World Poker Tour Player of the Year Anthony Zinno dominated final table play to win the $25,000 High Roller Pot Limit Omaha tournament at the World Series of Poker. Zinno lead for virtually the entire final day to claim the $1,122,196 first place prize.
The win was also Zinno’s first bracelet victory at the WSOP. That’s something of a surprising fact considering his success over the past year: his WPT season included back-to-back wins on tour, and he has now made five final tables at the WSOP this summer.
After battling through a final table that included the likes of Shaud Deeb, Ismael Bojang and Christian Harder, Zinno found himself heads-up with a big chip lead against Thailand’s Pakinai Lisawad. Zinno finished off his opponent in under an hour, denying Lisawad his own first bracelet.
For Zinno, winning a bracelet felt equally impressive as his consecutive WPT wins, though there was certainly something special about finally breaking through at the World Series.
“I’ve been coming to the WSOP for eight years, so this is something I really wanted longer,” Zinno told reporters after his win. “This is certainly my best day as a poker pro, and it was made even better by winning it in a game I love and also against a very skilled final table.”
Zinno’s win seemed to be coming for a while now. He finished between 5th and 7th place in four different WSOP events this year, including a seventh place finish in the High Roller for One Drop just days earlier.
That included another Omaha final table, as he finished in sixth place in the $10,000 Omaha Hi/Lo Championship three weeks earlier.
Those results have vaulted Zinno right into the middle of the WSOP Player of the Year race. He currently sits in second place, trailing only Mike Gorodinsky, winner of the $50,000 Poker Players Championship.
Many players might use such a streak to talk up their own abilities. Zinno, however, took a much more logical approach in explaining his success.
“Mathematically speaking, you can’t explain this run I’ve had,” Zinno said. “Obviously, there is some luck involved. I beat the odds. It’s a statistical anomaly.”
That said, having such an impressive performance almost always takes a combination of skill, luck, and focus, and Zinno said that he had made an effort to play his best at this year’s World Series.
“For me this summer was something I took very seriously,” he explained. “No drinking, no partying, sleep well. I looked at it this way: that this is my job.”
Given his tremendous success over the past year, it is only natural that some start asking whether Zinno should be counted among the world’s very best poker players.
Zinno himself says that such talk is premature, however, and says it would take more than good results for him to truly be considered among the greats of the game.
“I hope in five to 10 years to be among the ranks of someone like Daniel Negreanu,” he said. “There’s a lot more to the game than just being skilled. There’s how much you put into the promotion of the game and encourage others to try it, and to encourage others to be respectful to new players, dealers, and staff. I haven’t done my part yet, but I intend to.”