Nick Grudzien took on three other InterPoker.com online qualifiers as well as Phil Laak and was the last one still flying during the site's Extreme Poker Challenge "Loser's Leap" Wednesday. All the players took to the skies, and as they were eliminated from the table, they had to parachute from the plane.
"Extreme Poker is all about keeping your cool under extreme duress, and I can't think of a more stressful situation than knowing that you must fall 15,000 feet from a moving aircraft if your opponent calls your bluff," said Peter Marcus, spokesperson for InterPoker.com and creator of Extreme Poker. "Trying to concentrate in a bustling casino during the World Series of Poker is tough, but after taking a bad beat and plunging to the desert below, the Main Event should be a walk in the park for our InterPoker.com players."
Once the plane was in the air and the game was underway, it didn't take long for players to start busting out and get pushed from the plane. Online qualifier Patrick Neary was the first to go after only fifteen minutes. A few minutes later, Grudzien called an all-in from Phil Laak and sent him parachuting to the desert below.
"The pressure in this game was unbelievable, knowing that if someone called my bluff, I would have to jump out of a plane," said Laak. "Now that I'm done, I want to get right back up there and do it again."
Grudzien quickly eliminated the other two online qualifiers, Jamie Glasser and Fraser Linkletter, to claim the Extreme Poker crown and have the honor of landing with the plane rather than jumping.
"Everything about this tournament was extreme - the height, the heat of the Vegas desert, and the amazing skill of my competitors," said Grudzien. "I can honestly say this has been one of the toughest tournaments of my life, and I am grateful to InterPoker.com for giving me the opportunity to come to the World Series of Poker and participate in 'Loser's Leap,' as well as the chance to unwind and play some poker in the Caribbean later this year."
For his win, Grudzien will receive a $13,000 prize package that includes an all-expenses-paid trip to the 2006 Caribbean Poker Classic as well as the buy-in for the event.