Varnell Outlasts Field of 5,113 Entries, Earning $330,000 First-Place Prize in Largest World Poker Tour® Event in History
Las Vegas, NV (July 6, 2015) – Craig Varnell entered the summer of 2015 uncertain about his future in poker. Without a backer or a bankroll, Varnell found himself working at a carwash, but wanted to take one more shot at poker glory.
Nine cashes later, Varnell capped off a life-changing heater on Monday, outlasting a record-shattering 5,113 entries to win the second-annual partypoker presents: WPT500 at ARIA Resort & Casino and $330,000. “This feels surreal,” Varnell said, trying to fight back tears. “You have no idea how happy I am. I love poker; I love the game. I’m blessed to be here.”
With the victory, Varnell now has more than $600,000 in career live tournament earnings, including $427,903 since May. Varnell defeated Brazilian Lucio Antunes heads up, who earned $223,000.
With 5,113 entries, the most in World Poker Tour® history, the 2015 partypoker presents: WPT500 at ARIA Resort & Casino generated a prize pool of $2,556,500, clearing the $2 million guarantee by more than 27%. Every player at the nine-handed final table earned a minimum of $33,000, and the top four players all secured six-figure scores.
“We are overwhelmed by the support from the poker community for the partypoker presents: WPT500 at ARIA Resort & Casino, and thrilled that so many professional and casual players enjoyed their Las Vegas experience at ARIA,” said Adam Altwies, Director of Poker Operations for ARIA. “We are also very proud of our hardworking staff members who efficiently sat more than 5,000 entries during the 10 starting flights, allowing our loyal guests to late register with deeper stacks and a better opportunity to compete for this massive prize pool.”
WPT President Adam Pliska adds, “Thanks to the tremendous support of the players, partypoker, and Adam Altwies and his staff at ARIA, we once again shattered the record for the largest World Poker Tour event at the partypoker presents: WPT500 at ARIA Resort & Casino. This tournament drew thousands of players to ARIA to compete for a massive prize pool at an extremely accessible buy-in level, and we look forward to the next installment of the partypoker presents: WPT500 at Dusk Till Dawn in late October.”
The top 614 players in the partypoker presents: WPT500 at ARIA Resort & Casino earned a minimum of $750, and the 253 players who reached Day 2 all pocketed at least $2,000. Among the players who bagged a stack on Day 1 but were unable to reach the third and final day were WPT Champions Club members Harry Arutyunyan, Matt Salsberg, and Sheraz Nasir.
Seven of the 40 players who qualified for the partypoker presents: WPT500 at ARIA Resort & Casino on ClubWPT.com reached the money, and six made Day 2. Ryan McDonald, who earned $2,800 for his 161st-place finish shared his Las Vegas experience with our WPT cameras
Milan Harper, one of nearly 200 players who won their way to Las Vegas on partypoker, reached the final table, but ultimately fell in ninth place at the hands of Hunter Cichy. The Kings of Vegas package winner parlayed his small qualifier buy-in into a $33,000 payday, the largest score of his career.
Joining Harper at the final table were WPT Champions Club member Alexander Lakhov and WPT Boot Camp instructor Nick Binger. Binger was eliminated in fourth place for $100,000 when he ran king-queen into ace-queen, and Lakhov exited in third place for $150,700 when his ace-five failed to hold up against king-nine.
Final Table Payouts
1st Craig Varnell – $330,000
2nd Lucio Antunes – $223,000
3rd Alexander Lakhov – $150,700
4th Nick Binger – $100,000
5th Chad Roudebush – $75,000
6th Hunter Cichy – $60,000
7th Bretty Mueller – $50,000
8th Brent Berger – $41,000
9th Milan Harper – $33,000
The World Poker Tour is off to Durant, Oklahoma from July 31- August 4 for the first ever televised WPT Choctaw event at Choctaw Casino Resort. For more information, including on how you can register for the event online, click here.
WPT Media Contact
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