Who says you have to be a "recognizable" poker professional to win a big time tournament?
Kosta "Gus" Sengos beat some of the biggest names in poker to capture more than $200,000 last week at the inaugural World Series of Poker Circuit Championship at Horseshoe Council Bluffs in Iowa.
The recent college graduate also won an automatic entry into the richest poker event on the planet — the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas — where he will have a chance to challenge the best players and possibly take home millions more.
The 23-year-old single golf enthusiast won a seat in the Circuit Championship at a local Sioux Falls bar without paying a buy-in — meaning he made no personal investment in the tournament and his winnings are 100 percent profit.
In the process, Sengos beat 141 of the world’s best poker players. World-class players such as Phil Gordon, T.J. Cloutier and Chris "Jesus" Ferguson all fell by the wayside as Sengos continued his march toward the $219,576 top prize.
Sengos’ total winnings stand at more than $230,000 when the $10,000 buy-in to the 2007 World Series of Poker World Championship and $1,000 in spending money are included in his prize package.
The $10,000 seat at the WSOP and spending money are part of the prize package for the winner of each of 11 Circuit Championships held around the country.
The Sioux Falls resident will have the opportunity to significantly increase his portfolio when he arrives in Las Vegas this summer. The total prize money at the 2006 World Series of Poker topped $171 million. The winner of the World Championship event captured a top prize of $12 million — more than the winners of the Indy 500, the Masters and the Kentucky Derby combined.
"I’m speechless," Sengos said after winning. "I don’t know what to say. It’s absolutely amazing."
With roughly 100,000 square feet of gambling space on a single level, Horseshoe Council Bluffs breaks the mold of the traditional Midwest "riverboat" casinos.