Venetian Casino regular Ben Palmer took down last night the first-ever WPT at Venetian Main Event for $431,655 in prize money
Playing regularly at the poker tables of the Venetian proved of huge help to Ben Palmer, the newest member of the WPT Champions Club. The player, who occupies the second spot on the casino’s all-time cashes list, emerged victorious in the inaugural WPT at Venetian last night, outlasting 734 tournament entries.
The final day of the $3,500 Main Event at the Venetian kicked off with nine players making up the unofficial final table. It was Palmer who led the pack into the closing stage of the game. The player had 5.46 million in chips and was the only one to have passed the 5 million chip mark at the time. Everyone left in contention at the start of Day 4 of the tournament was battling for his first WPT title.
With a first-place prize of $431,655 at stake and nine players in the hunt for it, it was clear that it would be a long day of action at the Venetian. Play extended past midnight at the host casino when Palmer finally secured the title and the lion’s share of the $2,333,800 prize pool. But the brand-new WPT champion walked a long way before claiming the prestigious title.
Day 4 Highlights
It took more than two hours of action before the official six-handed final table was set. The three eliminations leading up to the final table occurred within several hands after the first two hours of play.
By the time there were just six players left, Palmer had extended his chip lead considerably. The player started the final table with a stack nearly twice larger than his nearest opponent. The eventual champion had a total of 9.52 million in chips at that point, good for 119 big blinds. Orlando Barrera held the second largest stack at the start of the final table with 5.135 million in chips.
The first final table elimination occurred on Hand #69 when Will Givens’ [Kh][10c] clashed into Mark Ioli’s [Ac][8c]. Givens left the tournament with a payout of $87,750. Ioli himself departed in 5th place, but his departure took place after 50 more hands of play. He was eliminated by Palmer to collect $115,105 in prize money. As for the eventual champion, his stack stood at 13.25 million at that point.
Four-handed play was not a lengthy ordeal. Just a couple of hands later Tony Gargano busted Barrera in fourth place for $152,690. It was Palmer who was holding the chip lead at the start of three-handed play, but his remaining rivals – Gargano and Danny Quatami – were also running deep.
The three hopefuls battled for long hours until Quatami hit the rail on Hand #204 to claim $204,810 from the prize pool for his third-place finish.
The two-handed duel kicked off with Gargano holding the chip lead with 16.8 million to Palmer’s stack of 12.525 million. What followed was an epic heads-up battle. Gargano extended his advantage over the first half of the match until Palmer was down to just 5.45 million in chips.
The eventual champion then started gaining momentum and building back his stack. Palmer finally took back the chip lead on Hand #256 and never looked back. The moment of victory arrived on Hand #268.
Gargano went all in pre-flop for 9.5 million and Palmer called after giving his decision some thought. Gargano’s [Ah][4c] was at risk when his opponent turned over [Qd][10d]. The board ran out [9c][Jc][10h][6c][Qh] to give Palmer the title. Gargano collected $277,760 for his runner-up finish.