Nick Petrangelo was down to just 9,000 chips after losing an all-in against Alex Foxen shortly after registration closed in the 2022 Stairway To Millions $50,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em high roller event. With blinds of 4,000-8,000 and a big blind ante of 8,000, the two-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner barely had more than a big blind in his stack. Petrangelo managed to mount an incredible comeback from that point, emerging victorious from the field of 21 total entries with the title and the first-place prize of $567,000.
This was Petrangelo’s third final-table finish so far at the Stairway To Millions, including a runner-up finish in the $25,000 buy-in high roller for $175,000 just a day before this win. All told, he has cashed for $777,840 during the series, increasing his career earnings total to nearly $22.5 million in the process.
In addition to the title and the money, Petrangelo was also awarded a bevy of rankings points as the champion of this event. He secured 306 Card Player Player of the Year points, bringing his total to 616 on the year. As a result, he surged up the rankings and into ninth place in the 2022 POY race. The 340 PokerGO Tour points he earned for the win were enough to see him surpass Michael Wang for the top spot on that leaderboard. Only two of his three final-table finishes qualified for the PGT points race, which awards points in events with buy-ins of $10,000 or higher. Petrangelo’s first cash of the series was a fifth-place showing in the $8,000 buy-in event, which earned him $35,840.
Petrangelo and the two other players to make the money in this event are all now automatically entered into the grand finale of the Stairway To Millions series, the $1.2 million guaranteed $100,000 buy-in event.
The second and final day of this event began with just three players remaining, with 2021 POY and PokerGO Tour points race winner Ali Imsirovic in the lead and Petrangelo in second place. Chris Brewer entered the day as the clear short stack after Anuj Agarwal had been eliminated on the money bubble the previous day.
Brewer got his last ten or so big blinds into the middle just a few minutes into the final table, limp-calling all-in from the small blind with J-10. He was racing against the pocket fives of Petrangelo. Petrangelo improved to a full house on the turn to leave Brewer drawing dead. He earned $168,000 for his third POY-qualified final-table finish of the year. He now sits in 11th place in the 2022 POY rankings. Brewer broke out on the high-stakes tournament scene last year, finishing ninth in the year-end POY standings after making 22 final tables and cashing for nearly $2.8 million.
Heads-up play began with Imsirovic holding roughly a 4:3 chip advantage over Petrangelo. The two went on to battle for roughly 45 minutes. Petrangelo nearly evened out the stacks early on, only to have Imsirovic pull away again. Petrangelo closed the gap considerably with a shove on the turn over the top of a sizable Imsirovic bet. He held second pair, which was the best hand, but Imsirovic folded his king-high to send the key pot and the chip lead over to Petrangelo.
In the final hand, Petrangelo picked up AA and raised to 100,000 from the button. Imsirovic three-bet al-in for around 30 big blinds with A9 and Petrangelo snap-called. Imsirovic picked up some chop outs when the flop and turn came down 10523, but the K on the river locked up the whole pot, and the title, for Petrangelo.
Imsirovic earned $315,000 as the runner-up finisher. This was his second final-table finish of the year, having won a $25,000 buy-in high roller at The Venetian earlier this month for $270,000. With 507 POY points and $585,000 in year-to-date earnings already, Imsirovic now sits in 18th place on the POY leaderboard as his campaign to become the first player to ever win the POY award in back-to-back years begins.
Here is a look at the payouts and rankings points awarded in this event:
Photo credits: PokerGO / Antonio Abrego.