Poker pro Martin Zamani won his second World Series of Poker bracelet in the early hours of Monday morning after taking down the first online event of the series.
Zamani, whose brother Benjamin is also a decorated poker pro with three WSOP bracelets of his own and more than $5 million in tournament earnings, bested a stacked 156-entry field in the $5,300 no-limit hold’em freezeout on WSOP.com.
It’s his second bracelet of his career, but also of 2021. The Florida native earned a bracelet during the WSOP Online series last summer when he took down the $888 crazy eights pot-limit Omaha event for $92,598. With his victory Monday morning, Zamani’s career earnings crossed $2.9 million
He defeated top pro Ankush Mandavia heads-up to earn the bracelet and $210,600. Mandavia fell just shy of his second bracelet and took home $122,850 for his runner-up finish. His career earnings jumped to more than $5.5 million.
The eight-handed event reached a star-studded final table after Soheb Parbandarwala was sent to the rail in ninth. Upon reaching the final table, Zamani was one of the shorter stacks with about 20 big blinds, while three time World Poker Tour Champion Brian Altman held the chip lead.
High-stakes regular Alex Foxen was the shortest stack at the table by a wide margin at the outset of the final table and busted shortly after it was set when he got his last three big blinds in the middle preflop with K7 against Calvin Anderson’s J2.
Foxen flopped a seven, but Anderson rivered a jack to eliminate one of toughest players remaining in eighth.
Joe Kuether was the next go in brutal fashion when his pocket aces were cracked by Jason Koon’s A4. Kuether raised from early position and Koon was the only caller on the button. The 1084 was checked by both players and Kuether bet the 8 turn. Koon called and the 4 came on the river.
Kuether bet all but 1.5 big blinds and was raised by Koon. Kuether called and was out in seventh for $29,640. Kuether’s elimination moved Koon into the chip lead, that lead was short-lived as he doubled up both Anderson and Altman shortly after.
In a matter of minutes, Koon went from chip lead to short stack to out in sixth when he was eliminated by Daniel Sepiol.
While Koon was having large swings, Zamani won a bunch of small pots and quietly accumulated a sizable stack. When Koon was eliminated in sixth, Zamani was second in chips and not far behind Anderson.
Despite eliminating Koon, Sepiol was the short-stack at the start of five-handed play and after the blinds went up, his stack was worth less than 10 big blinds. After Mandavia limped in from the small blind, Sepiol shoved all in for slightly more than 9 big blinds with K-9. Mandavia called with pocket aces and eliminated the Indiana native in fifth.
Three out of the final four players already had bracelets to their name with Anderson having two, Mandavia and Zamani each owning one of their own, while Altman was searching for his first.
Anderson’s aspirations of winning his third was ended shortly by Zamani just a few minutes after Sepiol was sent packing.
Anderson raised from under the gun and Zamani defended his big blind. He flopped bottom two pair with 32 on a Q32 flop and all the money went in on the J turn card. Anderson called off his remaining stack with Q10 and failed to improve on the river.
The elimination put Zamani neck-and-neck with Altman for the chip lead, with both players holding about double what Mandavia had left.
Chips went flying three-handed with Mandavia doubling through Altman and into the chip lead before Zamani doubled through Mandavia, moving Zamani into the chip lead for the first time. It left Mandavia with about 7 big blinds compared to Altman’s 41 big blind-stack and Zamani’s 72 blinds.
Despite the chip disparity, Altman and Zamani played a huge coinflip for all the chips that ended up basically deciding the tournament. Altman raised on the button and Zamani moved all in out of the big blind. Altman called.
Altman showed 88 and Zamani turned up KQ. The flop was J98, putting Altman in great shape but the 10 came on the turn, filling Zamani’s gutshot straight draw. Altman needed the board to pair to stay alive, but the Q came on the river sending Altman home just a few spots shy of his first bracelet.
Zamani then started heads-up play with 3,3650,000 compared to Mandavia’s 249,000. Any possibility of an epic comeback was squashed early on when Zamani shoved with J-7 and was called by Mandavia’s K-5. Zamani flopped trip jacks and Mandavia was drawing dead on the turn.
Final Table Results: