Anthony Zinno entered the final table at the WPT LA Poker Classic $10,000 NLHE main event in the fifth position. With the starting field of 538 players down to six, Zinno wasn’t exactly in a dominating position, but he somehow managed to play his way to the title, his second straight WPT win.
For his efforts, Zinno nabbed $1,015,860, the first seven-figure cash of his career. His third WPT title puts him in elite company, joining Gus Hansen and Carlos Mortensen as the only three-time champs.
Speaking of poker legends, Phil Ivey is having an incredible run of his own, albeit one heading in the opposite direction. Following back-to-back weeks of consecutive $600,000 losses in February, Ivey dished out another $373,000 over the last seven days bringing his 2015 campaign to $1.3 million in the red. Although chump change for a man whose live earnings have surpassed $23 million, his recent struggles are certainly remarkable.
In February, Zinno bested 419 entries on his way to winning the Niagara Fallsview WPT $5,000 CAD ($3,964 US) Main Event. The $302,235 prize was just his second six-figure payout, the first coming in 2013 when he won his first WPT title, the $3,500 NLHE Borgata Poker Open.
Following his second championship, Zinno said that joining the prestigious two-timers club that includes the likes of Daniel Negreanu and JC Tran gives him “chills.” We can only imagine how Zinno is feeling now that he’s surpassed those icons in WPT titles.
The final table of the LA Poker Classic began relatively slow for Zinno. His first big win resulted from pushing 955,000 all-in with a pair of jacks against a pair of eights for Peter Neff.
A third jack on the river gave him the pot. After improving his position and obtaining the chip lead, Chris Klodnicki, the most experienced player at the table, put Zinno back to the short stack on the 128th hand. However, Zinno’s fortune quickly changed through a series of hands in his favor.
Heads-up play commenced on hand #162 with Mike Leah, a player with an impressive resume that features 124 live cashes, 12 wins, and a WSOP bracelet. 10 rather mundane hands were exchanged before the final hand, #173. Leah min-raised, with Zinno raising to 825,000. Leah then went all-in with 3.95 million and followed by the call, Zinno revealed a pair of aces to Leah’s A-3. The flop, turn, and river of 10-5-2-3-5 didn’t help Leah, giving Zinno the title and million-dollar payday.
It’s hard to feel too bad for Phil Ivey. The guy is a millionaire 100 times over according to estimates, but his marathon struggles at the online felt is certainly worthy of a bit of empathy. Yes, he won the Aussie Millions Boutique Challenge in February and the WSOP $1,500 Eight Game Mix in June, his 10th bracelet, but other than that he’s struggled over the last 12 months.
Ivey’s play has certainly been “Polarizing,” and by all estimates he’s lost more in online poker this year than any other player. On top of his poker losses, he also lost his $11 million Crockfords baccarat edge-sorting case. Of course, the old adage “You have to spend money to make money” doesn’t necessarily correspond with the game of poker, but it would still be foolish to bet against Ivey returning to his dominating ways.