There comes a time when a player demands attention. Nick Petrangelo has been an emerging online and live talent for a while now, but prior to Season 10's European Poker Tour Prague all the American's results had been on his side of the pond. This didn't give the folks in Europe much information about a player who's very likely to be sticking around for quite some time.
Prior to the start of 2015, Petrangelo had amassed $423,783 in live results. This year is less than quarter gone and he's already won $725,775. I think it's safe to say we can call this a breakout year in the live arena for the pro from Feeding Hills, Massachusetts, and he still has more than eight months to amass even more results.
Petrangelo had a strong finish to 2014, making deep runs in two $10,000 events. He came seventh in a High Roller at the World Poker Tour Montreal event in November and followed that up with a deep run (16th) in the prestigious WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic the following month.
"Last year, I started traveling a lot more, playing more live, and getting more comfortable with it," Petrangelo said when asked about his recent emergence onto the live tournament circuit. "I went deep in Monte Carlo (14th in the Grand Final) and then deep again in the Bellagio, as you said. I kept getting deep and was eager to make one of them work out."
Maybe the extra confidence gained from those results helped contribute towards his flying start to 2015 when he was one of the top performers at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, thanks to two huge results.
He kicked things off in the Bahamas off by winning the $5,000 8-Handed Turbo side event for $113,853. Then, he had one other small result for $3,700 before finally coming sixth for $301,500 in one of the festival's most prestigious events — the $25,000 High Roller.
"I didn't win the big one at the PCA, but it felt good to make a final table and a decent score," he added. "The $5K was really nice, but being a turbo you have to run really good to win one of those."
He went on to say, "When you have scores and start going deep in stuff, running good, it helps with confidence. You also start to make better decisions and it all basically perpetuates itself."
Petrangelo's story — like most of today's top players — started with friends, then online poker.
"Just like everybody else, I started playing with friends," he said. "Everyone really loved it in high school. When I was in college, I really worked on my game and some guys who were really good players helped me out. I also learned a lot from Jonathan Jaffe, he really helped me out and is now one of my roommates."
At the back end of 2012, Petrangelo won online poker's biggest tournament — the PokerStars Sunday Million — an outright victory that earned him $209,354. The evidence suggests he's a momentum player, as the day before that big victory Petrangelo won a heads-up FTOPS event on Full Tilt for $36,872.
"Those wins enabled me to play a little higher stakes," Petrangelo explained. "I had come second in a SCOOP for $160K prior to those results, and all those results combined really set me up."
It wasn't going to be poker as Petrangelo's career from the start. He had originally planned to get a job after school, but his success let that take a back seat for the time being.
"I had planned to get a job after college, but carried on playing and it went really well," he admitted. "Once Black Friday came around, Jonathan, me, and a couple of our other buddies moved to Montreal, and I had a pretty big year that year so never considered doing anything else after that."
At the time of the interview, Petrangelo was deep in the EPT Malta €25,500 High Roller. He needed to survive one more elimination and make the final table in order to guarantee himself a European-best score of €79,800. As things turned out, Petrangelo did much better than just reaching the final table. He found a key double up through Sam Greenwood after the bubble broke, and that allowed him to put together a run that finished with a fourth-place result worth €205,900.
"The €25K here has been pretty good," he said about Day 1 and Day 2. "I had a pretty tough table [on Day 1] but ran good to make chips. I had momentum as you said and was able to make [Day 2] where I picked up some hands at the right time. I've felt good and haven't done anything crazy; I've picked my spots carefully and paid attention to what's going on."
Petrangelo seems to be one of the young players in the game with his head screwed on right. Following a booming start to a record year, he's certainly going to be someone to continue to watch — not only in Malta for the EPT festival, but all over the global tournament circuit.