Robert ‘Zack’ Grossglauser is the latest World Series of Poker Circuit main event champion to be decided in 2022. The Elk Grove, California resident defeated a field of 726 entries in the $1,700 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event of the WSOP Circuit Thunder Valley series, securing his first WSOPC gold ring and $205,203 as the champion.
“It was a tough three days,” Grossglauser said. “Coming into day 2 I was at about 25th place, so not that high up on the board. I waited for the right cards and the right spots to come, I think the biggest key for me in this tournament was never looking at the pay jumps. I never really looked at the money bubble or worried about where I was in regard to chip average. I just played my hands and tried to stay focused.”
The approach seemed to pay off in a major way for Grossglauser, who came into this event with just over $27,000 in prior tournament earnings. His largest previous score was a $15,000 cash he earned as the 880th-place finisher in the 2015 WSOP main event.
In addition to the title and the career-best top prize, Grossglauser was also awarded 912 Card Player Player of the Year points as the champion of this event. This was his first POY-qualified score, not only of this year, but of his lifetime. It alone was enough to move him within reach of the top 500 in the 2022 POY race, which is sponsored by Global Poker.
This event played out over the course of four days, with two starting flights and then two more days to narrow the field to a champion. Plenty of notables were among the 109 players to cash in this event, including seven-time ring winner Maxwell Young (97th), three-time ring winner Allen Kessler (73rd), two-time ring winner Viet Vo (60th), poker vlogger Cedrric ‘Poker Traveler’ Trevino (48th), bracelet winner and World Poker Tour champion Tyler Patterson (24th), Andreas Kniep (11th), and 2022 WSOP ladies event third-place finisher Christina Gollins (10th).
Grossglauser may have entered day 2 in 26th chip position among the 160 remaining hopefuls at that point, but he ended the day as the outright leader with just 14 left in contention. By the time the official final table of nine was set, Altynai Fung had overtaken the top spot, but Grossglauser remained high on the leaderboard.
A pair of preflop coolers spelled the end of Brian Battistone’s (9th – $19,289) and Kristen Deardorff’s (8th – $24,380) runs in this event. Phaly Nou ran J-4 offsuit into the pocket aces of Randall Chamberlain to finish seventh ($31,181). Moments after that, Michael Loncar got all-in with pocket sevens trailing the pocket nines of Jared Smith. Loncar was unable to come from behind and was sent home in sixth place ($40,329).
Grossglauser scored his first knockout of the day when his pocket sixes won a preflop race against the A-Q of Paul Richardson. An ace-high flop gave Richardson a big lead, which he maintained through a blank on the turn. A six on the river gave Grossglauser a set to secure the pot. Richardson was sent to the rail with $52,820 for his fifth-place showing.
A battle of the blinds brought about the elimination of Altynai Fung in fourth place. Chamberlain shoved from the small blind with A-8 suited. Fung called all-in for around eight big blinds with K-8 suited. Fung flopped a king but had to fade a flush draw and an overcard for Chamberlain. Both the ace and the flush came in, which meant that Fung would have to settle for $69,938 in this event.
Jared Smith got his last chips in ahead, with his A-Q leading the A-6 of Grossglauser. The flop brought a six to give Grossglauser the lead, which he held onto through the river. Smith earned $93,657 as the third-place finisher.
With that, Grossglauser took more than an 8:1 chip lead into heads-up play with Chamberlain. The short stack managed a couple of double-ups with his back to the wall, but was ultimately unable to hold in what turned out to be the final all-in of the event. All of the chips went in preflop, with Chamberlain holding AJ and Grossglauser A2. The board ran out 76237 to give Grossglauser sevens and deuces for the win. Chamberlain took home $126,828 as the runner-up finisher, the largest score of his career by more than $100,000.
Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table:
Photo provided by WSOP.