By Matt Clark
A field of 734 entries in the first WPT at Venetian resulted in a field of the world’s best showing up to Las Vegas to play at the Venetian Resort. 35-year-old Ben Palmer is synonymous with success at Venetian. Palmer is second on the all-time list of cashes at Venetian with 88 coming into the week, and made his 89th the largest of his career by winning WPT at Venetian for $431,655, including a $15,000 seat to the Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions.
WPT at Venetian Final Table Results
1st: Ben Palmer – $431,655*
2nd: Tony Gargano – $277,760
3rd: Danny Qutami – $204,810
4th: Orlando Barrera – $152,690
5th: Mark Ioli – $115,105
6th: Will Givens – $87,760
* First-prize amount includes the winner’s $15,000 entry into the season-ending Baccarat Crystal Tournament of Champions.
“It means a lot. It’s one of the casinos in Vegas I play at the most,” said Palmer after the win, referring to Venetian.
Palmer found a major boost to his stack on Day 3 when he tripled up in the first level of action to put himself into contention. From there, Palmer didn’t look back on his way up the leaderboard in the penultimate day of the event.
Day 4 at Venetian started with nine players looking to win their first WPT title and Palmer was the chip leader of the group. By the time Sean Yu, Jay Farber, and Skip Wilson exited in a row, Palmer was still in front.
Palmer busted 2014 WPT500 champion Yu when his held against Yu’s . A few hands later, Palmer busted Wilson in seventh place. Palmer’s caught an ace on the turn versus the of Wilson.
WPT at Venetian Final Table
Seat 1: Danny Qutami – 3,945,000 (49 big blinds)
Seat 2: Tony Gargano – 2,205,000 (28 big blinds)
Seat 3: Will Givens – 4,035,000 (50 big blinds)
Seat 4: Orlando Barrera – 5,135,000 (64 big blinds)
Seat 5: Ben Palmer – 9,520,000 (119 big blinds)
Seat 6: Mark Ioli – 4,485,000 (56 big blinds)
Will Givens fell in sixth place at his second final table of Season XVII to Mark Ioli at Hand #69, and then Ioli departed at the hands of Palmer. Ioli held against the of Palmer on a board of and Palmer’s straight busted Ioli’s two pair.
Orlando Barrera found some misfortune on Hand #115 to bust in fourth. Barrera shoved with pocket sixes on a but ran into the quad kings of Tony Gargano.
Three-handed play between Palmer, Gargano, and Danny Qutami lasted for 89 hands before Qutami caved after a long battle. Gargano opened to 750,000 with the blinds up to 150,000/300,000 and Qutami shoved with . Gargano called with and his hand held to set up heads up play with Palmer.
Palmer started heads up play at a deficit versus Gargano but managed to stay alive against the fellow Vegas pro on numerous occasions.
On Hand #234, Palmer’s survived versus the of Gargano to put him back into contention.
Palmer closed out the title on Hand #268 to claim the WPT at Venetian. Gargano shoved for 9.5 million with the blinds up to 300,000/600,000 with and Palmer called with with three-quarters of the total chips in play up for grabs. The flop surged Palmer into the lead and faded Gargano’s flush draw following the turn upon the river.
The 268-hand final table is the longest so far of Season XVII and the longest since Season XIV’s WPT Choctaw final table won by Jason Brin.
Hublot WPT Player of the Year Update
Palmer collected 1,200 points for his second cash of Season XVII but don’t expect him to chase the POY title.
“I don’t travel much so the stuff that’s in Vegas I’ll play but that’s pretty much it,” noted Palmer.
The next event in Las Vegas is the $10,000 ARIA Summer Championship at ARIA Resort & Casino on May 27.
Palmer did note, however, his excitement for the $15,000 Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions. In particular, he said he hopes to bust his friend, and fellow WPT Champions Club member, Jared Jaffee.
Next on the WPT Schedule
Only three Main Tour stops are left on the Season XVII calendar with ARIA being one of them. The WPT travels next to Florida from April 12-16 for the $3 million guaranteed WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown at the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, FL. The final table for that event will take place on May 30 at HyperX Esports Arena in Las Vegas.
Photography by Jamie Thomson / PokerPhotoArchive
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