Poker news | Jan 18, 2022
Chance Kornuth Wins Back-to-Back Stairway to Millions Titles
By RTR Alex
Chance Kornuth, three-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner, has won back-to-back titles in the 2022 Stairway to Millions series.
Chance Kornuth is dominating in the first-ever Stairway to Millions tournament - the inaugural series began on January 12th and with only 3 events played so far, Kornuth already has two titles to his name. Plus, he has landed in the money in every event so far, accumulating $136,040 in prize money.
The Stairway to Millions is an eight-event series where buy-ins for the hold’em tournaments get progressively larger - starting with the first $1,000 event and concluding with a $100,000 buy-in event, offering $1.2 million in guaranteed prize money. Players who land in the money in an event are awarded entry into the next tournament, as well as their allocated cash prize. So, if Kornuth can keep up his form, he could earn entry to all following events with each new win.
His first win came in the second event - the $2,000 buy-in tournament with the top prize of $51,600. A day later, Kornuth emerged victorious in the $4,000 buy-in event with $80,640 in prize money, sending him straight to poker news headlines.
In a post-game interview with PokerGo, Kornuth said “It feels great... I ran even better in this one than I did in the last one. It was pretty incredible. I max late-registered and immediately had chips to play with, and it was smooth sailing the entire way.”
On top of the cash and the titles, Kornuth also earned 288 Card Player of the Year points. This brings his total to 552 points, which briefly put him in first place in the Player of the Year rankings. He currently sits in 4th position in the POY table and with an entire year of poker ahead, Kornuth will be looking to capitalise on his hot-streak in the upcoming events.
Kornuth had a few words to say going forward - “Historically, I have an issue with it, the winner’s tilt, if you will, where I’ll play really bad in the next thing... Taking a few minutes to get your mind right and making sure you’re not trying to win too many pots is imperative to doing well in the next one.”
When Kornuth said it was only "a few minutes to get [his] mind right" he isn't exaggerating - Kornuth went straight from taking photos as Event #2 champion, to taking his seat in Event #3 with almost no break between. He clearly didn't need the respite - by the day's end, with six players remaining, he had already secured a hefty chip lead.
Final Table Action
Heading into day 2, he took control straight away by eliminating short stack competitor Jesse Lonis (6th place - $20,160). Kornuth took his next victim, knocking out Daniel Weinand in fifth paces with pocket aces. This hand gave Kornuth roughly half of the total chip count, heading into a four-handed showdown.
Soon after, WSOP Bracelet winner Mitchell Halverson was sent home when he bet his last 6.5 big blinds on the river with only third pair. Kornuth turned over top pair and cut Halverson's tournament short, putting him out in fourth place with a $30,240 prize.
With just three players left, Nathan Zimnik hit top pair with 10♥6♠ in a battle of the blinds with Kornuth. After a 325,000 check raise for Kornuth, Zimnik moved all in with 1.2 million. Kornuth called and showed bottom two pair with 5♠2♠ in his pocket. The final two cards proved no help to Zimnik who left in third place with $40,320.
The final hand saw Kornuth with a 2:1 chip lead in a heads-up play with fellow bracelet winner Joseph Cheong, who had finished third in event #1 just a few days prior. Cheong held J♠4♥ from the button and Kornuth, with 9♣3♥, checked the first round of betting.
The flop came 9♥4♣2♠ and Kornuth checked again. Cheong landed middle pair and bet 100,000 , but Kornuth had top pair and an easy call. Kornuth check the 8♠ turn but Cheong bet 400,000. The 9♦ river, led Cheong to move 1.4 million all-in - Kornuth smoothly called, securing the title and $80,640 along with it.
Here's a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table:
|Place||Player||Earnings (USD)||POY Points|
Check out the full final table stream here: