The Mega Millions XIX poker tournament at The Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles attracted a phenomenal field. Over 8,600 entries were recorded, pushing the prize pool up to $1.7 million. By the time the dust settled, a three-way chop saw Danny Wong awarded the first-place win, with DJ Alexander and Tony Chu settling for second and third, respectively. Wong has now accumulated more than $3.6 million in live action and his 12th pot of at least $100,000.
A number of starting flights helped attract 8,500 players. 97 more paid $4,000 for direct entry into Day 2. However, Day 2 only saw a total of 300 players return to the action. Despite holding the chip lead deep into the game, Wong looked to be on his way out, relegated to short stack by the time the final table was set.
Bill Collins led the final table in chips and increased his pile by taking out Dathan Kuppin, who went home in ninth place with $21,410. Wong, with only 10 big blinds, shoved on the 8-6-2 river after scoring top pair with A-8 of diamonds. However, what he didn’t realize was that his opponent, Shant Marshlian, was hiding pocket Kings. Lady Luck was on Wong’s shoulder, though, and awarded him with his fifth diamond on the turn to win with a flush and the ability to start crawling back into the game.
Collins would take out Nicholas Ronyecz next. His A-Q held against Ronyecz’s K-J and the latter hit the rail in eighth with $28,125. Marshlian would soon follow with $35,915 in his pocket after his A-8 fell to Joseph Szegedy’s K-Q after a Q appeared on the turn.
Daniel Chung left in sixth place with $45,670 and Wong soon after scored another double. He got it in against Chu in an Ace race that saw Wong’s 10 kicker outweigh the 8 kicker held by Chu. When Collins lost a huge chunk of chips to Szegedy, Wong was catapulted into the chip lead with his 28.5 million, while Collins held second with 23.5 million.
Szegedy wasn’t able to keep his momentum going and lost to Wong with pocket 8s vs. pocket 10s. Szegedy’s deep run allowed him to take home $58,655.
Collins and Wong met once again, with both players staring down a straight draw. A turn shove by Wong was answered by Collins, but neither was able to score his straight. Wong, who held top pair from the start of the hand, picked up trips on the river to eliminate Collins in fourth place for $77,025.
With only three players remaining, the trip crunched the numbers, whispered and debated and finally came to an agreement to chop the pot. Wong took $234,297 for his finish, Alexander took $168,900 and Chu took $136,325.