$1,100 Thursday Thrilla Bounty
Steve Nevius and Scott Waugaman battled heads up for a short while but kept trading chips back and forth, with Nevius keeping a two-to-one lead most of the way. Eventually, Nevius proposed an even chop, with him taking the win and the $600 Main Event Seat. Waugaman said, "My wife would kill me if I didn't take this deal" and they shook on it. Both players pocketed $10,162 for their efforts tonight!
Jason Somerville, the fearless Run it Up leader, was eliminated in third place for $5,500 after he lost a flip with pocket sevens to Nevius' ace-jack. It was apparent that Nevius had his number, as he lost a massive one million chip pot to him earlier when both players flopped a flush, with Nevius having the best of it. Congratulations to the Warrior who has made this entire series possible!
The $1,100 Thursday Thrilla is the highest buy-in in RIU's history, garnering 90 entries for a prizepool of $45,000 + $45,000 in bounties and the $600 Main Event seat for Last Warrior Standing in RIU gear. There were tons of champions in the field, including Team RIU's own Vincent Newland, Andrew Cha, Jimmy Cappucci, Jordan Spurlin, Mark Mazza, Jesse Capps, Deborah Vanneste and Vanessa Kade.
The Thrilla got off to a phenomenal start, kicking off with 35 entries and quickly growing to 50. By the time late registration had closed, 90 entries were officially tallied and it was go-time. Players were getting their money in the middle, chasing bounties and having a great time. Survivor's Tyson Apostol was living the "baller lyfe" he's proud of and built up an intimidating chip lead, while Steve Nevius, the eventual winner, was quick to collect a fistful of bounties well before the money was even close. Somerville steadily built up a stack, and eventually led the field as the money started to close in.
The bubble started to loom and Media Contributor and dedicated RIU Warrior, Brent Harrington, got his chips in the middle with 13 players left holding king-jack. Somerville called from the big blind with ten-eight and rivered a pair of tens to eliminate him. On the bubble, last woman standing, Deb Swift, woke up to pocket jacks on the button and flipped against Nevius' ace-queen. The flop was queen-high with three diamonds. Swift held the only diamond but was unable to catch up, ending her run as the bubble girl but with two bounties to help soften the blow.
Once in the money, Jake Irvin and Michael Faulkner got their short stacks in the middle but couldn't get anything going to build a stack to take to the final table. Irvin got it in with ace-high but Scott Waugaman flopped broadway with jack-ten, and Faulkner ran into pocket kings in a blind-vs-blind spot. Both players pocketed $1,500 for their deep runs.
The final table came together with a solid lineup of players, as expected. Twitch streamer sensation, Deborah 'QueenBee902' Vanneste was the first to go in ninth place ($1,500) after jamming on the button with ace-three suited. Jordan Spurlin gambled with her from the small blind with queen-ten and smashed the turn to scoop the bounty. Eighth place went to Dick Hanley ($1,975). He flopped top pair from the big blind in a limped pot, but he ran into the best kicker against Nevius and was sent packing.
Play continued on with seven left, and Brett Gordon was the next to hit the rail ($2,300) after action folded to him on the button and he piled his chips in the middle with queen-high. Somerville woke up with ace-high in the big blind and flopped top pair to earn another bounty. Travis Downton was the next shortest stack and picked up ace-ten but ran into Nevius' ace-king. Nevius turned a boat and Downton had to settle for sixth place, earning himself $2,775 for his deep run.
Five remained and the competition only got tougher. Former 8-Game Champion, Jordan Spurlin, was eliminated in fifth ($3,375) after he moved all in from under the gun with pocket threes. Waugaman found ace-nine of diamonds on the button and gave him some action. The flop brought two diamonds, and the ace came on the river to eliminate Spurlin.
Apostol ran his stack up with four left, and eventually got it in with king-nine suited but ran into Nevius' ace-king. He was left short and moved in with king-queen but ran into Waugaman's ace-queen. Fourth place earned the Survivor star, and comedian, it seemed, $4,250 plus five bounties.
Three-handed play was intense, and Somerville had more than half of the chips in play until he flopped a ten-high flush but ran into Nevius' jack-high flush. This was the turning point and Nevius never really looked back. Somerville battled hard, with a massive rail behind him, but eventually lost a flip to Nevius and the rest is history.
We sat down with the Thrilla champion and got to know him a little better. Nevius is a regular here in Reno. He loves playing poker, no limit hold'em in particular, and is an aircraft broker during the day. Hailing from San Francisco, California, Nevius had his first big score in Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay in an Invitational tournament. He said he got to play with the likes of Johnny Chan and ended up coming in second place for a whopping $50,000. He was hooked after that and has been chasing tournament glory ever since.
Nevius started to play in RIU Reno two series ago and is clearly a fan. He says he credits Somerville for putting together such a great event, and smiled and said, "the pinnacle of my tournament was his bounty."
Congratulations to everyone for their deep runs and good luck in the Main Event!
Here's a look at the final results in the Thursday Thrilla:
1st place: Steve Nevius - $10,162 + $600 Main Event Seat (chop)
2nd place: Scott Waugaman - $10,162 (chop)
3rd place: Jason Somerville - $5,500
4th place: Tyson Apostol - $4,250
5th place: Jordan Spurlin - $3,375
6th place: Travis Downton - $2,775
7th place: Brett Gordon - $2,300
8th place: Dick Hanley - $1,975
9th place: Deborah Vanneste - $1,500
10th place: Michael Faulkner - $1,500
11th place: Jake Irvin - $1,500