Student skips class to take down WinStar River Poker Series $2,500 Main Event

Playing hooky earned 20 years old Will Pengelly $250,000!

"I think of tournaments kind of like the lottery. Many people enter and one player wins a lot of money. Today, that happened to be me."

Will started playing cash games at WinStar, after turning 18 and has been a grinder of those games since than. Despite his low opinion on tournaments, he decided to play the $2,500 Main Event at the WinStar River Poker Series and it turned out to be a great decision. He even had to skip class at University of North Texas, but the $249,310 prize he took home after a five-way deal seems like a fair compensation.

Will started the day pretty bad, losing two major pots with Queen-ten suited, both times failing to hit his combodraws. However, the third time he got there on the river to double up against start-of-day chipleader, Johnny Deas to rebuild his stack. Pengelly managed to bust the former chipleader shortly after. Deas shoved on a jack-high flop with pocket fives, only to get snapcalled by the top set of Will's. Deas made $46,060 for finishing 8th.

Nebraska's Jeff Banghart then knocked out both Alan Cummins (7th; $58,580) and Matthew Bray (6th; $75,440) so the field got down to the final five. At this point the players decided to look at the numbers for a possible deal.

After seeing ICM numbers they came to an agreement, which earned Pengelly the title and the $249,310 top prize, while Ekrem Bozkurt got $215,170, Banghart $206,570, Ricky Green $204,710 and Dean Baranowski $144,000.

Final results

Place Player Country Prize
1st Will Pengelly United States $249,310*
2nd Ekrem Bozkurt United States $215,170*
3rd Jeff Banghart United States $206,570*
4th Ricky Green United States $205,710*
5th Dean Baranowski United States $144,000*
6th Matthew Bray United States $75,440
7th Alan Cummins United States $58,580
8th Johnny Deas United States $46,060
9th Brian Green United States $36,640

*Denotes a five-way deal.

This is the Will's first recorded tournament score, but the sweet success might make him change his mind regarding tournaments. When asked about his future plans, he said: "I really want to buy a nice car but it will most likely be going into the bank. Yeah, I will certainly be going there [to the WSOP] to check things out."