Batavia native fulfilling a life ambition, playing a big-stakes poker tournament in Vegas


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It’s Day 1B of the $15 million World Poker Championship in Las Vegas today — it’s the largest pot in poker tournament history — and a Batavia native is still in it.

Ronald “Tigar” Penepent, who now resides just outside of Chattanooga, Tenn.,  won his $10,400 buy-in to the championship through a satellite tournament.

A satellite tournament is one where the top prize is a seat at a major, higher-buy-in tournament.

The WPT Championship runs through Dec. 18. 

Penepent is one of 1,531 entrants in the tournament, and the prize pool is now expected to exceed the original $15 million estimate. Registration for the tournament in Las Vegas closes at 10 p.m. EST, at which time the total prize pool will be set.

Penepent told PokerNews that his love of poker began with family and friends in Batavia. 

“It was always a dream of mine to win a big tournament, and I often shared this goal with my Dad,” he said. “Sadly, my Dad passed away in 2020 from cancer. Winning an entry into this tournament is truly a bucket list item for me.”

He told PokerNews he would love to meet two poker legends, Doyle Brunson and Phil Hellmuth.

“During my time in Las Vegas, I will be joined by 10 family members,” he said. “They will be there to support me and have fun as we always do. They will be traveling from New York, Virginia, South Carolina, Ohio, and Alabama.”

Photo courtesy of the Penepent family.



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