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Low capital, high returns draw pros in poker event

Las Vegas—Card-playing supremacy. Bragging rights. Cold, hard cash. More than 22,000 gamblers—many pros, quite a few amateurs—came for the same thing in Las Vegas, drawn by the low cost to enter the World Series of Poker’s new Colossus event.

Just $565 to enter, unlike the $10,000 price to play the much-watched Main Event, Colossus proved irresistible.

They had a 1 in 22,374 chance, right?

There was Nick Luis Damico from Highland, California, who plays Tuesday night poker tournaments in a buddy’s garage and snapped photos of pros in the tournament’s hallways before taking a seat at his own table and getting knocked out relatively early.

And then there was Jennifer Kistner from Northern California, who had played in a World Series of Poker ladies tournament before, but thought she might win enough this time to build an addition to her house for her mother.

“Who wouldn’t give it a shot?!” she said in a text message.

Ultimately, the last men standing were no novices to the game, including 25-year-old winner Lance “Cord” Garcia from Houston who found his stride his third time entering the event and took it all the way to a pair of fours at the final table that turned into a full house for the win.

He won $638,880 Wednesday, minus the $1,695 he spent entering three times.

“It hasn’t set in that I’ve won the biggest tournament in poker,” he said after six days of outlasting everyone else. The regular on the tournament circuit posed for photos with his mom, his friends and his poker chips. He welcomed the bigger crowd of competitors to get more people involved. “It’s always good for the game,” he said.

Colossus was just one of 68 events happening throughout the 51-day World Series of Poker that started last week and culminates with the closely watched Main Event. Colossus attracted attention for its low buy-in and expectation to attract crowds. AP

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