Paul Zappulla has topped the pro-dominated field in Event #10: $15,800 No-Limit Hold'em at the 2022 Stairway To Millions to win $124,500 in prize money and the PGT trophy.
Zappulla notches his previous biggest career score of $111,501 at the 2022 WSOP in Event #7: $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo, where he finished in third place. With this victory at the Stairway To Millions, Zappulla's lifetime tournament earnings now exceed $285,000.
After a slow start to Event #10 that saw just one table in play, a flurry of players late registered to take the field to 18 entrants with a $300,000 prize pool that paid the top three finishers. After the likes of Adam Hendrix, Sam Simmons, and Jeremy Ausmus were eliminated, the final nine of nine was set with Zappulla holding the chip lead. Justin Saliba exited first when he was flushed by Chance Kornuth while Ethan Yau fell when his pair and flush draw didn't improve against Zappula's top pair. Four-time Stairway To Millions winner Michael Wang then exited in seventh when his pocket nines were outdrawn by Sean Winter's ace-ten that made a flush.
The final six players went on dinner break with Zappulla holding a commanding lead, and when play resumed, both Kornuth and Adrian Mateos found doubles. Winter lost a race with ace-ten to bow out in sixth, before Kornuth's ace-jack couldn't improve against Song's ace-king. With four-handed play on the money bubble, Sam Soverel would be all-in with king-queen against Zappulla's jacks. Zappulla flopped a set and improved to a full house to eliminate Soverel as the final three were now in the money.
Each player was guaranteed $80,400, but all eyes were on the $124,500 first-place prize. Each player took their turn at holding onto the chip lead, but it would be Mateos exiting in third place. After doubling Song, Mateos would be all-in and flop two pair. Song went runner-runner, and the Spaniard was eliminated in third place. Song entered heads-up play with more than a four-to-one chip lead, but Zappulla scored two quick doubles and then picked off a bluff from Song on the river. Song clawed back to even, but after things went back into Zappulla's favor, the final hand would play out that saw Zappulla river a straight to eliminate Song and be crowned the Event #10 champion.
|1st||Paul Zappulla||United States||$124,500|
|2nd||Stephen Song||United States||$95,100|
The Stairway To Millions originally had 12 events on the schedule, but due to decisions made by The Venetian Resort Poker Room, the final two events were canceled.
With the Stairway To Millions wrapping up, the PokerGO Tour (PGT) will head down the Las Vegas Strip to the PokerGO Studio at ARIA Resort & Casino for the annual Poker Masters. The 2022 Poker Masters will feature 12 events with buy-ins starting at $10,000 and culminating in the $50,000 finale. The player that earns the most PGT points will win the Poker Masters Purple Jacket and the $50,000 championship bonus.