One million dollars and a gold bracelet are up for grabs next week at the Rio in what is sure to be the biggest event field of the summer. And for 15 members of the CardsChat forum, even more is on the line.
Our team is arriving in Las Vegas now from all across the country to participate in The Colossus, a $565 no-limit hold’em tournament that, in its first three years, has attracted more than 50,000 players, with an average of 20,680 entries, including 22,374 in 2015, which remains the world record for largest live poker tournament in history.
Outlasting Friends and Pros
CardsChat is covering $200 of each team member’s buy-in, and is ponying up an additional $500 prize for whoever lasts longest — which won’t be easy knowing one of the players they have to outlast is Team CardsChat ambassador and pro Ryan Laplante, who became an active CC forum member in 2014.
Laplante has 32 WSOP cashes in his career, and won a bracelet in 2016 by taking down a $565 pot-limit Omaha event. The Minnesota resident now living in Las Vegas has more than $1.5 million in lifetime tournament winnings, and a record of going deep in the Colossus, finishing 29th (2015), 94th (2016), and 222nd (2017).
The Colossus kicks off at the Rio on Saturday, at 10 am PT, for the first of six Day One flights.
This will be the seventh year CC has assembled a team to play at the WSOP.
Meet Team CardsChat
The 15-member crew representing our favorite poker forum features a bracelet winner, popular poker vlogger, cribbage player, several other regular poker enthusiasts, and a retiree who has played poker her entire life.
Team CardsChat (forum moniker in parentheses)
Ryan Laplante (Protential)
Matt Vaughan (Scourrge)
Debi O’Neill (dakota-xx)
Donna Scruggs (belladonna05)
Amanda Nissman (Amanda A)
Robert Maxwell (ribbybruno)
Joe Mussat (JoeShowdown)
Delania Partridge (Delania)
Stephen Castro (dealio96)
Greg Brewer (gabpoker)
George Mulry (natsgrampy)
Jacki Burkhart (missjacki)
Liz Tedder (Everybodylovesdeuces)
David Harriss (gon4iypes)
Chris Baud (baudib1)
Matt Vaughan, who regularly plays at Maryland Live casino, has been playing poker for nearly a decade. On his YouTube channel, which has more than 10,000 subscribers, he vlogs his cash game sessions and analyzes interesting hands he plays. His videos get hundreds of “likes” and dozens of comments from his fans.
Robert Maxwell, a cash manager at a high-volume Walmart in Texas, enjoys “most card games,” including poker, of course, but he’s an “expert cribbage player.” That may or may not help him outlast a bracelet winner this weekend in the Colossus.
Stephen Castro has been playing poker for 14 years but hasn’t yet been lucky enough to make a deep run in a tournament. There isn’t a better time for that first deep run than in the Colossus, an event that guarantees $1 million to its champion.
Laplante isn’t the only Team CardsChat member who is accustomed to deep runs in large-field events. Joe Mussat, who might have the catchiest forum moniker (JoeShowdown), won our last-longer bet in 2016 in the $888 Crazy Eights WSOP event. He finished 57th out of 6,761 participants.
Jacki Burkhart, an Oregon native, gave Mussat a run for his money in that 2016 event but was eliminated in 818th place. Her claim to fame as a poker player came in 2015 when she finished 45th out of 7,192 players in the $1,500 WSOP Monster Stack event for over $29,000.
Donna Scruggs, part of our social media team, is retired and “enjoying each day on my own terms.” She’s been playing poker her whole life but hadn’t visited Las Vegas until three years ago. “Having played poker all my life, how did I miss that?” she asks.
Debi O’Neill is the CardsChat forum administrator who members know more affectionately as “dakota-xx.” She’s been with CardsChat practically since the beginning, and pretty much runs the show for the team. You can’t miss her Georgia accent the moment she says something at the table.