Ant Zinno Wins $25K PLO Bracelet, $1.1M; Takes Huge BLUFF POY Lead

Anthony Zinno has already made history in 2015, and he's set himself up to make even more going into the second half of the year.

Anthony Zinno has already made history in 2015, and he’s set himself up to make even more going into the second half of the year.

History has been made a number of times so far at the 2015 World Series of Poker. From the biggest live tournament field ever in the Colossus to Phil Hellmuth’s record-extending 14th bracelet win, Jeff Madsen joining a select group of 30-year-olds with four bracelets to Tuan Le’s repeat in the $10,000 Deuce to Triple Draw and a whole lot more, there’s been a lot to celebrate.

What Anthony Zinno accomplished Wednesday night at the 2015 WSOP could easily stand with many of those accomplishments, and the reigning World Poker Tour Player of the Year has positioned himself to do something only one other player in history has ever accomplished.

$25,000 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller

The first few weeks of the 2015 WSOP were slow ones for Anthony Zinno, with no cashes to speak of in the first 20 events of the Series. He made his first real statement in the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Championship, where Zinno ultimately finished sixth – making his first career WSOP final table and earning the biggest WSOP cash of his career, surpassing a previous deep run in the 2008 Main Event.

Zinno barely hesitated in jumping into the $5,000 Eight Max No Limit Hold’em event, where he’d go on to take seventh. After a couple more weeks of inactivity in mid-June, Zinno made his third final table in his third cash of the summer in the $10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship, where he took fifth. A few days later Zinno enjoyed another career highlight, making the final table of the One Drop High Roller where he’d ultimately get bad beat out of the tournament in seventh by eventual champion Jonathan Duhamel.

Undeterred, Zinno once again hopped right back into the action, taking his seat in the $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller and eventually building up quite a stack for himself going into Day 3. That lead continued to grow throughout the day, first into the final table and then when action got down to four players. Zinno took full advantage of those chips and won the biggest Pot Limit Omaha event ever held at the WSOP, along with its $1.1 million first place prize and the most coveted trophy in poker, the gold bracelet.

The reigning WPT Player of the Year, who earned that honor thanks largely to back-to-back WPT titles which included the LA Poker Classic, positioned himself for a chance to do something only one poker player has ever done – be the reigning and defending WPT and WSOP POY at the exact same time. Daniel Negreanu accomplished that goal in reverse, taking down WSOP POY honors in 2004 and then WPT POY for Season III (’04/’05).

What’s more, Zinno – who edged past Dzmitry Urbanovich in the 2015 BLUFF POY race after making the One Drop High Roller final table – has already crossed the 1,200 point mark with half a year to go. For perspective, that’s nearly as many points as Negreanu needed through the entire year to win BLUFF POY in 2013.

Zinno has some more work to do to pass Mike Gorodinsky in the WSOP race, and he didn’t wait long to hop right in the $10,000 HORSE Championship in an effort to keep his run going through the end of the summer with just a few more chances to play for a bracelet.

While a bracelet victory provided reason enough for Zinno to celebrate, his path to victory made it that much sweeter at the end. 12 players returned for Day 3, with Talal Shakerchi (10th) among those who fell before the official final table of eight. Shaun Deeb (8th), Alexander Kostritsyn (7th), Ismael Bojang (6th), Juha Helppi (5th) and Christian Harder (4th) all fell as Zinno accumulated a progressively larger percentage of the chips in play.

Pakinai Lisawad eventually took out third place finisher Stian Usterud to go up against Zinno at a disadvantage of just over 2-to-1, and only once to Lisawad put a true scare in Zinno. All the chips got in preflop with Zinno holding A A K K while Lisawad had A A 8 2 and by the turn Zinno had to fade both diamond and club flush draws while hoping for one of two case kings, only for the river to brick out for a chopped pot.

The clinching hand for Zinno also had aces in it. Lisawad raised and then called all in with K J 7 3 while Zinno held A A T Q. Lisawad had the lead by the turn of a 5 4 3 7 board, but the A river gave Zinno the title with a dramatic flourish.

Final Results

  1. Anthony Zinno – $1,122,196
  2. Pakinai Lisawad – $693,553
  3. Stian Usterud – $456,522
  4. Christian Harder – $332,998
  5. Juha Helppi – $247,754
  6. Ismael Bojang – $187,571
  7. Alexander Kostritsyn – $144,305
  8. Shaun Deeb – $112,675

$1,000 No Limit Hold’em

Three days was nearly enough to crown a champion in Event 57, with Takahiro Nakai claiming more than 90 percent of the chips in play on the final hand of the night Tuesday by calling all in with ace-queen high and holding. Mel Wiener put up a fight when he and Nakai returned to play heads-up for the bracelet Wednesday afternoon, earning one double in the process, but the gap was simply too large for Wiener to come back from.

On the eighth hand of Day 4, Wiener limped the button, Nakai shoved and Wiener called all in with A J. Nakai had live cards with Q 7 and took the lead on a Q J 6 flop. Wiener picked up four more outs on the K turn but the 9 river earned Nakai the victory – the second bracelet ever won by a Japanese player.

For his efforts Wiener, who won a bracelet in 1996 and took second in a Pot Limit Hold’em event in 2002, nearly matched the biggest cash of his career for nearly a quarter-million dollars.

Nakai, a 36-year-old High Tech Specialist from Osaka, joins Naoya Kihara, who won the first ever Japanese WSOP bracelet back in 2012.

Final Results

  1. Takahiro Nakai – $399,039
  2. Mel Wiener – $248,034
  3. Paul Vas Nunes – $175,559
  4. Glenn Lafaye – $126,612
  5. Jonas Lauck – $92,453
  6. Robert Plitz – $68,317
  7. David Martinezcano – $51,103
  8. Frederico Dabus – $38,676
  9. Barry Shultz – $29,619

$1,500 No Limit Hold’em

With all the history being made this summer at the Rio, Jamie Gold was looking to join in on the fun and join fellow Main Event champions Phil Hellmuth and Jonathan Duhamel in adding to his bracelet tally. He entered Day 3 second in chips and made a strong push towards the lead, but his dreams of a second WSOP bracelet ended in fifth place, just before the close of the night Wednesday.

Four players remain in the hunt for the bracelet in Event 59, including 2014 Ladies Event champion Haixia Zhang. She has the chiplead going into Day 4 as she plays for her second bracelet, but the final four are all bunched together pretty tightly going into Thursday’s action. Most notable among Zhang’s competition is Yorane Kerignard, who finished 23rd in the 2014 WSOP Main Event.

William Reynolds (27th), Nicolau Villa Lobos (24th), Joe Kuether (23rd), Jesse Yaginuma (20th), Harrison Gimbel (18th), Ari Engel (14th) and Mark Darner (12th) all went out over the course of Day 3.

Play is set to resume at 1 pm PST, and they’ll go as long as it takes to crown a champion.

Chip Counts & Results

  1. Haixia Zhang – 4,800,000
  2. Alex Lindop – 4,200,000
  3. Aurelien Guiglini – 3,655,000
  4. Yorane Kerignard – 3,490,000
  5. Jamie Gold – $120,952
  6. Luis Fabio Fonseca Freitas – $89,473
  7. Jason Robert Herron – $67,058
  8. Joshua Evans – $50,897
  9. Rick Alvarado – $39,085

$1,111 Little One for One Drop

The fourth-largest field to date at the 2015 WSOP contributed quite a bit of money to charity, but with two full days of poker in the books there’s a serious amount of money awaiting quite a few of the 128 players who made it through.

Jonathan Kamhazi (1,238,000) and Michael Del Vecchio are the only two players with over 1 million, but there are tons of notables a little further down the chip counts at the end of Day 2. Rocco Palumbo (680,000), Chris Hunichen (596,000), Joey Weissman (581,000) and Jared Hamby (555,000) are all among the biggest stacks. Men Nguyen hasn’t won at the WSOP since 2010, but he too seems well primed for a run at victory, which would be the eighth bracelet of his career if he were so lucky.

Dominik Nitsche, Matt Stout, Marc-Andre Ladouceur, Jonathan Little, Xuan Liu and Mohsin Charania are just a few of the other big names who are also still in contention for the ‘Little One’ title.

They’ll be back at 2 pm PST Thursday with a long day of poker ahead of all those poised to make an even deeper run.

Chip Counts

  1. Jonathan Kamhazi – 1,238,000
  2. Michael Del Vecchio – 1,008,000
  3. Andy Spears – 970,000
  4. Jamie Vos – 960,000
  5. Steve Foutty – 914,000
  6. Bao Nguyen – 892,000
  7. Upeshka De Silva – 808,000
  8. Lucas Imamura – 784,000
  9. Mazin Khoury – 778,000
  10. Geoffrey Rasmussen – 743,000

$10,000 HORSE

The opportunities to win a bracelet in 2015 are rapidly shrinking, with less than 10 left up for grabs in Las Vegas. There’s even fewer shots at a Championship-level title, with just the HORSE, Dealer’s Choice and Main Event remaining at the $10,00 buy-in level.

HORSE is the first of those three titles that will get decided, and whomever is the last standing among the 204 who entered on Day 1 is set to take home more than a half-million dollars. Eli Elezra has the overnight chiplead, with a bracelet to his credit already in 2015. Randy Ohel (113,600), David Chiu (107,500), Greg Raymer (103,700), Andrew Brown (98,600), Ted Forrest (92,900) and Scotty Nguyen (92,300) all finished the night in the top 10.

All-told, 122 players made it through to Day 2. One of the chief among them is Anthony Zinno, who more than doubled his starting stack Wednesday after hopping into this tournament straight after winning the $25,000 PLO High Roller. Brian Hastings, who already has two wins to his credit at the 2015 WSOP, also bagged after spending most of the late stages of the night seated next to Zinno. Previous Poker Players Championship winners Matt Ashton and John Hennigan lurk just outside the top 20.

The 204 players this tournament drew is up slightly from 200 in 2014. The top 24 spots pay out, with first place sitting at $517,766. 2 pm PST is the scheduled restart time.

Chip Counts

  1. Eli Elezra – 160,100
  2. Michele Limongi – 127,500
  3. Randy Ohel – 113,600
  4. David Chiu – 107,500
  5. Jussi Nevanlinna – 105,500
  6. Greg Raymer – 103,700
  7. Andrew Brown – 98,600
  8. Jean Gaspard – 96,500
  9. Ted Forrest – 92,900
  10. Scotty Nguyen – 92,300

$1,500 No Limit Hold’em Bounty

The first ever bounty event at the WSOP went off without a hitch Wednesday, and with extra incentive to go after opponents in the format the field nearly played itself all the way down to the bubble on the first day.

In total, 2,178 players signed up to try to knock out as many players as they could at $500 a pop. While there was no running tally of bounties, it’s safe to say Christopher Brammer likely got quite a few as he bagged an astounding 242,100, well ahead of the pack after Day 1. Liv Boeree (168,600) is second, and she’s in search of her first cash of the 2015 WSOP.

Niall Farrell (140,000), Zo Karim (129,100), Kevin Saul (107,700) and Govert Metaal (98,600) also had strong Day 1’s.

The money bubble sits at 243 players, with 281 total players making it through to Day 2. A top prize of $333,351 and the bracelet awaits the champ.

Play resumes at 1 pm PST Thursday.

Chip Counts

  1. Christopher Brammer – 242,100
  2. Liv Boeree – 168,600
  3. William Foxen – 163,900
  4. Andrew Crookston – 160,400
  5. Vitezslav Pesta – 151,400
  6. James Manning – 147,300
  7. Dan Larsen – 147,200
  8. Anton Smirnov – 144,900
  9. Guillaume Marechal – 144,300
  10. Niall Farrell – 140,000

Looking Ahead

The first ever online WSOP bracelet event is here, and it kicks off at 12 pm PST. All Nevada residents with a WSOP.com account are eligible, and they’ll play throughout the day until they reach a final table of six. Those players will head to the Rio on July 4 to play it out for the bracelet.

For the Mixed Game enjoyers out there, the $1,500 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo begins at 4 pm PST.

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Tim Fiorvanti

Tim Fiorvanti graduated from St. John's University with a B.S. in Journalism in 2008. After several years in the industry, he started working for BLUFF in the summer of 2010. He worked his way up at BLUFF and joined full time as a Senior Writer in April of 2012. Fiorvanti now serves as the Managing Editor of BLUFF. He's a tortured Mets and Jets fan, along with several other frustrating allegiances, but he's also a two-time defending BLUFF Fantasy Football Champion.
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