PokerNews Performance of the Week: Sam Panzica Wins His Second WPT Title of the Season
Every week, PokerNews will bring you the top performance from the previous week.
There were many great performances last week. Greece’s “geob000” won the PokerStars $215 Sunday Million for $149,332. The United Kingdom's Andy Hills shipped the 2017 GUKPT Manchester Main Event for £46,987 as part of a four-way deal for £46,987. Italy's Federico Drassich securing three Cash Game Festival records in Slovenia including being the biggest winner on a feature table twice on the same day, three times in the same festival and three times across any Cash Game Festival.
Florida's Sam Panzica easily outshone them all. He won his second WPT title in the season and his second overall after he outlasted a record field of 806 players to win the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star $7,500 Main Event for $1,373,000 on March 11.
The American previously won the WPT bestbet Bounty Scramble in October for $354,335 for his first WPT title.
The final table included one big name after another. In addition to Panzica, the final six included Anthony Spinella, Chino Rheem, Paul Volpe, Dennis Stevermer and Rainer Kempe.
All eyes were on Rheem who headed into the final table with a 3:1 chip advantage over Rainer Kempe in second place. Rheem was looking to become the first player to win four WPT titles. However, he was unable to parlay his big stack into a win and remains tied with last week's PokerNews Top Performace of the Week winner Darren Elias, Anthony Zinno, Carlos Mortensen and Gus Hansen for winning three WPT titles.
After Kempe (sixth place - $188,460) and Stevermer (fifth place - $243,090) were eliminated from the tournament, Rheem's lead increased to the point where he held more than half the chips in play. Rheem then lost some chips before he eliminated Paul Volpe in fourth place for $349,610.
Panzica was the shortest stack in play with just 20 big blinds and his two opponents were north of 60 big blinds when he doubled up with pocket aces against Rheem's suited queen-jack.
Rheem lost another big pot to Panzica before his run to stand alone in the WPT history books ended. Spinella won a big pot off of Rheem in an all-in preflop hand where his king-jack outraced Rheem's ace-queen. Rheem, with just a few chips left after this hand, hit the rails in third place for $521,660.
Panzica headed into the heads-up battle with a 3:1 chip advantage. However, things were just about evened up when Spinella out-flipped Panzica's pocket sevens with king-jack. Spinella got most of the chips back the following hand.
Just two hands later, Panzica secured his second title after his ace-ten held against Spinella's ace-eight. According to the official records, Spinella collected $786,610 for his runner-up performance; however, according to figures Panzica mentioned on Twitter, Spinella walked away with an almost seven-digit haul after agreeing to a heads-up deal.
Panzica's victory was easily the largest of his poker career. Before this event, his biggest was about a year ago, when in February 2016 he won the EPT Event #54: €10,300 No Limit Hold'em High Roller - 8 Handed for €375,770 ($418,704).
According to The Hendon Mob, Panzica now has more than $3.3 million in live tournament cashes placing him in 17th place on the Florida All-Time Money List.
*Lead image courtesy of WPT.
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