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Glory for John Quirk in 1,900-Entry Opening Event of 2015 Foxwoods Poker Classic

John Quirk

When Foxwoods Poker Room decided to slap a $500,000 guarantee on the $600 buy-in opening event of the 2015 Foxwoods Poker Classic, a big field was expected, and a huge one turned out. The Connecticut-based event attracted 1,912 entries to smash the guarantee with over $1 million in the prize pool, and John Quirk pocketed the lion's share of a three-way chop, taking home $124,376. Quirk came into the tournament with just $14,763 in recorded cashes.

Fred Paradis (2nd) and Giuseppe Ruvolo (3rd) were the other two beneficiaries of the redistributed final few payouts. Both pocketed an even $100,000 as part of the deal.

Final Table Results

1John Quirk$124,376*
2Fred Paradis$100,000*
3Giusppe Ruvolo$100,000*
4Luca Pigniatello$47,182
5John Chung$35,386
6Timmy Egan$25,950
7Jordan Joeckel$19,659
8Michael Cretella$14,744
9Jonathan Lewis$12,409
10Brian Borgeson$10,321

*Denotes a three-way deal.

The enormous turnout made a tournament with three starting flights stretch to five total days. All of the 231 Day 1 survivors received payouts, with a min-cash worth $1,179. By the time Day 2 play concluded at 1 a.m. on Wednesday, according to the live updates, the field had been cut down to 14 survivors. Quirk led the way at 5.21 million about 15 minutes into Level 31 (50,000/100,000/10,000).

Less than an hour into Day 3, the final table had been determined, with Quirk having surrendered the chip lead to Paradis, who had nearly 7.8 million. That didn't last long, however, as the very first hand of the final table proved to be a big one. Brian Borgeson shoved all in for his last 320,000 at Level 32 (60,000/120,000/20,000), and Quirk reraised to 1 million. Jonathan Lewis then jammed for just under 2.2 million in middle position, and Quirk put both at risk.

Quirk: {q-Hearts}{q-Clubs}
Lewis: {a-Hearts}{k-Spades}
Borgeson: {a-Spades}{j-Clubs}

Quirk flopped a commanding lead as {6-Hearts}{7-Diamonds}{q-Diamonds} gave him a set, but the {10-Spades} turn kept everyone drawing live before a {9-Diamonds} river preserved Quirk's lead.

Michael Cretella (8th) and Jordan Joeckel (7th) were next to march to the payout window before a setback cost Quirk more than a third of his stack when he check-jammed all in on a {k-Spades}{10-Clubs}{k-Clubs} flop with the {4-Diamonds}{4-Hearts} and was called by Luca Pignatiello, who had the {q-Hearts}{10-Hearts}. Timmy Egan (6th) and John Chung (5th) then busted out to leave the tournament four-handed.

At that point, stacks were close between Quirk and Pignatiello when a huge hand developed. Quirk jammed under the gun and saw Pignaiello shove as well in the next spot. Hands were tabled and Quirk held a huge lead with the {a-Spades}{a-Diamonds} against the {9-Spades}{9-Clubs}. No drama followed as Quirk flopped a seat on {a-Clubs}{3-Hearts}{q-Spades} and then turned his opponent dead with a full house. Quirk had Pignatiello barely covered and sent him home with $47,182.

Three-handed play progressed for about half an hour before the players took a 15-minute break, with Paradis the shortest stack at 7.7 million, while Quirk and Giuseppe Ruvolo each had just over 15 million heading into a 300,000 big blind. By the time the breather ended, the players had come to an agreement: each would pocket $100,000 and they'd play for the final $24,376.

The deal apparently prompted some action as Ruvolo busted in just 15 minutes, having made a flush with the {7-Hearts}{2-Hearts} only to be shown the {10-Hearts}{9-Hearts} by Paradis on a {j-Clubs}{8-Hearts}{6-Hearts}{4-Diamonds}{5-Hearts} board.

Heads-up play lasted about an hour, with Paradis seemingly having the trophy in hand as he got Quirk all in with the {4-Diamonds}{3-Diamonds} on a {10-Hearts}{q-Diamonds}{3-Clubs} flop when Paradis held the {k-Spades}{k-Hearts}. After a brick turn, the {3-Clubs} river saved Quirk and gave him a nearly 4-1 chip lead, knocking Paradis down to 7.5 million at 200,000/400,000/50,000. Paradis was able to grab a double up but then bad luck struck again he got his stack in with {k-Hearts}{3-Spades} against {j-Spades}{10-Diamonds} but saw Quirk turn a pair of tens to take home the win.

Data and photo courtesy of

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