Anthony Gregg has had numerous close calls on the live tournament circuit. Throughout his career, Gregg has placed second in the 2009 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event, eighth in the 2011 Venetian Deep Stack Extravaganza III Main Event, sixth in the 2012 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event, third in the 2012 PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino EPT Grand Final 6-Max Turbo High Roller and fourth in World Series of Poker Event 28: $2,500 No-Limit Hold'em — Four Handed. But, he's never had a standout win like the one he just received by taking down the World Poker Tour Parx Open Poker Classic on Wednesday.
“It feels amazing,” said Gregg in his winner interview. “I've played so many live tournaments and I've come close a bunch of times, and just come up short. I've always wanted that feeling of actually winning because it just feels so much better than getting second, or any other place. The money's always nice, but the title is good, too, and just knowing that you beat everyone.”
For someone who has had numerous large scores from so many near victories, the title may be more important than the money, but the $416,127 first-place prize Gregg received is nothing to sneeze at.
Entering the day, Gregg was second in chips to Stephen Reynolds. Andre Nyffeler began the day as the second shortest stack at the official WPT final table, but he was the first out the door.
On the 43rd hand of the final table, the blinds stood at 20,000/40,000/5,000. According to the WPT Live Reporting Blog, Nyffeler moved all in from the cutoff seat for roughly 550,000. With the in his hand, Larry Sharp made the call from the big blind. Nyffeler held the and it was off to the races.
Nyffeler fell behind on the flop and stayed there as the board was completed with the on the turn and on the river. For his sixth-place finish, Nyffeler earned $61,619.
It wasn't until the 101st hand of the final table that the next elimination occurred with Chris Vandeursen falling in fifth place. He went out at the hands of Chris Lee after all of the money went in preflop. Vandeursen held and had moved in for about 900,000 from the button. Lee mad the call from the big blind with . The flop, turn and river ran out and Vandeursen headed to the payout desk to collect his $76,824 prize.
Only 10 hands later, Sharp's tournament life was severed when he lost a heartbreaker to Reynolds. With the blinds at 30,000/60,000/10,000, Reynolds raised to 125,000 from under the gun. Gregg called out of the small blind and Sharp moved all in from the big blind for a little over 1.5 million. Reynolds reraised all in, which knocked Gregg out of the way.
Reynolds held the and Sharp the . On the flop, Sharp picked up two pair while Reynolds added a gutshot straight draw and a backdoor flush draw. The turn was the and the river the . With the two running hearts on fourth and fifth street, Reynolds backed into a flush and eliminated Sharp in fourth place for $108,034.
By claiming Sharp's bounty and chips, Reynolds moved to 7.115 million. Gregg stood in second place with 5.14 million, and Lee stood in third with 2.615 million. Lee would then fall just under 20 hands later.
On the 129th hand of the final table, with the blinds up to 40,000/80,000/10,000, Reynolds raised to 160,000 on the button and Lee reraised to 370,000 from the small blind. Reynolds moved all in and Lee made the call with the . Unfortunately for him, Reynolds had him pipped with the . The board ran out and Lee was drawing dead by the turn. He was eliminated in third place and took home $158,450.
The heads-up battle between Reynolds and Gregg began with Reynolds in front 9.55 million in chips to 5.32 million. Although Gregg had the chip deficit going in, he had the Olympic prowess of Michael Phelps in his corner. Phelps tweeted good luck to Gregg during the final table.
For the first part of the match, Reynolds maintained his lead while Gregg struggled to gain ground. On the 172nd hand of the final table, Gregg was able to win a pot with a pair of sixes and pull within 650,000 of Reynolds. But then on the very next hand, Reynolds took a pot worth 5.46 million in chips to widen the gap once again as he climbed over 10 million while knocking Gregg below five million. Still, Gregg wasn't giving up.
Gregg began to slowly claw his way back into things, but just as he was about to get over six million, Reynolds whacked him right back down by snatching up around half of Gregg's stack. That was on the 191st hand of the final table, but the 202nd hand was the big one that saw the momentum swing.
With the blinds at 75,000/150,000/25,000, Gregg limped on the button and Reynolds moved all in. Gregg called quickly with . Reynolds held the . The board ran through and Gregg's nines held up to give him the double back to over six million. A few hands later, Gregg took the chip lead, but Reynolds snatched it right back on the very next hand.
After trip queens on the 212th hand of play and a three-bet shove on the 217th hand of play from Gregg, he was over 10 million and really applying pressure to Reynolds. Eventually, Reynolds dropped below four million in chips before the final hand came up.
It was the 228th hand of the final table with the blinds in Level 34 at 125,000/250,000/25,000. Gregg limped in on the button and Reynolds moved all in for 3.4 million. Gregg called with . Reynolds held . Gregg took the lead on the flop and kept it after the fell on the turn. The landed on the river and failed to give Reynolds what he needed, eliminating him in second place for $244,877.
Final Table Payouts
For his victory, Gregg earned the lion's share of the prize pool worth $416,127 and the first major title of his career. His win also includes a $25,500 entry to the season-ending WPT World Championship.
The next stop on Season XI of the WPT will be the Legends of Poker at The Bicycle Casino. The Main Event kicks off Friday, Aug. 24 and PokerNews will be providing daily recaps of the action from Los Angeles. Last year, the event attracted 757 entrants and was won by Will “The Thrill” Failla for $758,085.
*Hands and Data courtesy of the WPT Live Reporting Blog.