The World Poker Tour (WPT) has crowned Benjamin Zamani the Season XV Hublot Player of the Year after surviving a late charge from Sam Panzica and Pat Lyons at the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Finale in Florida.
— World Poker Tour (@WPT) April 5, 2017
Zamani propelled himself into a seemingly unassailable lead early doors when he finished runner-up to James Mackey in WPT Choctaw and Pat Lyons in the WPT Legends of Poker event at the Bike, before finishing fifth in WPT Maryland Live!
WPT stalwart, Mike Sexton, was the first to apply some pressure on Zamani when he won the WPT Montreal Main Event, finished fourth at the WPT LA Poker Classic, and then 22nd in the Bay 101 Shooting Stars.
And then Samuel Panzica came into the picture after winning both the WPT bestbet Bounty Scramble and Bay 101 Shooting Star events as well as cashing in the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic in 64th place.
Going into the final weekend in Florida Panzica needed to finish 18th or higher to overtake Zamani at the last hurdle but fell just short of the finishing line exiting the tournament in 40th place. That left the WPT Legends of Poker Champion, Pat Lyons, needing to win the event to take the Player of the Year honours, but Lyons fell short ending in 23rd place and thus confirming Zamani as the champion.
Zamani earned over $800,000 during Season XV, but never managed to take down a title. Panzica, on the other hand, won two events and earned over $1.7m and can count himself unlucky that the algorithm didn’t fall in his favour.
Here is a reminder of the incredible crowd that Zamani now belongs to:
Season 1: Howard Lederer
Season 2: Erick Lindgren
Season 3: Daniel Negreanu
Season 4: Gavin Smith
Season 5: JC Tran
Season 6: Jonathan Little
Season 7: Bertrand Grospellier
Season 8: Faraz Jaka
Season 9: Andy Frankenberger
Season 10: Joe Serock
Season 11: Matt Salsberg
Season 12: Mukul Pahuja
Season 13: Anthony Zinno
Season 14: Mike Shariati