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Ben Palmer Wins Inaugural World Poker Tour Venetian for $431,655

Ben Palmer

The World Poker Tour (WPT) hosted its first-ever stop at the Venetian in Las Vegas, and the $3,500 buy-in Main Event attracted 734 entries.

The tournament came to an end with poker pro Ben Palmer on top for $431,655, which includes a $15,000 entry into the Baccarat Crystal Tournament of Champions. Entering the tournament, the 35-year-old Palmer sat second on Venetian’s all-time cash list with 88 cashes. His 89th proved to be the biggest of his career.

"It means a lot. It's one of the casinos in Vegas I play at the most," Palmer told WPT officials after the win.

Prior to the win Palmer had just over $2.3 million with a prior best of $189,975 for winning the 2008 Festa Al Lago Classic. Other highlights on his poker résumé include $185,426 for placing third in the 2013 World Series of Poker Event #11: $2,500 NLH 6-Handed, second in the 2018 WSOP Circuit Planet Hollywood Main Event for $118,849, and fifth in the 2015 WSOP Circuit Planet Hollywood Main Event for $91,052.

WPT Venetian Final Table Results

1Ben Palmer$431,655*
2Tony Gargano$277,760
3Danny Qutami$204,810
4Orlando Barrera$152,690
5Mark Ioli$115,105
6Will Givens$87,760

*Includes $15,000 entry into Baccarat Crystal Tournament of Champions.

Others to cash the tournament were Aaron Massey (10th - $41,665), Eric Baldwin (12th - $33,270), David Williams (14th - $26,890), Freddy Deeb (23rd - $15,270), Nick Jivkov (43rd - $9,705), Maria Ho (53rd - $8,565), and Tony Dunst (56th - $8,565).

Final Table Action

According to updates from the event, Day 4 saw nine players return to action with Palmer leading the way. Three of them needed to hit the rail before the final table was set, and they were recent LFG Podcast guest Sean Yu (9th - $41,665), Jay Farber (8th - $52,790), and Skip Wilson (7th - $67,675).

On Hand #69 of the official final table, Will Givens got his stack all in holding king-jack but failed to get there against the ace-eight of Mark Ioli, who followed him out the door in fifth place on Hand #109. That is when Ioli made two pair only to see Palmer roll over a turned straight.

Mark Ioli
Mark Ioli

Six hands later, Orlando Barrera shoved the flop holding kings and sixes only to see Tony Gargano table pocket kings for quads! The next bustout wouldn’t come until Hand #204, which is when Danny Qutami jammed with ace-eight against Gargano’s ace-queen suited. The superior ace held and Gargano entered heads-up play with a slight lead over Palmer.

The duo would battle until things came to a head on Hand #268. By that point Palmer had pulled out to a sizeable lead when Gargano jammed holding ace-four. Palmer opted to call with queen-ten suited and wound up making two pair to dispatch Gargano in second place for $277,760.

According to the WPT, it was the longest thus far in Season XVII and longest since the 284 hands it took Jason Brin to win the Season XIV WPT Choctaw.

The WPT’s next event will be in Florida from April 12-16 for the $3 million guaranteed WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown.

Photos c/o WPT and Joe Giron/Jamie Thomson/pokerphotoarchive.com

  • Ben Palmer (@Bennyp03) topped 734-entry field to win the @WPT @VenetianPoker Main Event for $431,655

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