William Luciano won the 2016 Chicago Poker Classic Main Event for $254,892, topping a field of 736 in the $2,000 buy-in event held at Horseshoe Hammond. He drew inspiration from a certain recent World Series of Poker Main Event winner when he was down to a slim stack on Day 1.
"I was inspired by Martin Jacobson in the [WSOP] Main Event a couple years ago where he sat back with a shorter stack and then ran it up for the win," Luciano told tournament reporter Paul Oresteen. "I was down to six blinds on Day 1 and I shouldn't even be here. I had pocket tens on a king-high flop and he checked it all the way down. If he doesn't do that, I wouldn't even be here."
The win was by far the largest live score for Luciano, who had about $70,000 in cashes and qualified for the event via a $240 satellite.
Final Table Results
The tournament is always one of the highlights of the spring schedule in the Midwest, and this year proved no different. A number of well-known players made runs into the 72 paid positions, including Matthew Shepsky (54th), Zal Irani (53rd), recent Mid-States Poker Tour champ Andrew Rubinberg (41st), former CPC Main Event runner-up Shiva Dudani (24th), Ralph Massey (12th), and Aaron Steury (11th).
According to the live updates, Steury bubbled the final table in a brutal hand when Mike VanderWoude called a three-bet with eights and flopped top set against Steury's kings. The two got it in on the flop and Steury was unable to find one of the last two kings, giving VanderWoude the chip lead heading to the final table, while Luciano was essentially tied with four other players in a second-place cluster.
Like Jacobson, Luciano mostly waited things out in the early parts of the final table, though he had considerably more breathing room than the Swede. While Luciano waited, VanderWoude dominated early proceedings, knocking out Fadi Hamad in seventh and Bryan Skreens in eighth after Thomas Peebles went out ninth and Ben McCoy busted 10th.
Luciano made a big move up the counts in a clash with VanderWoude that wound up being a race, and it was Luciano's prevailing against the as the board rolled out , no help to VanderWoude.
Chad Freid busted Jorge Postigo in another flip, and he grabbed a lead heading into five-handed play.
Luciano then won another key pot when he called a He Huang shove with the and won against the after flopping apair of aces. He followed that by scoring the next two eliminations in one hand when he called a button shove from VanderWoude while holding pocket kings. Mike Reick called as well from the big blind, and he called off his remaining chips with jacks on a queen-high flop. VanderWoude turned up the and nobody improved, sending a huge pot to Luciano.
As part of their prizes, Luciano, Freid, and Reick also won $10,000 WSOP Main Event seats, so having more chips and finishing third was worth more than just a better cash payout for Reick.
Freid still held a slight lead on Luciano heading to heads-up play, but after dinner break, Luciano doubled up when he shoved on the turn with the board reading . Freid called with the but trailed the two pair, , that Luciano showed. The river was a brick and Luciano grabbed the lead.
The momentum swung back to Freid when he retook the lead at one point, and the match continued for about two more hours until a short-stacked Freid shoved the over a button open and got called by Luciano's . The board ran out dead for both players and Luciano was the winner.
*Photo courtesy of Eric Butler of IMPDI Worldwide.