LAS VEGAS (7 June 2017) – Thomas Pomponio, of Manahawkin, New Jersey, has emerged as the winner of the 2017 World Series of Poker Colossus III $565 No-Limit Hold'em event.

Pomponio pocketed $1,000,000 in winning the massive Colossus III tourney, claiming his first WSOP bracelet after defeating Taylor Black during heads-up play. The million-dollar payday is by far the largest cash of Pomponio's career.

Black, of Santa Cruz, Cal., also logged a career-best payday of $545,430 in this event.

Pomponio's victory came after a four-day battle through a gigantic 18,054-entry field, the third largest in WSOP history. Six different Day 1 flights began action in the Colossus III field beginning on Friday, with survivors from those flights combined for Days 2, 3 and 4 of the tourney.

Black began the heads-up duel with nearly a 2:1 edge, but that changed just a few hands in when his A-10 failed to reel in Pomponio's A-K in an all-in preflop collision.

Pomponio quickly closed out the win from there, sealing his first-ever bracelet victory when his    held up against Black's   , with the       board running out dry. Pomponio, known as @pompyouup on Twitter, was waiting his his friends at the rail as the river seven, hit, triggering a raucous celebration.

Pomponio, an avid Atlanta Braves fan who makes a hobby of visiting MLB stadiums, at least when he's not playing online in New Jersey, at sites including WSOP.com NJ. That online experience served him well here, though nothing can compare a player for this deepest of deep-field tourneys.

"That's a lot of people, you know," said Pomponio, referring to the Colossus III's massive 18,054 entries. "Every time I come into a tournament, I think I'm going to win it. I've played poker for ten years, I know that's not realistic, I know that's not going to happen, but I try to play my best. 

Pomponio noted that he'd had the chance to play against his final opponent, Black, for short stretches on both Days 2 and 3, noting that he'd been impressed with Black's solid play. Here on Day 4, two major double-throughs (including the A-K over A-10 hand above) carried Pomponio to the come-from-behind win.. 

It's a lot of money -- I don't even know what I want to do yet," said Pomponio, about that million-dollar winner's prize, the first such payday of this year's WSOP. "I'll pay some bills, help out my parents... ." Pomponio was already making plans to return to New Jersey for his regularly scheduled work, though he hasn't quite ruled out a return to Las Vegas for the Main Event.

FACTS AND FIGURES:

This year's Colossus III event, with its 18,054 entries spread over six separate Day 1 flights, ranks as the third-largest tournament in WSOP history. A total of 9,074 players participated, with 5,123 of those trying just a single $565 entry. 3,951 players filed multiple bullets, with one player entering 12 separate times. Colossus III winner Pomponio entered four times himself. 

Colossus III's total prize pool topped the $9 million mark at $9,027,000. 2,711 entries cashed; due to the multiple-flight format, many players cashed more than once. Two entrants were just 21 years and eight days old when first playing in this year's Colossus, Alexander Smith and David Somers. 93-year-old Norman Spivock was the oldest entrant for a second straight year.

The annual Colossus tourney continues to draw participants from around the globe. This year, players from 76 different countries participated, with the United States (15,430 entries), Canada (620 entries), and the United Kingdom (408 entries). Other countries whose players combined for more than 100 entries included Australia, France, Germany, Brazil, and Spain.

Click here for Full Results.
Click here for live updates from Event #5.

Final Table Payouts (earned POY points in parentheses):
1st: Thomas Pomponio, $1,000,000 (347.6)
2nd: Taylor Black, $545,430 (284.0)
3rd: John Hanna, $406,474 (257.5)
4th: Mark Babekov, $305,294 (234.0)
5th: Kent Coppock, $230,564 (213.1)
6th: Erkut Yilmaz, $175,208 (194.5)
7th: Ralph Massey, $133,975 (177.9)
8th: Matt Affleck, $103,090 (163.0)
9th: Luke Vrabel, $79,827 (149.7)