Ben Zamani has won the Hublot WPT Player of the Year for Season XV of the World Poker Tour. Zamani will be awarded with a custom watch from Hublot, official timekeeper and official watch of the World Poker Tour, plus complimentary accommodation for any WPT stop he attends in Season XVI.
Winning Hublot WPT Player of the Year put Zamani in the elite club that includes Daniel Negreanu (Season III), JC Tran (Season V), Andy Frankenberger (Season IX), and Anthony Zinno (Season XIII).
Zamani’s victory was sealed when Pat Lyons, winner of the Season XV WPT Legends of Poker and last player eligible to catch Zamani, was eliminated in 23rd place from the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker $10,000 Finale. Interestingly enough, Lyon defeated Zamani in heads-up play when he won WPT Legends of Poker, but this time it was Zamani coming out on top of this exciting duel.
Zamani finished the season with 2,550 points, narrowly edging out Sam Panzica’s 2,500.
Season XV Hublot WPT Player of the Year Final Standings
1. Ben Zamani – 2,550
2. Sam Panzica – 2,500
3. Mike Sexton – 2,100
4. James Mackey – 1,650
5. Darren Elias – 1,650
6. Daniel Strelitz – 1,600
7. Pat Lyons – 1,450
8. Igor Yaroshevskyy – 1,450
9. James Romero – 1,400
10. Daniel Weinman – 1,350
Zamani’s season started with a bang, when he reached the final table of three of the first six events. He took second to James Mackey from a field of 1,066 entries in WPT Choctaw, and then went on to score a second runner-up finish to Lyons in the WPT Legends of Poker from a field of 687 entries. Zamani earned $412,234 and $341,412 from those two finishes, respectively.
After missing out on an in-the-money finish at the WPT Borgata Poker Open, Zamani was back to a WPT final table when he placed fifth in WPT Maryland Live! and took home $85,429. Those three results put Zamani at 2,500 points in the Hublot WPT Player of the Year race and well out in front.
At this point, it was truly Zamani’s race to lose.
But then, Zamani missed out on earning any more Hublot WPT Player of the Year points by failing to cash in the next 12 events of Season XV. Panzica, in the meantime, made up a lot of ground on Zamani by winning not one, but two WPT titles.Panzica first won WPT bestbet Jacksonville, cashed in WPT Five Diamond, and then won WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star to pull within 50 points of Zamani.
At the final stop of the season at Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Florida, Zamani found a cash with a 101st-place finish in the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown $3,500 Championship to earn 50 points. That might not seem like a lot, but it was just enough to mean that Panzica couldn’t just min-cash in the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Finale to win the title. A min-cash is worth 50 points and would put Zamani and Panzica in a tie, but Panzica would have won the tiebreaker for most money won.
As it turned out, the min-cash by Zamani in the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Championship was just what he needed, as Panzica then went on to earn the 50 points in the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Finale that he would’ve needed, but busted in 40th place.
Lyons, the only player left, was the last player able to catch Zamani in the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Finale, but he needed much better than a 23rd-place finish.
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