Hugo Pingray Wins $1,500 Monster Stack No Limit Hold’em


Hugo Pingray wins the $1,500 Monster Stack and takes home over $1.3 million in just his second WSOP event (Drew Amato)

Five days ago, at the end of Day 1, Hugo Pingray bagged a below average stack of 38,000 and his roommate ended the day as one of the chip leaders.

On Monday night, however, the roles were reversed and Pingray was sitting with all the chips and his roommate was sitting in the stands rooting him on from afar as the 22-year-old student from Switzerland was winning over $1.3 million and his first bracelet in the $1,500 Monster Stack No Limit Hold’em at the 21014 World Series of Poker.

“He was making fun of me because he was saying ‘You don’t have a stack. This tournament is for me.’ And now he is on the rail,” said Pingray.

After five days of No Limit Hold’em, Pingray won the inaugural Monster Stack event by topping a massive field of 7,862 players and took home $1,327,083. The event gave players a starting stack of 15,000 in chips with one hour levels, as opposed to the 4,500 starting stack that are customary for $1,500 buy-ins. It was just the second event that Pingray played at the WSOP and it was during his first trip to Vegas.

“I don’t realize what happened yet,” said Pingray. “I’m happy. I’m exhausted. I don’t know what’s happening to me. It’s a great feeling though.”

Pingray studied Hospitality Management at school in Switzerland, while honing his poker skills online over the last three years. He got his degree, but planned on giving himself some time to try out poker as a career. This seven figure score gives him a good start to his professional poker trial.

“I planned on giving myself a year to play poker and see how it goes. Actually, this is a good help if I may say. I’m probably going to play the live circuit for a year or so and enjoy now that I have the chance to win this money,” said Pingray.

Pingray may be a young college student, but he came out to Las Vegas with a plan on grinding a lot of bracelet events.

“I had planned to play every day,” he said. “The first one I played was a $5K and I planned on playing to play every event of the WSOP, including the Main Event. Since I did good in this one, I didn’t have a chance to play some of the other events, but it doesn’t matter since I won.”

The final table started with fireworks on the very first hand. With the blinds at 200,000/400,000 and a 50,000 ante, Sean Drake raised to 850,000 from under-the-gun and action folded to Joshua Hillock in the big blind, who moved all in for 8,575,000.

Drake quickly made the call and the cards were tabled. Hillock was in great shape with his KK against Drake’s AK. The flop was QT6, which gave Drake a few extra outs with a gutshot straight draw. The turn was the 4, but the river was the J, which gave Drake the nut straight and Hillock a bad beat story.

Just 10 hands later, somebody’s stack found its way back into the middle. Zachary Gruneberg raised to 900,000 and was three-bet to 2,350,000 by Pingray. Gruneberg moved all in for 8,400,000 and Pingray called. Gruneberg tabled AJ and was in trouble against Pingray’s QQ. The flop was 962 and Gruneberg was still searching for an ace. He picked up the nut flush draw on the turn as the 8 peeled off, but the 8 on the river kept Pingray’s big pair in the lead and eliminated Gruneberg in eighth place.

The button hadn’t even made a full orbit around the table before Bobby Byram was eliminated in seventh. He moved all in from the button and Claas Segebrecht called from the small blind. Byram tabled JT and was dominated by Segebrecht’s AJ. The flop was A99 and even though Segebrecht paired his ace, Byram was still drawing live with a flush draw. The turn was the 8 and Byram picked up an open-ended straight draw to go with it. The river bricked off for Byram and Segebrecht filled up as the dealer burned and turned the A on the river to send Byram to the rail.

After three eliminations in the first 15 hands, action slowed down a little bit. The blinds were increased to 300,000/600,000 with a 100,000 ante before Lynne Beaumont found herself staring elimination in the face.

Segebrecht raised to 1,200,000 from the hijack and Beaumont moved all in for 6,150,000. Pingray cold-called from the big blind and Segebrecht folded. It was a classic race situation with Beaumont showing AK and flipping with Pingray’s QQ. It wasn’t much of a race as the dealer spread a flop of Q83. Pingray flopped top set and the turn left Beaumont drawing dead as the A fell on the turn. The river was a meaningless 5 Pingray added to his stack while eliminating Beaumont.

On the last hand of that level, Thayer Rasmusssen moved all in from the small blind for just over 10 million and Drake called from the big blind. Rasmussen tabled A5 and was slightly ahead of Drake’s KJ. The flop was T98, which gave Drake an open-ended straight draw to go with his pair outs. The turn kept Rasmussen in the lead as they watched the 6 fall, but the river was the J and Drake made a pair of jacks to eliminate the well-respected online pro.Drake’s rail erupted with cheer as Rasmussen headed off to collect his $356,620 fifth place prize money.

When four-handed play began, Segebrecht was the chip-leader with  Drake close on his heels. Segebrecht held the chip lead, but as play progressed, Segebrecht found himself on the short stack. He had lost more than half of his stack over the next 40 hands and got all in preflop against Joe McKeehen.

McKeehen showed AT and was in the lead against Segebrecht’s KQ. The board ran out J9653 and McKeehen faded Segebrecht’s straight draw and overcards to eliminate Segebrecht and even the chips up among the remaining three players.

Pingray was the chip leader with just shy of 41 million, but Drake was the short stack and only a few big blinds behind with just over 37 million.

Once three-handed play started, it didn’t take long for Drake to get his chips into the middle. Drake raised from the small blind and Pingray defended from the big blind. The flop was A84 and Drake led out for 2,100,000 before Pingray raised to 6,900,000. Drake took a few moments before moving and all in and Drake snap-called. Drake tabled J2, giving him a flush draw and and needed to find a diamond against Pingray’s A4. The turn was the J, which gave Drake two more outs, but the river was the Q and that left Pingray and McKeehen heads-up for the bracelet.

Pingray started heads-up play with just shy of a two-to-one chip advantage over McKeehen, but the heads-up match lasted several hours with both players taking control of the chip lead at one point or another.

After roughly 80 hands of heads-up play, Pingray raised on the button to 4 million before McKeehen moved all in for 45.85 million and Pingray quickly called. Pingray tabled AK and was in front of McKeehen’s JT. The flop left McKeehen in very bad shape as the dealer spread a flop of A52. Pingray left McKeehen drawing to running cards to make a straight, trips, or two pair, but the 9 on the turn left McKeehen drawing dead. The river was the 9 and Pingray did a Lambeau leap into the stands to celebrate with his supporters.

Here are a look at the final table results:

  1. Hugo Pingray – $1,327,083
  2. Joe McKeehen – $820,863
  3. Sean Drake – $619,521
  4. Claas Segebrecht – $468,594
  5. Thayer Rasmussen – $356,620
  6. Lynne Beaumont – $273,090
  7. Bobby Bryam – $210,469
  8. Zachary Gruneberg – $163,238
  9. Joshua Hillock – $127,364
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