One of the virtues of the short handed final table format is anybody can win; and it’s this fascination that creates such a wonderful television product for the WPT; yet despite that fact, when the final table of the WPT Borgata Poker Open began, there wasn’t a single person who was looking past either Cong Pham or Vanessa Selbst as the tours next figurehead.
With the exception of Day Three, Cong had led the field each day he took to the felt, and he was also quickest out of the traps on the day that mattered most. Eric Fields was the unfortunate soul to feel the blunt force trauma of a man on heat, after his pocket jacks lost a flip against ace-king – Pham catching an ace on the river to send Fields out in sixth.
Jeremy Kottler closed the gap on Pham when he eliminated David Randall in fifth place. The action folding to Randall in the small blind to open with pocket jacks, Kottler moved all-in from the big blind holding [Ah] [9h] and Randall made the call. Once again jacks failed to outlive that ace as a second one appeared on the flop to send Randall to the rail.
That hand left Selbst and Zinno at the foot of the chip counts, but that would change dramatically as Selbst found just the run of cards she needed. The two-time World Series of Bracelet (WSOP) holder, Selbst, opened from the button and Pham made the call in the big blind. The flop was a very wet looking [Jh] [Th] [9d], Pham committed Selbst with a check-raise and she promptly moved all-in. Pham made the call and the pair we soon staring at one of the most important all-ins of their careers. It was Pham in the lead with [9h] [6h] for bottom pair and a flush draw, and Selbst was holding [Ad] [Qd] for the draws. The turns card was the [Jd], the river card was the [Ts], and Selbst’s ace played as the board double paired, much to the chagrin of Pham.
The roll continued when Selbst eliminated Jeremy Kottler in fourth. Once again it was a blind skirmish as Selbst moved all-in from the small, holding [Ah] [6c], and Kottler called in the large holding pocket fives. An ace on the flop, and turn, sealing Kottler’s fate and Selbst was a now a force to be reckoned with.
So where was Anthony Zinno at this final table? The former 11th place finisher at the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open, sprung to life after doubling through Selbst not long after Kottler had hit the rail. The pair got it in pre flop with Selbst holding [Ah] [9s] and Zinno holding that bogey hand pocket jacks. Zinno finding more luck that the previous two players who held it; this time Selbst could not find the ace she needed and just like that Zinno had the chip lead.
Everyone knows three is a crowd and it was Cong Pham who would step out of the way to leave us with a company. Zinno opened the button, Pham three-bet from the big blind, Zinno made a four bet, Pham moved all-in and Zinno called. It was [Ad] [Ks] for Zinno and the poor unfortunate Pham was holding [As] [Qh]. The king kicker played and Zinno (16,995,000) and Selbst (18,660,000) were heads up for the title.
Despite being the overwhelming favorite to take the title, heads up tournament poker so often comes down to that vital all-in and call, and this would be no different. After Zinno had captured the chip lead he opened the action and called a Selbst shove holding [Ac] [6d]. Selbst showed [Ks] [Tc] and the board stayed clear of either hand to present Zinno with the title with just ace high. Selbst will have to wait for her impressive name to be etched into the trophy, as she finished in second place.
It was a huge moment for Zinno as the young professional player took the first major title of his career.1st: Anthony Zinno – $825,099 2nd: Vanessa Selbst – $492,569 3rd: Cong Pham – $301,225 4th: Jeremy Kottler – $251,968 5th: David Randall – $208,394 6th: Eric Fields – $168,610