof Stybaniewicz - $356,043 + Circuit gold ring
2nd: Joe Kuether - $220,848
3rd: Lytle Allen - $161,838
4th: Michael Younan - $123,035
5th: Ben Beever - $93,664
6th: Robert Kuhn - $72,137
7th: Kevin Saul - $56,203
8th: Hao Sun - $44,293
9th: Peter Vitantonio - $35,315