SugarRush (Day 2): Play Slows Down, Peters Back In Front

Level 26 (30,000/60,000/10,000)
Total SugarRush Challenge Entries: 578
Players Remaining: 9
Chip Average: 1,700,000

The start of the final table went off with a bang as short stacks were consistently moving all-in and doubling up. Since the elimination of Aaron Mermelstein, there has yet to be a single all-in and call. As a result, tactical play has become the norm with pots rarely going to showdown.

The battle for the chip lead is a close affair with Jeffrey Peters out in front, holding 2,500,000. DavidMcChonachie, Paul Zurgchka and Tom Goshaw are all above 2,000,000 and capable of overtaking Peters with one pot. As play continues this level, it will be interesting to see is this trend of relaxed play continues with Joseph Tapilo, Ian Gavlick and Mike Marquad all below 20 big blinds, respectively.

We are nearing the finish line of the SugarRush Challenge and the SugarHouse blog will be here until the finish line is reached before the end of tonight.

SugarRush (Day 2): 10th Place – Aaron Mermelstein ($2,035)

Level 25 (25,000/50,000/5,000)
Total SugarRush Challenge Entries: 578
Players Remaining: 9
Chip Average: 1,700,000


10th Place: Aaron Mermelstein ($2,035)

The SugarRush Challenge final table was not short on action in the early going as short stacks across the oval found double ups to stay alive. All short stacks, expect Aaron Mermelstein. Mermelstein treaded water with all ins being shipped around him but when he attempted an all-in of his own, it was unlucky timing.

From early position, Mermelstein shoved for 525,000 and found a caller in David McConachie. Mermelstein had a quality hand in 10♣10 but McConachie had a slightly better one with JJ♠. The 4♣3♣2 flop cracked open the backdoor for Mermelstein as he found two clubs. Mermelstein was granted additional outs on the 7♣ turn but could not catch the most crucial of clubs on the K♠ river.

McConachie has been the busiest player at the final table at now has a stack of 2,900,000 to show for it, good for the current chip lead.

SugarRush (Day 2): Final Table Draw, Goshaw Out In Front

Level 24 (20,000/40,000/5,000)
Total SugarRush Challenge Entries: 578
Players Remaining: 10
Chip Average: 1,530,000


Tom Goshaw is peaking at the right time and will start the SugarRush Challenge final table as the chip leader. 

Tom Goshaw started Day 2 with the chip lead and retains that position with the final table set to begin. Goshaw took down a massive pot against Mike Marquad right before the redraw to regain the chip lead and will start play with 3,600,000.

Marquad opened for 100,000 preflop and Goshaw defended his big blind to see a 954♠ flop. Goshaw led for 150,000 and Marquad called to the J♣ turn. Goshaw slowed down and checked with Marquad betting 350,000. Goshaw called and the 8♣ hit the river.

Goshaw fired a shell worth 450,000 and sent Marquad into the tank. It took a minute, but Marquad called only to see Goshaw turn over J♠9 for turned two pair to crack Marquad’s pocket queens. Marquad is once again below 1,000,000 while Goshaw is nearly 900,000 ahead of his nearest competitor.

Goshaw raked in the pot and is pole position to take down the SugarRush Challenge title. The table draw and chip counts for the final 10 are below along with the remaining payouts.

  1. Roberto Ilagan – 1,950,000
  2. Joe Del Grosso – 700,000
  3. Tom Goshaw – 3,600,000
  4. Jeffrey Peters – 1,450,000
  5. Paul Zurgchka – 2,700,000
  6. Ian Gavlick – 975,000
  7. Aaron Mermelstein – 600,000
  8. Mike Marquad – 530,000
  9. Joseph Tapilo – 200,000
  10. David McConachie- 1,450,000
  1. $24,512
  2. $17,180
  3. $11,049
  4. $7,869
  5. $6,040
  6. $4,965
  7. $4,098
  8. $3,268
  9. $2,451
  10. $2,035

SugarRush (Day 2): 11th & 12th Place -Jesse Cohen and Mike Goldberg ($2,035)

Level 24 (20,000/40,000/5,000)
Total SugarRush Challenge Entries: 578
Players Remaining: 10
Chip Average: 1,530,000


11th Place: Jesse Cohen ($2,035)


12th Place: Mike Goldberg ($2,035)

The two shortest stacks left in play had their work cut out for them but unfortunately for Jesse Cohen and Mike Goldberg, their SugarRush Challenge run will end just shy of a final table berth.

Paul Zurgchka was on the right end of a flip and sent out Goldberg with Cohen being eliminated a few hands later. Goldberg got his last 580,000 in with JJ♠ and would need to hold against Zurgchka’s A♠Q. The 8♣32 flop was safe for Goldberg but the Q♣ turn put Zurgchka ahead. The river was a brick and Goldberg exited.

Like Goldberg, Cohen got his chips in with the best of it but Zurchka, once again, came from behind to claim another victim. Cohen got in 325,000 with Q♣Q♠ against the K♠J of Zurgchka.

The K came in the window and Cohen was left needing one of the last two queens in the deck. Alas, he did not find one and the final table is set. Players are drawing for seats and the lineup will be posted shortly.

SugarRush (Day 2): 13th & 14th Place- Mark Obus and Anthony Garafalo ($1,627)

Level 24 (20,000/40,000/5,000)
Total SugarRush Challenge Entries: 578
Players Remaining: 12
Chip Average: 1,275,000


14th Place: Mark Obus ($1,627)


13th Place: Anthony Garafalo ($1,627)

With the blinds up another level, there was more pressure than ever on the short stacks. Mark Obus and Anthony Garafalo had their stacks decrease in two separate manners. Obus lost an all-in to Ian Gavlick to double the latter up while Garafalo failed to get any positive traction post-dinner as was left short as a result.

Obus had his run officially cut short by David McConachie only a few hands after doubling up Gavlick. Obus shoved for 300,000 with Q8 and McConachie called with A♠9♠ to put Obus at risk. An ace on the flop ended the drama and McConachie stacked himself back up to 1,500,000.

On the adjacent table, Garafalo was eliminated by Mark Marquad, who has made a recent habit of busting out players. Marquad opened for 105,000 on the button and Garafalo shoved for 605,000. Marquad thought carefully about his next move but did call. Garafalo was live with K10 but needed help versus the A♣Q♠ of Marquad. Like Mark Obus, Garafalo couldn’t avoid an ace on the flop and he made his exit, while Marquad moves to 1,500,000.

The field is now only two eliminations away from the final table as the tension rises in the SugarRush Challenge.

SugarRush (Day 2): 15th Place – Bryan Trischetta ($1,627)

Level 23 (15,000/30,000/5,000)
Total SugarRush Challenge Entries: 578
Players Remaining: 14
Chip Average: 1,090,000


15th place: Bryan Trischetta ($1,627)

Chris Del Grande and Bryan Trischetta were the first two players to crack 1,000,000 but both had their tournament hopes head downward after reaching their early peak. Trischetta managed to hold on for a few more pay jumps than Del Grande, but he too is now on the outside looking in.

Aaron Mermelstein did most of the damage to Trischetta as he correctly called for his own tournament life to leave Trischetta crippled. With the board reading QJ783♠, Mermelstein bet 100,000 from the big blind and Trischetta shoved from the button for 540,000, having Mermelstein slightly covered.

Mermelstein evaluated his options and surmised that Trischetta might not be as strong as his bet may have suggested. Following some time in the tank, Mermelstein found a call with Q♣8♣, which led Trischetta to throw his cards into the muck. Mermelstein is once again over 1,000,000 and a threat to make the SugarRush final table.

Trischetta was eliminated by Joe Del Grosso shortly thereafter as the field is down to 14.

SugarRush (Day 2): 16th & 17th Place: Derek Staib and Jeff Wicker ($1,357)

Level 23 (15,000/30,000/5,000)
Total SugarRush Challenge Entries: 578
Players Remaining: 15
Chip Average: 1,020,000


17th Place: Jeff Wicker ($1,357)


16th Place: Derek Staib ($1,357)

Both Derek Staib and Jeff Wicker were on the short stack at the start of Level 23. Wicker was short as a result of a double dealt out to Mike Goldberg while Staib was hampered by a chronic case of being stuck in neutral. Mike Marquad sent both players to the rail to boost his own stack over the 700,000 mark.

Marquad moved all-in for 225,000 from late position and Wicker called all-in for less to put himself at risk. Wicker held the edge with A7 against Marquad’s 97 but the K♣10♠8 flop gave Marquad straight outs to put Wicker on edge. The J turn gave Marquad a lead he did not relinquish as Wicker took his leave.

Staib exited nearly an orbit later to the payout cage. Marquad opened to 70,000 from early position and Staib shoved for 275,000 out of the small blind. Marquad called after some thought with A♣10♣, which had Staib’s A5♣ in poor shape. The stronger ace held up and Staib made his trip to the podium.

Marquad is once again in contention and only a double up away from being near the chip leaders.