Apr 9, 2017
By Ryan Lucchesi
Photography by Joe Giron / PokerPhotoArchive.com
Daniel Weinman topped a field of 66 WPT Champions Club members to win the $15,000 buy-in Monster WPT Tournament of Champions tonight at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. He held the chip lead at the start of play, and he only lost that lead briefly at a tough final table that included Dylan Wilkerson, Erik Seidel, David Orsmby, and Daniel Santoro. His toughest test was saved for the heads-up final against Michael Mizrachi, but Weinman defeated every competitor put in front of him in this prestigious poker tournament that brings Season XV on the World Poker Tour to a close.
Weinman claimed his seat in this tournament when he won his first WPT title at the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open on his 29th birthday in February. Weinman now holds total live earnings of $2,608,188. The mechanical engineering graduate from Georgia Tech is originally from Atlanta, Georgia, and you can read a little more about his interesting background in poker here. “It’s absolutely incredible Mike, this was the toughest poker tournament I’ve ever played in my life. There were 66 incredible competitors, and to come out on top is really special,” said Weinman in his winner interview with Mike Sexton.
In his interview with WPT Executive Tour Director Matt Savage a few minutes later, Weinman dove a little deeper into his journey through the tournament. “It feels incredible. I think I played some awesome poker today and I came out on top so I can’t really ask for anything more. It was a long three days, I was very sick the first day, I was kind of lucky to get through. But then I feel like I was able to focus on the last two days,” said Weinman.
When he was asked about his thoughts concerning playing with the chip lead at the final table, Weinman had this to say: “Not really, I’d almost rather be short, just kind of have my mind-game simplified. Being the chip leader you really have to be involved in tons of pots, and I really didn’t have chips the entire tournament until the later stages of yesterday when I kind of went on a rush.”
Weinman considered himself to be primarily a cash-game player for many years, so it is interesting to see him have this breakout year at WPT events in 2017. “I guess I’m a tourney pro now, this is kind of weird. I’ve always said I play cash, and that’s how I came up, and I kind of of viewed these tourney players as sub-poker players to me. But there are a lot of good tournament poker players, and I’m proud to consider myself one now,” said Weinman.
Weinman will take home a plethora of prizes as the Champion of Champions in this tournament, which you can read more about below. But there was one prize in particular that all the players were excited about having the chance to win tonight, including Weinman. “It’s going to be a nice upgrade from the dirty Kia I have sitting at home right now [laughs],” said Weinman when he was asked if he was excited to win the 2018 Audi S5 Coup.
Here is a look at the chip counts when cards got into the air this afternoon.
Seat 1. Michael Mizrachi – 699,000 (70 bb)
Seat 3. Daniel Weinman – 872,000 (87 bb)
Seat 3. David Ormsby – 299,000 (30 bb)
Seat 4. Daniel Santoro – 250,000 (25 bb)
Seat 5. Erik Seidel – 540,000 (54 bb)
Seat 6. Dylan Wilkerson – 641,000 (64 bb)
There were 30 hands of action before David Ormsby doubled up through Michael Mizrachi in the first all-in confrontation. Daniel Santoro then doubled up eight hands later when his aces held against Dylan Wilkerson’s kings. The cooler made Wilkerson the short stack, and he got the last of his chips into the middle three hands later. Wilkerson was eliminated in sixth place ($57,225) when his A-Q was unable to hold against the K-10 of Santoro after a king fell on the flop. “The hand kind of played itself. Grinder opened, and I got three-bet, which has been pretty much standard for the day. You know, someone else woke up with aces, and I had kings, it’s pretty much always going to go down that way,” said Wilkerson about his final hand in his exit interview.
Hand 47 saw Erik Seidel move all in with A-5, and Santoro had him covered with K-J in the hole, but a jack on the flop busted Seidel in fifth place ($73,575). “I really did, I’m going to be taking buses in Vegas now,” joked Seidel about wanting to win the 2018 Audi S5 Coupe in his exit interview.
Santoro had been the short stack at the first break of the day, but he stormed to the chip lead during a hot streak that took just 15 hands for him to claim the largest stack left in play at that point. It was the only time that Daniel Weinman relinquished the chip lead at the final table.
After the second break in play, David Ormsby shoved with A-4, but he was dominated by the A-K of Santoro. Ormsby found no help on the board, and he hit the rail in fourth place ($95,375). “It was great, I love this tournament. Small fields are really fun, the shot clock is also really good. I had a good time. As long as I’m free I will definitely come back,” said Ormsby about his tournament experience in his exit interview.
Mizrachi (pictured above after his first double up) then survived moving all in not once, but twice, and his large rail celebrated both occasions with cheers of joy. The three-handed battle then pushed past 100 hands, and Mizrachi scored his third double up in a row on Hand 118.
Daniel Santoro was the next player to fall on Hand 142. Santoro fell in third place ($133,525) when his K-Q fell to the A-4 of Weinman when an ace fell on the river after Santoro had taken the lead with a queen on the flop. “It was a good time. I came in short, and the cards went my way early, and I got up to the chip lead. It’s a lot of fun, but the end didn’t go so well. It was still a good time,” said Santoro about his run at the final table in his exit interview.
The chip counts at the start of heads-up play saw Weinman in the lead with 2,745,000 over Mizrachi’s 555,000. Just five hands into the final match, Mizrachi scored another double up when he spiked a king on the river and survived with a pair of kings against Weinman’s pair of sixes. Mizrachi came close to taking the chip lead in the heads-up final, but he was still at a chip-disadvantage the next time that all the chips went into the middle on Hand 160.
Mizrachi moved all in preflop, and Weinman called with . Mizrachi turned over , and needed his hand to hold to stay alive. The board came , and Weinman won the pot — and the WPT title — with a pair of eights. Mizrachi finished as the runner-up, earning $218,000.
Weinman won the Season XV Monster WPT Tournament of Champions, earning $381,500, which includes his $15,000 entry into next season’s WPT Tournament of Champions. Weinman received a WPT Champions Trophy, and his name will be inscribed on the one-and-only WPT Champions Cup, along side every other WPT champion from all 15 seasons. Congratulations to Daniel Weinman!
In addition to the first prize of $381,500, the winner of the Monster WPT Tournament of Champions also receives the following additional prizes valued at nearly $150,000*:
In addition to those first-place prizes, all six final tablists received a Monster Superstar Ravebox, courtesy of Monster, the title sponsor of the Monster WPT Tournament of Champions (who also added $100,000 to the prize pool).
* Subject to change. No cash substitutions. Prizes do not include taxes, fees, or gratuities.
Final Table Results
1st: Daniel Weinman – $381,500*
2nd: Michael Mizrachi – $218,000
3rd: Daniel Santoro – $133,525
4th: David Ormsby – $95,375
5th: Erik Seidel – $73,575
6th: Dylan Wilkerson – $57,225
* First-prize amount includes the winner’s $15,000 entry into next season’s WPT Tournament of Champions.
The winner of the Hublot WPT Player of the Year race for Season XV – Benjamin Zamani – appeared on set here tonight to receive a custom watch from Hublot, who is the official timekeeper and watch of the World Poker Tour. WPT Anchor Lynn Gilmartin presented him with the prize up at her desk overlooking the final table. Congratulations are also in order for Zamani on his impressive run to the POY title.
With the $15,000 Monster WPT Tournament of Champions now in the history books, Season XV has now come to a close. The Season XVI WPT schedule will be released soon, and return to WPT.com for live coverage of all WPT Main Tour events next season.