Two months later, the feeling of finishing runner-up in the PokerStars Pennsyl-Mania event still didn’t sit right with Isaac “KingBoss 93” Vasquez. The 31-year-old from Reading, Pennsylvania, came so close to the title and longed for another chance.
When PokerStars announced the Pennsylvania Spring Championship of Online Poker (PASCOOP) for April and May, Vasquez felt it was time for the KingBoss to shine. Feeling so good about the event, he even Tweeted PokerStars that he’d be taking down a title.
On May 3, the KingBoss did just that – winning the $300 Main Event, which included a $300,000 guarantee. Vasquez took the biggest share of that for $46,410.
“Honestly, it felt incredible and to win hours before my birthday on May 4, it’s almost like it wasn’t real,” he told USPoker. “I was still thinking about last month’s second-place finish in the Pennsyl-Mania. I’ve been waiting for a score like that and to follow it up with a main event win, emotions hit me hard. It’s surreal.”
Punching his ticket in PASCOOP, celebrating with some Johnnie Walker Blue Label
Looking back on the tournament, one hand stands out for Vasquez. Just before going into the second and final day of action, he picked up pocket Queens and raised the action.
The player next to him then moved an all for not much more than Vasquez’s initial raise. However, the next player then also moved all in for even more.
“A call wouldn’t cripple me,” says Vasquez, who works as an order filler when not playing poker. “I called and my opponents are holding pocket Kings and pockets Tens. I flopped a set of Queens to get the double knockout.”
It's a wrap for #PASCOOP 🔔
Thanks to everyone that participated 🤝 and congratulations to everyone that scooped a 🏆.
— PokerStarsUSA (@PokerStarsUSA) May 4, 2021
That moved him to more than 3 million in chips and Vasquez went into day two second in chips with over 4.5 million.
As he battled at the final table Vasquez set up on his apartment’s balcony. On the final hand, his K♠6♠ held up when he caught another Six on the board. It was quite a celebration after he’d finally booked the nice five-figure score.
“I had a bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label open once I made it to the final table,” he says. “I made the call on the last hand and when it held, I was jumping and yelling. Some expletive words out. – I’m sure the neighbors above heard it.
“I took a shot of Blue Label to calm my nerves and sat and just thought about what had transpired in the last month. I was coming for this and it actually happened.”
Life of a PA online poker grinder
Hitting the virtual tables is a regular routine for this poker grinder. Vasquez loves being able to play some legal online poker in his home state.
“I think online poker in Pennsylvania is awesome and was waiting for a regulated site,” he says. “I was happy when PokerStars decided to come in 2019 and now we have a couple more sites [partypoker US Network skins Borgata Poker and BetMGM] making their way to the state. It’s definitely looking promising.”
What’s his own poker routine? Vasquez likes being alone when he plays. A huge movie and TV buff, Vasquez hits play on a film or show for some background entertainment. Some days he may even take in a poker stream while he’s playing himself.
Outside of poker, Vasquez enjoys music and is a big sports fan. He loves basketball, football, and baseball, cheering on the Portland Trailblazers, Atlanta Falcons, and New York Yankees.
Like many poker players in regulated markets, Vasquez is a part-time player but gets plenty of time at the tables. If he’s not at a home game, he’ll be playing in a tournament online.
Occasionally, Vasquez even does both – playing live while hopping in a tournament on his phone. His poker routine usually involves playing some at night and on weekends. He loves tournaments with buy-ins of $50 and above, but also plays Hold’em cash games in the $1/$2 to $2/$5 range.
“I like playing the bigger guarantees as well because they just give me a better sense of focus,” he says.
Bigger bankroll, ready for more
Now with a nice poker score, what’s Vasquez have planned for his winnings?
“I’ll invest some of the money in the market, to give a boost to my portfolio,” he says. “I have a poker bankroll for sure to keep grinding away and mom, of course, will get some.”
Vasquez loves poker and is glad the win enables him to play even more. Playing online in the Keystone State has been a welcome diversion and has certainly been paying off lately.
“It feels great and for it to be legal and regulated is a big plus,” he says. “Especially since the pandemic, I’ve been playing online mostly. Hopefully there are more great things to come.”
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