The third event of the Stairway to Millions series saw Chance Kornuth make it a double as the Chip Leader Coaching owner and high stakes poker player claimed his second victory in three event.

Going ‘back to back’, Kornuth triumphed heads-up against another great professional in WSOP bracelet winner Joseph Cheong, after a dramatic final table played out under the lights on PokerGO.

Kornuth Starts Final Table as Leader

Chance Kornuth began the final table of six players holding the lead after a run from the money places to the business end of the tournament. It wasn’t only Kornuth who saw lightning strike twice, with the unfortunate Jaime Cervantes busted as ‘bubble boy’ for the second tournament in succession.

Of the 84 entries, only 12 players made the money, and when Kornuth eliminated his fellow multiple WSOP bracelet winner Jeremy Ausmus for $13,440 in 11th place, the Chip Leader Coaching owner was on the road to victory. Nine players sat at the unofficial final table, and Kornuth had more chips than any of them, which stayed the same as the night closed with just six in seats.

Play at the final table began exactly as Kornuth might have dreamed overnight. Jesse Lonis, a dangerous player in the form of his poker career, was busted by the chip leader when Kornuth’s ace-nine held against the former’s ace-three. Lonis, who cashed for $20,160 in sixth place, was not going to be Kornuth’s last victim during the event.

Winner Carves Through Final Field

Joseph Cheong was still among the players hoping to eclipse Kornuth at the summit and showed no let up in his pursuit. Canadian Daniel Weinand, the only non-American player at the final table, busted to Kornuth in fifth place for $23,520, his pocket eights running into his conqueror’s pocket aces.

Next to go was Mitchell Halverson, who was taken out in fourth place for a score worth $30,240. Halverson fell to Kornuth also, this time making the wrong call with third pair when his opponent had top pair with top kicker.

Nathan Zimnick fared no better, busting in third place for $40,320 when he found a pair of tens on a flop showing T-5-2. Unfortunately for him, Kornuth had paired both the other cards and with all the chips in the middle, no help came for Zimnick on turn or river. Heads-up was reached, with Kornuth holding a 2:1 lead over his decorated opponent Joseph Cheong. Cheong’s 2.82 million chips were up against Kornuth’s 5.57 million.

Cheong Can’t Hold Strong

It didn’t take long for the impressive display from Kornuth to be rounded off with a full house of final table victims. With nine-three, Kornuth checked a flop of 9-4-2 over to Cheong, who bet with jack-four. Kornuth made the call and did likewise on the eight turn, only for another nine on the river to give Kornuth trips. Cheong saw it as a potential blocker to Kornnuth’s hand, so moved all-in, giving Kornuth the task of calling it off to take the title, which he duly did.

Finishing as runner-up, Cheong cashed for $51,120 and a ticket to Event #4, but Kornuth it was who won the top prize of $80,640, crediting fortune this time around as he celebrated victory.

“I ran even better in this one than I did in the last one,” he told PokerGO in the aftermath of his win. “It was pretty incredible. I max late-registered and immediately had chips to play with, and it was smooth sailing the entire way.”

Kornuth admitted that historically, he’s had an issue with ‘winner’s tilt’ a phenomenon where players who are victorious then proceed to lose the next event they play. He was proud of having conquered that particular demon in this instance.

“Taking a few minutes to get your mind right and making sure you’re not trying to win too many pots is imperative to doing well in the next one. I’m optimistic to see what happens,” Kornuth said of Event #4. “Today is the $8,400 event and it would be great to cash that one and continue the stairway to a million.”

Stairway to Millions Event #3 Final Table Results:

Place Player Country Prize
1st Chance Kornuth U.S.A. $80,640
2nd Joseph Cheong U.S.A. $51,120
3rd Nathan Zimnik U.S.A. $40,320
4th Mitchell Halverson U.S.A. $30,240
5th Daniel Weinand Canada $23,520
6th Jesse Lonis U.S.A. $20,160

Image supplied by PokerGO, home of the Stairway to Millions tournament series, where each final table is streamed.  

Arthur Crowson

Arthur Crowson writes for about the gambling industry. His experience ranges from crypto and technology to sports, casinos, and poker. He went to Douglas College and started his journalism career at the Merritt Herald as a general beat reporter covering news, sports and community. Arthur lives in Hawaii and is passionate about writing, editing, and photography.

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