Thomas ‘pompyouup’ Pomponio walked into the Rio last week as just another face among the 18,054 entrants in Colossus III. Fast-forward a few days later, Pomponio is the newest millionaire at the WSOP after beating the field to collect the seven-figure first place prize.
Pomponio’s name is will forever be remembered now among the winners of Colossus but his game is already reckoned with online in New Jersey. Playing on New Jersey’s regulated websites, Pomponio has racked up over $130,000 in tournament earnings despite not playing that consistent of a schedule. Going back to the days of PokerStars being available in the United States, Pomponio’s account was successful to the tune of over $300,000 in cashes including a final table finish in one of the last Sunday Millions before Black Friday.
A “guy of principle” as he describes himself, Pomponio makes his primary living as a butcher and plays online in his spare time.
“I try to play as much as I can. I have a girlfriend and a full-time job so I really don’t play as much as I would like to, but I try to play at least twice a week online and tournaments at night.”
His deep run took four bullets to officially get going but once it did, Pomponio was off to the races in one of poker’s largest gold rushes. He bagged 295,000 to put himself in the top-50 heading into Day 2’s 634 player restart. From there, he ran his stack up to 4,265,000 to come into Day 3 in sixth place out of 41 remaining lottery participants. It was at that point where the first place prize became a distinct possibility for Pomponio.
“I ran well at the start and it just evolved. At the start of Day 3, I was telling my parents and my girlfriend there’s only 40 players between me and a million bucks. In your life, you’re not going to have too many chances to win a million bucks now you only have to outlast 40 players. It became real, I outlasted 18,000, another 40…”
The New Jersey community is always full of support when one of their own goes deep and Pomponio says he was receiving countless messages wishing him well as he made his deep run.
Pomponio was spotted wearing a BorgataPoker.com patch during the final table and he found a way to sport the logo through the help of a friend and a BorgataPoker.com ambassador.
“My friend, Tyler Rogers…he knows a few of the guys on the site. He asked me if I wanted him to reach out and see about getting the patch and I talked to him today [and then]received the patch from Jamie Kerstetter.”
Now that he’s officially won the title and million dollars, the next phase of Pomponio’s life begins as he gets ready to head back to New Jersey. His job is waiting for him when he returns home but he might need one or two days to settle in before officially getting everything back to normal.
“I’m supposed to fly home on Thursday [and then] I’m scheduled for work on Saturday. Now, I’m a guy of principle, I don’t really like to screw over my coworkers. I might ask my boss if I can just have off Saturday to give me more time to get home and relax.”
Pomponio’s poker career might never hit a higher point than what it did on Wednesday. He lived the reality of every player who ever enters an event like Colossus and will need to keep pinching himself to make sure his life really is what it became overnight.
“I’m just waiting to wake up from the dream but I don’t think I’m going to anytime soon.”