In winning the WPT Venetian, his first World Poker Tour title, Ben Palmer showed why you should never give up with a small chip stack. After Day Two on Sunday, he was near the bottom of the leaderboard. Two days later, he became a Champions Club member and is $431,655 richer.
Palmer’s run to the top started on Day Three (Monday). He went from the bottom to chip leader by day’s end. And then finished off the impressive run with a tournament victory on Tuesday in Las Vegas.
Long, Grueling Session
Tournament poker, especially major events such as the WPT, is quite a grind. Day Four on Tuesday was no exception. Nine players returned to the Venetian yesterday hoping for a six-figure score. None of them is a past World Poker Tour champion. But one competitor – Jay Farber – is a former WSOP Main Event runner-up (2013).
Farber, who hadn’t previously cashed in a WPT event, was an early elimination on Day Four, however. He exited in eighth place for $52,790. Sean Yu (ninth for $41,665) and Skip Wilson (seventh for $67,675) were also early eliminations, which set up the official final table of six.
Play began at noon PT on Tuesday and it wasn’t until after midnight before Palmer finished off Tony Gargano ($277,760) to win WPT Venetian.
In between noon and the final moment, 268 hands were dealt on Day Four. Play ran so long that by the time the last hand was dealt, with the blinds at 300,000/600,000 with a 600,000 big blind ante, both players had under 30 big blinds.
Gargano won a huge all-in against Danny Qutami (third for $204,810) which propelled him to the chip lead as heads-up play began.
He won a quick early pot against Palmer to take more than a 2-1 advantage. Moments later, he picked off a bluff with ace-high on the river and increased that lead to over 3-1.
Ben Palmer Fights Back
With momentum, if that’s even a real thing, heavily in Gargano’s favor, Palmer needed to turn the tide. And fast. He got that with a double-up with ace-high all-in pre-flop against queen-high.
Then he started grinding away at the chip leader. Just over an hour into heads-up play, Palmer was back in the lead and he finished the battle off on the 268th hand of the session.
WPT Venetian Final Table Results
- Ben Palmer ($431,655)
- Tony Gargano ($277,760)
- Danny Qutami ($204,810)
- Orlando Barrera ($152,690)
- Mark Ioli ($115,105)
- Will Givens ($87,760)