The 33-year-old, self-employed management and financial consultant has been playing poker for about three years.
Killenberger said he was first attracted to poker because of the "competition, the strategic approach and complexity of the game and, of course, the possibility to win money." Now he plays online at Pacific Poker about four times a week.
All that play translated to earning enough player points to get into the WSOP freeroll staged last week at the poker site. Killenberger had signed up at Pacific Poker through PokerListings.com, so he was eligible for the WSOP freeroll after collecting 50 player points during the qualification period.
He was among 151 players who took advantage of the freeroll, which turned out to be a very international event.
"The top eight finishers came from Germany (me), Canada (two guys), Romania, Ireland, Italy, Slovakia and Britain," Killenberger said.
In the end it was German ingenuity that won out as Killenberger took down a player called Honeyel in heads-up play. Killenberger describes the final hand like this:
Blinds were $2,000/$4,000
Chipstacks: me $129,264; Honeyel $21,736
Me SB: Ad-Qd
Just limped in to trap. Hoped he will go all-in pre-flop.
Flop came: 6d-Th-4c
I checked. Honeyel went all-in. I called with the two overcards.
Honeyel showed 6s-5s
Turn came Kh. Finally, river came Qc and made me higher pair.
And with that, Killenberger had won a prize package to the 2008 WSOP Main Event that includes the $10,000 buy-in plus money for travel and accommodations.
It's not the first time Killenberger has had some good fortune at Pacific Poker either.
"At Pacific Poker about 1-2 years ago, the room hosted a few tournaments with German bracelet winner Michael Keiner, which were called Michael Keiner Bounty," Killenberger said. "The guy, who took him off the table earned a bounty of $50. I was the one who took him off in the first hosted tournament, and therefore was the first guy who earned the bounty on Pacific Poker."
Perhaps that experience will come in handy when Killenberger heads to Vegas to square off against thousands of players, including some of the world's top pros, at the Main Event.
This will be his first trip to Las Vegas, and it's always been a dream of his to visit the city and play in the Main Event.
"I'm a little bit nervous of course," Killenberger said. "But the pleasant anticipation weighs stronger."
He's also got a healthy mix of nervousness and excitement at the opportunity to play some of poker's star players. He said some of the pros he's excited to play against include Doyle Brunson, "because he is a living legend, and I read Super/System 1 and 2."
He would also be excited to go up against Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu, Chris "Jesus" Ferguson and Allen Cunningham.
The big question, of course, is what will Killenberger do if he turns his free seat into a Main Event win?
"I would try to do the same as former winner Joe Hachem," he said. "Just further improve my game and prove that [I am] no one-time-wonder. I would take a big part of the money to make a living for me and my family - just use a part of it as a poker bankroll. And, of course, trying to go pro."
There's still plenty of time between now and the Main Event for Killenberger to hone his poker skills at Pacific Poker and pick up some tips at PokerListings.com.
Killenberger is a regular at PokerListings.com, which he says he visits weekly as well as subscribes to the newsletter.
"It's a very good site with a lot of useful information, e.g. poker toplists and poker strategy," he said. "It's my favorite poker site on the Web."
Another player also recently took advantage of what Pacific Poker offers PokerListings.com players and walked away with a trip to Spain to see Sevilla (sponsored by 888.com) take on Barcelona in a soccer game. French player 78clem won the all expenses paid trip worth $2,500.
These are just a few of the many exclusive promotions Pacific Poker has to offer PokerListings.com players. For more information, check out the Pacific Poker review on PokerListings.com or head to the poker site itself and get in on the fun.
- Pacific Poker Giving WSOP Seats to PL.com Players
- Here Comes the 888.com World Poker Crown
- 888 signs Shane Warne to play poker
NHUPC first round set to go
Some of the interesting pairings that resulted include Phil Ivey being paired against PokerStars qualifier Alisha Kunze. She battled her way to a seat for free at PokerStars.net, proving she's got what it takes to compete in heads-up action.
However, Ivey is coming off his first World Poker Tour win, which he added to his resume Thursday night at the WPT L.A. Poker Classic while the other NHUPC players were partying.
Phil Hellmuth also made the final table of the LAPC where he came in sixth place. He's matched up against Tom "durrr" Dwan, an online player who started making a name for himself in the live poker world toward the end of 2007 when he came in fourth at the WPT World Poker Finals.
Despite women comprising a low percentage of the playing field, the first round will have some girl-on-girl action as well with Jennifer Tilly and Clonie Gowen facing off.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg of the pairings that take place today. The brackets for the event are as follows:
- Vanessa Rousso vs. Antonio Esfandiari
- Shannon Elizabeth vs. Andy Bloch
- Todd Brunson vs. Scott Fischman
- Jamie Gold vs. Tom Kelly
- Ted Forrest vs. Orel Hershiser
- Allen Cunningham vs. Chad Brown
- Jean-Robert Bellande vs. Sam Grizzle
- Paul Wasicka vs. Freddy Deeb
- Jason Alexander vs. Huck Seed
- David Pham vs. Brian Townsend
- Jennifer Tilly vs. Clonie Gowen
- Daniel Negreanu vs. Michael Mizrachi
- Barry Greenstein vs. Howard Lederer
- David Benyamine vs. Jennifer Harman
- Sam Farha vs. Doyle Brunson
- Erick Lindgren vs. Eli Elezra
- Jonathan Little vs. Erik Seidel
- Patrik Antonius vs. Gabe Kaplan
- Greg Raymer vs. Hooman Nikzad
- Kenny Tran vs. Scott Clements
- Mike Matusow vs. Joe Hachem
- Tom Dwan vs. Phil Hellmuth
- Tom Schneider vs. Gavin Smith
- Chris Ferguson vs. John Juanda
- Don Cheadle vs. Gus Hansen
- Scotty Nguyen vs. Bill Edler
- Chris Moneymaker vs. Jerry Yang
- David Singer vs. Phil Laak
- Phil Ivey vs. Alisha Kunze
- David Williams vs. Johnny Chan
- Daniel Schreiber vs. T.J. Cloutier
- Annie Duke vs. J.C. Tran
The Hearts bracket is scheduled to begin play at 10:15 a.m. (PST). The Diamonds are expected to begin play at 1:15 p.m., with the Clubs following at 4:15 p.m. and the Spades at 6:45 p.m.
You're not going to want to miss a single minute of this action, and PokerListings.com will be on scene to make sure you get all the updates from the event that you can handle. Check out the action in the Live Tournaments section.
Related Article: Players Face Off Friday at NHUPC
Paradise Poker stages Fantastic 1st events
Naming the day "Fantastic 1st," Paradise Poker has three extra ways during the day that players can walk away winners.
The first is the Double Your Winnings promotion. Just as in the February event, players who finish in the money in selected tournaments on Saturday will earn double their winnings.
"The last time we did a Double Your Winnings promotion, 331 lucky Paradise players were in the money as we gave away a massive €84,000," said a spokesperson for Paradise Poker.
This time, players can earn double their winnings in the following tournaments:
|2:30 p.m.||€6,000 GTD REBUY||€10|
|6 p.m.||€10,000 GTD REBUY||€10|
|2 a.m.*||€3,000 GTD REBUY||€20|
*Takes place Sunday March 2.
The second special event will be entry to a €10,000 Freeroll. All Paradise poker players who play 10 raked hands on Saturday will be eligible to enter the freeroll taking place at 5 p.m.
Last month the tournament was won by art134, who added €2,000 to his bankroll with his first-place finish.
The tournament can be found in the multi-tourney lobby under the name €10,000 Freeroll. Registration for the tournament will open at 2:30 p.m.
Last up for the Fantastic 1st is the 24 Hour FPP Chase. Player can get even more for their Frequest Player Points on Saturday with this promotion.
Simply collect at least 50 FPPs to participate in the 24 Hour FPP Chase, according to Paradise Poker. For collecting 50 FPPS Saturday, players will receive a €10 pending bonus.
Players will need to claim their €10 bonus through the Paradise Poker Web site where it will be added to their pending bonus accounts and must be earned out before April 6.
The more FPPS a person collects on Saturday, however, the better the bonus money they receive. For 500 FPPS, players will receive a €25 cash bonus, and for 1,000 FPPS, players receive a €75 cash bonus.
The two top players who collect the most FPPs will then play heads-up for €500.
Note: All times are in GMT.
Related Article: Paradise Poker Pumps Up Action Friday