2022 BetMGM Poker Championship

BetMGM Poker Championship
Day: 1

BetMGM Poker Championship

Day 1 Completed

Qualifier Profile: Vinny Pahuja Looks to Take Down BetMGM Poker Championship

Vinny Pahuja
Vinny Pahuja

New York's Vineet "Vinny" Pahuja is looking for his next big score after qualifying into the $3,500 buy-in, $1,000,000 GTD BetMGM Poker Championship at ARIA. Pahuja, who has $3.2 million in Hendon Mob-reported earnings, qualified like dozens of others by playing on BetMGM Poker.

Pahuja earned his maiden WSOP Circuit ring in 2017 when he took down a $365 buy-in event at WSOP Circuit Harrah's Atlantic City for $13,284. In March 2022, Pahuja was denied a second Circuit ring in a $215 buy-in WSOP Circuit Super Series online event, finishing in second for $12,513.

Pahuja's biggest live score dates back to 2008 when he finished second in the Borgata Summer Poker Open $5,000 Championship for $289,800. Ten years later, he earned his second-biggest score from a fourth-place finish in a $540 event at the 2018 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open for $137,168.

Tags: Vinny Pahuja

Qualifier Profile: Corey Paggeot Seeks Next Score After Qualifying Into BetMGM Poker Championship

Corey Paggeot
Corey Paggeot

Another player who qualified for the $3,500 buy-in, $1,000,000 GTD BetMGM Poker Championship at ARIA is Michigan's Corey Paggeot, a two-time WSOP Circuit ring winner with $127,816 in Hendon Mob-reported live earnings.

Paggeot's greatest poker achievements have been online, including winning a $400 buy-in WSOP.com Circuit event in 2019 for his first Circuit ring and $15,447, and later winning a $250 buy-in WSOP.com Circuit event for a second ring and $24,204.

Paggeot's biggest score came in 2021 WSOP.com Event #24: $400 No Limit Hold'em MonsterStack, where he finished second for $47,840. The very next day Paggeot, earned his second-best score in WSOP.com Event #26: $500 No Limit Hold'em The BIG 500 Encore, finishing in third for $40,952.

Paggeot is also the head of marketing for Solve For Why, a poker training and content site founded by Matt Berkey.

Qualifier Profile: Poker Pro Ryan Hagerty Wins Way into BetMGM Poker Championship

Ryan Hagerty
Ryan Hagerty

Among the players in New Jersey who qualified for the $3,500 buy-in, $1,000,000 GTD BetMGM Poker Championship at ARIA is Ryan Hagerty, a "Garden State" grinder with $378,438 in Hendon Mob-reported tournament earnings.

Hagerty earned more than his entire live earnings through a single online score when he finished fourth in the 2020 WSOP.com $10,000 No-Limit Hold'em Main Event for $387,130.

The next year, Hagerty won his maiden WSOP bracelet on WSOP.com by taking down Event #23: No Limit Hold'em Turbo for $67,207. It was not his first piece of WSOP hardware as just a month earlier he won a $350 buy-in event as part of the WSOP Summer Online Super Circuit for $22,925.

Hagerty's best live cash to date is $70,865 and he looks for a new career-high as he competes in the 2022 BetMGM Poker Championship after qualifying by playing on BetMGM Poker.

Tags: Ryan Hagerty

BetMGM Announces Agreement with Sony Pictures Television, IGT to Launch Online Wheel of Fortune Casino


BetMGM, a leading sports betting and iGaming operator, announced this week an agreement with Sony Pictures Television and International Game Technology PLC (“IGT”) to launch Wheel of Fortune Casino, set to become the first full brand-led online casino in North America. Wheel of Fortune, an iconic American game show, is preparing for its milestone 40th season. More than 250 versions of Wheel of Fortune slot games have been introduced over the last 25 years and this online launch of Wheel of Fortune Casino will represent the latest gaming extension for the brand.

“Wheel of Fortune is watched nightly by millions of people and BetMGM is honored to partner with Sony Pictures Television and IGT to bring this online casino experience to life," said Matt Prevost, Chief Revenue Officer, BetMGM. "Once live, Wheel of Fortune Casino will offer players the excitement of their favorite game show and real money wagering in the palm of their hand."

Suzanne Prete, Executive Vice President of Game Shows, Sony Pictures Television, said, “We are delighted to be partnering with BetMGM for the launch of Wheel of Fortune’s very first online casino. With Wheel of Fortune celebrating its 40th season this year, we are pleased to continue offering players additional, new ways to play the games they know and love.”

Launching first in New Jersey, Wheel of Fortune Casino will house America’s Game®-branded slot titles produced by global gaming leader IGT, along with many other themed games and features.

Enrico Drago, CEO Digital & Betting, IGT, said, “We’re excited to celebrate the evolution of the IGT Wheel of Fortune slot brand with BetMGM and Sony Pictures Television through the launch of Wheel of Fortune Casino. The Wheel of Fortune brand has been synonymous with slot gaming for more than 25 years, and this unprecedented brand-led online casino, driven by BetMGM’s compelling platform and promotional capabilities, is well-positioned to engage and entertain new and long-time players. As part of our ongoing PlayDigital strategy, we will continue to look for new and exciting ways to leverage our third party and home-grown brands with our operating partners.”

Qualifier Profile: Michigan Algebra Teacher Tony Villano is Going from the Classroom to the BetMGM Poker Championship

For the past several weeks, BetMGM in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey has been qualifying players online for the live $3,500 buy-in, $1,000,000 GTD BetMGM Poker Championship June 23-26 at ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.

One player to win their way in was 53-year-old Tony Villano of Bay City, Michigan. A High School Algebra teacher on the verge of retirement, Villano is married to wife, Julie, with whom he has two daughters — Jordyn, 21, and Carlie 19. He played baseball in college and was a long-time high school coach of wrestling.

"I decided to play softball this summer and pulled a muscle in the second game," Villano said with a laugh. "So now I try to hit it to left field and speed walk to first and get a courtesy runner."

Like many others, Villano picked up poker during the "Poker Boom" years.

"The first book I read was Play Poker Like the Pros by Phil Hellmuth," he said. "I did pretty well on partypoker playing top ten hands in limit poker just like it said. Worked well. Then I read a bunch of other books and realized I had more to learn than just bet/raise with top ten hands."

When online poker recently opened up in the Wolverine State, Villano became intrigued.

"Online Poker just recently opened back up in Michigan," he explained. "I joined when it became available. I played a lot before Black Friday. I have to drive a couple of hours to get to the nearest poker room."

It's Villano's previous online poker experience that might give him in edge in Vegas.

"I won a couple of [WSOP] Main Event seats before Black Friday online. I did not cash. I’ve played the WSOP and regional tournaments, not as often as I would like though. I’ve played poker in Las Vegas about four times. I have a couple of cashes listed on The Herndon Mob. My third-place finish in the Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) was a super rotten beat that I don’t like thinking about."

Villano isn't the type of player who'll be easily pushed around; in fact, one of his proudest poker accomplishments demonstrates why.

"When I three-bet preflop and then check-raised a smack-talking jerk three times in a row in the same hand online from the big blind," Villano said when asked about a proud accomplishment. "It was late at night in a $2/$4 or $3/$6 NL hold’em game. I may have been slightly intoxicated. We were pretty deep obviously. Definitely my most fun poker moment. He folded the river."

Villano concluded: "I’m planning to stay in Vegas for a couple of weeks. I’ve never gotten to play that much poker over that amount of time in tournaments and cash games. It’s always fun to play in a tournament with big money at the final table. Also, I saw there will be a freeroll which should be fun. I see Matt Berkey is involved and I’ve seen him on TV. I’m always happy to pick up some tips."

Tags: Tony Villano

BetMGM Online Qualifiers from New Jersey

The following players from "The Garden State" have all qualified for the $3,500 buy-in, $1,000,000 GTD BetMGM Poker Championship at ARIA by playing on BetMGM Poker.

Jose HernandezBrett BoniakowskiVinny PahujaAnuj Sethi 
Ryan HagertyDaniel BuzgonMichael LavenburgFrank Tyra Jr. 
Robert TaylorRakesh BhatiaDaniel SewnigSong Wu 
Benjamin FelsonJonathan LessinAngel LopezGregory Hadden 
Timothy ByrneAtul SeghalJohn Bonino  

Michigan Philosphy Student Jack Goodin Has Set His Sights on Poker... And It's Going Well!

Jack Goodin
Jack Goodin

For the past several weeks, BetMGM in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey has been qualifying players online for the live $3,500 buy-in, $1,000,000 GTD BetMGM Poker Championship June 23-26 at ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.

One player to win their way in was 26-year-old Jack Goodin. a Philosophy Masters's student at Western Michigan University where he teaches classes in applied ethics and study logic/metaphysics.

"During the pandemic, I spent a lot of time playing chess. I thought if I was going to sink time into learning how to play a strategy game I might as well pick one where I could make some money," Goodin said of learning poker. "I started going to the local cardroom, grinding online, and joining Discord servers to talk strategy. Now I mostly study with video courses, sims, and coaching."

In September 2021, Goodin joined BetMGM.

"One incredible perk of moving to Michigan for school has been access to the BetMGM tournament poker pool, which I think replicates the fun live poker environment better than bigger sites," he explained.

He added: "I’ve picked up some decent final table scores and won two or three mid-stakes events. I still have yet to bink a $215+ but with the volume and study I’m putting in it’s only a matter of time."

While he drove through Las Vegas one time during a summer road trip in college, Goodin didn't stay, so it's essentially his first 'real' visit to Sin City.

"This trip will be my first foray into big live events," he said. "In addition to the BetMGM Poker Championship I’ll play the Aria Poker Classic $50k guarantee, the Mystery Bounty, and the WSOP Colossus."

Goodin may be relatively new to the game, but he's on the rise and is prepared to meet the upcoming challenge of competing in a major live poker tournament.

"I’ve been working incredibly hard this month and have had a string of big final table scores, two high-stakes wins on BetMGM and PokerStars, and a second-place finish in a live tournament at Firekeepers Casino," he said. "I’ve made more money from poker in the past few weeks than I made in two semesters as a teaching assistant. Winning the BetMGM Poker Championship Qualifier prompted me to get coaching and investigate playing other tournaments in Vegas. To play these I’ve had to sell a fair amount of action, and it all went within an hour or two of posting the offer in a handful of chat servers. This month has taken poker from a fun hobby to a viable part-time job and I’m really proud of the work I’ve put in to get there."

He concluded: "I’m particularly excited to be playing the highest stakes I’ve ever played in the BetMGM Poker Championship and contending with other strong players. I’ll also play the [WSOP] Colossus, which is iconic. I would be thrilled to make final tables in either of those events and show off my play on stream."

PokerNews will most certainly keep an eye on Goodin, who could very well surprise a lot of the competition!

Tags: Jack Goodin

BetMGM Online Qualifiers from Pennsylvania

The following players from Pennsylvania have all qualified for the $3,500 buy-in, $1,000,000 GTD BetMGM Poker Championship at ARIA by playing on BetMGM Poker.

Kevin AllebachDavid CarapellaYuriy GarifoullineMichael Cannon 
Clemen DengMichael McNicholasWilliam SummerfieldLarry Lucci 
Charlton LinBrandon MuellerEdward LeonardRalph Grafton 
Val ArzunianBarrett LipkinBrian FrascaCharles Durbin 
Timothy GilibertiDaniel StoyPhillip CardellaJun Chen 
Vincent Lestingi    

BetMGM Online Qualifiers from Michigan

The following players from Michigan have all qualified for the $3,500 buy-in, $1,000,000 GTD BetMGM Poker Championship at ARIA by playing on BetMGM Poker.

They won't be the last though as online qualifiers are still running!

Brett BaublitzChristopher TakiJosh KoetjeRyan Shinevare 
Steve BayyoukKenneth LoveAnthony AdamsNick Dennis 
Cliff HodgemanTimothy CareyDavid RohnJohn Goodin 
Charles VillanoKyle GoodmanConnor BoyleJennifer Tesch 
Kirby KozelFatin SchultzKeegan SmithRyan Redoutey 
Corey PaggeotScott SzurekDonald WisnieskiKarl Dailey 
Frank LucarelliJuris KapsAndrew Szabelan