On the same day that PokerNews published our feature piece Putting In Your Dues: Greg Himmelbrand's Journey to Becoming a Poker Millionaire, the man in the title continued his incredible year by topping a field of 797 entrants to win the Parx Casino Big Stax XIII for $80,725.
Himmelbrand's win came less than a week after Matt Glantz took down the Parx Casino Big Stax XIII 300 for $55,357 while simultaneously announcing his decision to leave his role as room ambassador.
"Finally winning a Parx trophy feels great," Himmelbrand told PokerNews. "I just missed out on one last year finishing second to Kane Kalas after a five-hour heads-up battle, and the previous year I had chopped four ways but didn't receive the official title.
"I had the chip lead the entire final table, including having 40% of the total chips seven handed," Himmelbrand continued on that tournament. "However, the literal hand right before the chop I lost to on a run out with betting on each street to cut me down to third in chips and therefore deny me the official trophy. Being one of the closer regional casinos to New York it's good to take one down here!"
Prior to the win, Himmelbrand had $294,692 in cashes in 2015, which included a Mid-States Poker Tour title and his first World Series of Poker Circuit gold ring.
Final Table Results
Notable Finishes: DJ MacKinnon (12th - $4,820), Cornel Cimpan (14th - $4,246), David Inselberg (17th - $3,749), and Allan Rabinovich (21st - $3,328)
According to updates from the event, Grace Zhang commanded the final table early as she scored multiple eliminations, and then in Level 27 (30,000/60,000/10,000) Himmelbrand notched his first final table knock out. It happened when, on a flop of , the two players in the blinds checked and Himmelbrand continued for 195,000. Mike Hernandez then check-raised to 650,000 from the small blind, Kevin Grabel folded from the big, and Himmelbrand three-bet all in.
Hernandez called off his last 2 million or so with the , which was behind the set of Himmelbrand. The turn gave Hernandez some full house outs, but the river was not one of them. Hernandez took home $15,149 for his sixth-place finish.
From there, Himmelbrand dispatched Grabel in fifth place – the result of his holding against Grabel's after a run out of – before Zhang took care of Joe Simmons in fourth.
Three-handed play lasted quite some time, but eventually Satish Gorrela grew short and ended up running smack dab into Himmelbrand's to bust in third. Zhang began heads-up play with a slight chip lead, but Himmelbrand was not discouraged and soon pulled out to a 2:1 lead of his own.
In what would be the last hand of the tournament, which happened in Level 31 (100,000/200,000/25,000), both players checked a flop and then Zheng check-called a bet on the turn. When the completed the board on the river, Zhang checked for a third time and Himmelbrand bet 1.475 million.
Zhang woke up with a check-raise to 3.5 million, and then called off when Himmelbrand moved all in. Zhang held the for two pair, but it was no good as Himmelbrand rivered a wheel with the .
For more on Himmelbrand's remarkable 2015 run, click here.
*Lead photo and data courtesy of the Parx Poker Blog.