Nick Pupillo Claims Second Ring from 2017/2018 WSOP Circuit Thunder Valley Main Event

Nick Pupillo, an Illinois native, won last night the WSOP Circuit Thunder Valley Main Event for his career second gold ring and a payout $170,286. Pupillo is coming fresh from a second-place finish in the WPT Borgata Open $600 DeepStack Kick-Off, in which he scooped his largest-ever cash of $217,535.

The $1,650 Main Event hosted by Thunder Valley Casino in Lincoln, California took place from September 22-25. The tournament attracted 528 competitors and generated a prize pool of $792,000. The top 54 finishers were treated to a portion of the prize money.

The final day of action saw nine players return to play the final table and reduce it to just a single winner. Pupillo was mid-stacked at the time cards were thrown in the air and kept quiet for the greater part of the day.

Pupillo’s Performance in the Thunder Valley Main Event

The eventual champion did not put much pressure to his table mates during the first stages of final table play. Dann Turner, the player who kicked off the day holding the chip leader, was actually the one to dominate action at first. He managed to extend his chip lead and to retain it throughout the final table.

During three-handed play, Pupillo faced elimination on several occasions after losing big pots to Turner. However, the player never lost his focus on what was going on on the table and kept his composure until the very end. Pupillo eventually eliminated Casey McCarrel in third place to boost significantly his chip stack and to enter heads-up against Turner with almost the same amount of chips as his final opponent.

Two-handed match began with Turner putting massive pressure on table mate and widening the gap between them. Pupillo’s stack was reduced to just 1.6 million to Turner’s 9 million at one point. However, Pupillo quickly regained strength and became his actual march to victory. The player explored weaknesses in his opponent’s defense and exploited them to boost his stack.

Chips were going his way and he was coming closer to Turner, until he finally five-bet shoved to win a massive pot and take over from his opponent. Pupillo never looked back from that point on.

The final hand for the day and the tournament occurred at around 6:30 pm local time. It forced Turner into an all-in confrontation. The player held [Ax][5x] against his opponent’s [Ad][6d]. The board ran out [Jd][5s][2h][8s][6s] to secure Pupillo with the better pair. Turner eventually claimed $105,281 for his runner-up finish.

As mentioned above, Pupillo had one more WSOP Circuit gold ring. The 25-year-old player won his first gold piece back in 2015. Pupillo was previously more active on the cash game scene. However, he said last night that he would focus more of his attention on tournament poker as he was more profitable in that field.

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