World Poker Tour Season 15 Sees Benjamin Zamani Leading Player of the Year Race

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Midway through the World Poker Tour (WPT) Season 15, two poker announcers have won titles and the Player of the Year frontrunner doesn’t have any. The season began in April at the Canadian Spring Championship.

World Poker Tour Season 15
WPT Season 15 is at the midway point and Benjamin Zamani is the Player of the Year leader.  (Image: WPT)

Seth Davies kicked off the season by outlasting 417 players in this $3,500 buy-in event to win $274,540. Tony Dunst, a WPT commentator and host of the tour’s “Raw Deal” segment on Fox Sports, finished in 6th place ($51,400).

The tour then shifted to the Netherlands in May for WPT Amsterdam. Andjelko Andrejevic won the tournament there. Anthony Zinno, the Season 13 Player of the Year, finished in 3rd place.

WPT Choctaw in Durant, Oklahoma was next up. This event had an impressive 1,066 runners paying the $3,700 admission fee. It was the first major poker tournament on the circuit, following the conclusion of the 2016 World Series of Poker.

James Mackey took 1st place and the $666,758 that came with it. Like every WPT Main Event winner, Mackey is automatically registered for the WPT Tournament of Champions season-ending event in April. He has more than $1.3 million in lifetime earnings on the World Poker Tour.

The Title-Less Champ

It’s been a good luck-bad luck year for Benjamin Zamani. The Floridian is running away with Player of the Year, but hasn’t won a tournament yet.

Despite having zero WPT titles, Zamani is putting together an impressive season. He has two runner-up finishes and a 5th place cash already this year, totaling nearly $840,000 in winnings.

Zamani’s first heads-up defeat came at WPT Choctaw in early August. Just a few weeks later, he lost a heads-up battle against Pat Lyons in the Legends of Poker tournament in Los Angeles. Hoping to get over the hump and win one at WPT Maryland Live! in October, Zamani went out in 5th place. Another impressive run for a talented player, but not quite enough luck to join the WPT Champions Club…yet.

Talent On Air and On the Felt

Mike Sexton could have retired years ago, never playing another hand of poker or announcing another WPT event, and he’d still be considered a poker great. But that hasn’t been his choice, and he’s remained active on both fronts.

Most impressively, he’s still winning at the poker table. Sexton, now 69 years old, just this week won his first WPT event in Montreal. In recent years, the general truism that seniors couldn’t beat the young bucks has been turned on its head, and Sexton is just riding that wave.

Still to Come

Season 15 will conclude in April with the Tournament of Champions (TOC). This event is only open to past tour Main Event winners. Sexton will now be invited to this tournament every year.

Before reaching the end of the season, there are still many major events to take place, including the prestigious $10,000 buy-in Five Diamond World Poker Classic at the Bellagio in Las Vegas (December 5), and the $10,000 buy-in L.A. Poker Classic (February 25) in Los Angeles.

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