Chances are you’ve never heard of Nikolas Stone. The small-town guy from Auburndale, Wis., and regular at Ho-Chunk Gaming Nekoosa, was a relative unknown until this year when he broke out on the World Series of Poker Circuit by qualifying for the second annual $1 million National Championship.
Stone, who was born in Izmir, Turkey, qualified for the National Championship by winning the “Casino Championship” at Harrah’s St. Louis in April. He did so by placing sixth in Event 1 ($355 no-limit hold’em) for $5,629 and then winning Event 7 ($355 six-max NLHE) for $21,770.
“I like to think I’m one of the top five players at Ho-Chunk Gaming Nekoosa,” said Gordie Jones, who was in Vegas to watch Stone in the National Championship. “Nikolas is easily the best player.”
As if qualifying wasn’t impressive enough, Stone navigated a field of 157 players, where he eliminated pros Phil Hellmuth and Fabrice Soulier to make the final table of eight, which was filmed for broadcast on ESPN and will air Aug. 7. Stone ultimately finished second to Ryan Eriquezzo and earned for $257,119. He had eliminated four of the eight finalists; not too bad for a small-town guy from Wisconsin.
— Chad Holloway is Ante Up’s Wisconsin Ambassador. He’s a senior writer for PokerNews.com and a member of Team Blue Shark Optics. Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @ChadAHolloway.