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Vandweller John Gribben Wins Run It Up Reno Mini Main Event for $30,000

Vandweller John Gribben Wins Run It Up Reno Mini Main Event for $30,000

“Eighty-five into thirty-thousand!” That was the exclamation of John Gribben as he hoisted the $440 Mini Main Event trophy at Run It Up Reno IX.

Gribben won his way into the tournament by means of an $85 satellite on Friday, bagging Saturday’s Day 1 flight and grinding his way to the tournament victory on Day 2 on Sunday. Gribben takes home $30,000 for the first-place finish, the biggest score of his poker career.

“How can I put it into words? It’s f***ing incredible!”

“How can I put it into words? It’s f***ing incredible,” said an elated Gribben. “It’s a dream come true. I’ve been trying to get to this spot for a while.”

Gribben, who’s currently living in his van and traveling to play poker, scored his second five-figure cash of the past month with the win. He outlasted runner-up Chris Lindner in heads-up play, with Lindner taking home $18,600 for the second-place finish.

"My goal was to play poker for a living and live in my van. And reduce my life overhead to so little that I could play poker. And not be great at it, but be good at it. This helps a lot."

“I live in my van now, and I travel around. My goal was to play poker for a living and live in my van. And reduce my life overhead to so little that I could play poker. And not be great at it, but be good at it. This helps a lot.”

The first tournament of Run It Up Reno IX drew a total of 409 entries, well surpassing the $100,000 guaranteed prize pool. The total prize pool ended up at $158,692, with Gribben coming away with the $30,000 first prize.

PlaceWinnerCountryPrize (USD)
1John GribbenUnited States$30,000
2Chris LindnerUnited States$18,600
3Alex ConatserUnited States$12,440
4Albert NgUnited Kingdom$9,070
5Lucas HillUnited States$7,020
6Ricky GuanUnited States$5,700
7Bill RichterUnited States$4,720
8Michael HanelinUnited States$3,907
Run It Up Reno Mini Main Event Final Table
Run It Up Reno Mini Main Event Final Table

Conatser Dominates Early Action

Day 2 began with the 67 surviving players from the Day 1a and Day 1b flights, but that number rapidly dwindled as the action was fast and furious in the opening levels of Sunday’s action.

The day’s play started midway through Level 15, with the field playing through 40-minute levels. It took just over two hours for more than half of the field to drop out, as the tournament was down to 29 players heading into the first break of the day.

Notable players eliminated in that early stretch included Jon Turner, Loren Klein, Josh Prager, and Ian Steinman. Coming back from that first break, Conatser had climbed his way into the chip lead, with Lindner, Anthony Nguyen, and Tyler Burke close on his heels.

Conatser spent the next two hours putting distance between himself and the rest of the field. He became the first player in the field to eclipse the million-chip mark after eliminating Phil Weast. Conatser’s stack started to approach the two-million mark just one level later when he took a huge pot from Tyler Burke.

Conatser held steady at the top of the chip leader board, but by Level 21, Hill had started to make moves toward his own massive stack. Hill built a big stack on the feature table, and by the time the final table came around, it was Hill with the Chip lead at 2.8 million, followed by Conatser and Ng at 1.9 million each.

Final Table Action

The nine-handed final table was the unofficial final table, as the Mini Main Event played as an eight-handed tournament.

Bjorn Peterson and Michael Hanelin came in as the short stacks, both with identical 255,000 stacks, about ten big blinds. Peterson finished in ninth ($3,170), and after then, the official final table began. Hanelin exited just about five minutes later, taking home $3,907 for the eight-place finish.

Bill Richter went out next, after grinding out a path to the final table with a tight, low-risk playing style throughout the tournament. It took a cooler to knock Richter out, as he ran ace-king into Lindner’s pocket aces.

Ricky “RatedGTO” Guan, the last of the Run It Up ambassadors left in the field, went out in sixth ($5,700), having made it to the final table after spinning up a very short stack during two-tabled play. Down to seven big blinds at one point, Guan grinded his way into the last six, with Gribben finally knocking him out.

Lucas Hill
Lucas Hill started the final table as the chipleader but went out in 5th for $7,020

Lucas Hill, the chip leader going into the final table, went out next. Having seen his chip lead dwindle over a series of hands in six and five-handed play, Hill saw the rest of his chips evaporate in a cooler against Lindner. Hill ended up getting all of his chips in on the river with two pair, only to find out Lindner had a better two pair. The hand sent 1.6 million chips from Hill to Lindner, and Hill took home $7,020 for the fifth-place showing.

Albert Ng, who was short-stacked for much of the final table, was the biggest beneficiary of Hill’s bust out, jumping up the payout ladder and finishing in fourth ($9,040), going out just minutes after Hill.

The final three players went into the home stretch relatively even in chips, but Conatser’s stack slowly began to dwindle as Lindner and Gribben began to build their stacks. Conaster’s final hand saw him three-bet all in from the big blind with pocket fives, getting looked up by Gribben’s king-jack. A king on the turn propelled Gribben into the lead on the hand, with no miracle five coming in on the river. Conatser took home $12,440.

The heads-up battle between Gribben and Lindner lasted 75 minutes, with Gribben coming away with the win 17 minutes into Level 30. Gribben went into the heads-up battle with a 6.3 million to 3.8 million chip lead, with the blinds at 30,000/60,000. A couple of big pots went Gribben’s way, and by Level 30, the Olympia, Washington resident had Lindner down to 1.7 million chips.

The final hand saw Lindner get all in preflop with pocket threes, and Gribben made the call with queen-eight offsuit. An eight came in on the turn, all but clinching the win for Gribben.

The $18,600 runner-up prize is also a career-high for Lindner.

Chris Lindner
The $18,600 runner-up prize was a career-high for Chris Lindner

The Mini Main Event is over but the Run It Up Reno festival by no means is. Check out the Run It Up Reno live reporting schedule with the $235 Progressive Knockout on Monday, the $235 Black Chip Bounty on Tuesday, $175 Moneymaker Tour Event on Wednesday, and the $1,100 Thursday Thrilla on Thursday. COming Friday, the $600 RIU Reno Main Event gets underway.

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