Michael Rocco has emerged victorious in Event #9: $10,400 No-Limit Hold'em of the 2022 Stairway To Millions from The Venetian Resort Las Vegas to win $61,750 in prize money and a $26,000 seat into Event #11. According to The Hendon Mob, Rocco now sits just under $3.1 million in lifetime tournament earnings and claimed his 11th victory with the win.
Event #9 saw the stakes rise once again, and the first five-figure buy-in tournament of the series saw 18 entrants battle it out on the felt for a piece of the $200,000 prize pool. The top three finishers made it into the money and earned a seat into Event #11: $26,000 No-Limit Hold'em along with prize money.
Dave Lin, Kao Saechao, Sam Soverel, John Andress, Michael Rossitto, and Noah Fischer were some of the eliminations earlier in the day. Event #7 winner Chance Kornuth was denied an opportunity for another title when he failed to improve against a dominating hand, and Sean Winter was gone soon after when he ran into Francis Anderson's queens. Adrian Mateos was the next casualty when his fours found no improvement against Adam Hendrix's tens, and the five remaining players went on dinner break with the bubble near.
Immediately following the dinner break, Jeremy Ausmus lost the rest of his chips when he called Rocco's river bet. Ausmus held pocket kings but fell to Rocco's pair of aces. That left four players on the bubble, and Rocco used his chip lead to apply pressure for nearly an hour as the other stacks dwindled. Eventually, Francis Anderson was eliminated on the money bubble when he called for the rest of his chips in the big blind with queen-jack against Hendrix's small blind shove with four-three. Hendrix improved to the best hand and Anderson was stopped short of climbing another step.
The trio of players then decided to play to a winner instead of returning the following day. Rocco held the majority of chips thanks to his bubble play, and although Cary Katz found a short-stacked double, he was eliminated shortly after when he got the rest of his chips in holding two pair on the flop against Rocco's pocket kings. Katz was counterfeited on the turn and failed to improve on the river, sending him to the rail in third place. Katz did secure his 14th PGT cash of 2022, however, and now sits with 1,053 points and is 36th overall.
When heads-up play began, Rocco held a chip advantage of more than double Hendrix's stack, and although the two battled for more than an hour, Rocco wouldn't concede many chips. Hendrix secured his second final table cash of the day after finishing fourth in Event #8 earlier in the day, but he would have some work to do to claim the title. Rocco made a tough river call and extended his lead before he had an opportunity to grab the victory, but Hendrix secured a short-stacked double after getting his chips in with the best hand.
The duo engaged in a limp-heavy strategy and many small pots were played with Hendrix as a short stack for the majority of the time. Eventually, Hendrix got his remaining stack of about six big blinds in with jack-deuce against the king-queen of Rocco. Hendrix was left drawing dead on the turn and was eliminated in second place, while Rocco was crowned the Event #9 champion.
|1st||Michael Rocco||United States||$61,750|
|2nd||Adam Hendrix||United States||$37,050|
|3rd||Cary Katz||United States||$24,700|
|Date||Event||Type||Buy-In||Fee (On-time)||Fee (Late/Reentry)||Starting Stack||Prize Pool Guarantee|
|9/17/22||Stairway To Millions #10||NLH||$15,000||$400||$800||125,000||$300,000|
|9/18/22||Stairway To Millions #11||NLH||$25,000||$500||$1,000||150,000||$500,000|
|9/19/22||Stairway To Millions #12||NLH||$50,000||$1,000||$2,000||200,000||$600,000|
Event #10 of the Stairway To Millions begins at noon on Saturday, September 17 at The Venetian Poker Room with the $15,800 buy-in featuring 40-minute levels and a $300,000 prize pool guarantee. The stakes will be raised to $26,000 on Sunday, while the $52,000 finale will take center stage on Monday. Follow along with all the live updates from the entire Stairway To Millions which will be provided by the PGT.com Live Reporting Team.