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Kosta Sengos: The Interview
Emerging from a final table dominated by chip leaders Sam Von Duhn and Jeff Banghart, Kosta "Gus" Sengos was able to make it to heads-up play and defeat Paul Kraus in a marathon battle. After the match was over and Gus had been crowned champion, we sat down, and he took me through the tournament from his point of view.
Gus, Congratulations on your win, how are you feeling right now?
It's something I've always wanted to do, it's a dream. I can't believe that I actually went through all these people, pros and everything; it was just amazing. I just can't fathom it.
Is it going to take a bit of time to sink in?
It'll take a lot to sink in, yeah. I was at the final table and every time we had a break, I just couldn't imagine. People kept pinching me, and I just kept asking myself: Is this a dream?
But you feel good?
I feel great, amazing.
Let's talk a bit about the final table. We had two big chip leaders for most of the day, Sam and Jeff. It looked like they were going to run away with the tournament. What was your strategy when they were controlling the action?
My strategy going into the final table against two big stacks was, no matter if I have a mediocre hand like K-Q or K-J I could always see more, it's just one hand.
So you were really trying to pick your spots?
Yeah, playing tight, just watching everybody to see how they play and how they bet and now I'm here. I won it! It's just amazing.
Let's talk about the heads-up match for a second. It seemed like you were both playing pretty passively, but you were chipping away at his stack, and you didn't give up too many big pots except for the all-in confrontations that you lost. Did you feel like you had a good read on him?
I just tried to play as tight as I could. I was chip leader when we started the heads-up match, and I lost a bit and then came back. I don't really read a lot of people, I just try to catch little things. He's a very good poker player, but the cards just hit and I kept on winning.
You won your seat through a free pub poker league; tell us about the road you traveled to get here.
Well I started playing poker about four years ago with my friends, five or ten dollars here and there. Then when I turned 21, I started playing small tournaments, nothing too extravagant. Then that league started, the Player's Club Poker League, and I found out about it and I thought "Why not?" After I got done studying at school, I'd just go to the bar and have a few beers and play some poker - just kick back and have some fun with your friends.
So how many people did you have to beat to win your seat to his event?
Well, for this bar league you had to accumulate 1,000 points through tournaments in a certain time, and then you qualified for the main event championship. There were 167 players who qualified, and just like in this event, I was really shortstacked and I came back and won it.
Tell us a bit about what you do outside of poker.
I work for my dad in Sioux Falls from 11 to 5, and I just come home and watch poker with my dad on TV. I just can't fathom it; we always watch on TV how they bring the cash out with the showgirls and everything and now I'm here. But at home I just spend time with my dad and my brother and hang out with my girlfriend.
How do you think your dad and brother are going to react when they find out you won this event?
Well my brother's here, so I think he's probably got an ulcer from watching this. My dad's probably freaking out.
Well congratulations again on your win and good luck at the WSOP Main Event this summer!
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I had a chance to speak with the owner of the Player's Club Poker League which sent Gus to this event, and he informed me that Gus was torn between accepting the seat and just taking the equivalent cash instead. Needless to say, he ended up making the right decision. Leaving Council Bluffs with over $200k, a seat to the World Series of Poker Main Event and a WSOPC Championship ring, Kosta Sengos will definitely have something to brag about when he gets home. Saying goodnight from snowy Iowa, this is Matt Showell.