After Yearlong Delay Veerab Zakarian Wins WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open ($674,840)

Veerab Zakarian

The $3,500 World Poker Tour (WPT) Borgata Winter Poker Open final table was originally set to play out for April 1, 2020, but due to the pandemic, it was delayed for over a year. On Sunday, the final six players from a 1,290-entry field congregated at PokerGO Studio in Las Vegas to play to a winner.

Toronto’s Veerab Zakarian, 25, began the final table as the chip leader and he rode it all the way to victory to capture a $674,840 top prize and etch his name on the Mike Sexton WPT Champions cup.

“Waiting this long, you didn’t know what to expect. You don’t know, you keep waiting for it,” Zakarian said after the win. “Most people, after the pandemic, they didn’t have anything to look forward to so I was glad to have something to look forward to.”

He continued: “Everyone always wants the bracelet but these days it looks like the WPT is what everyone is chasing. Because the bracelets, there’s so many of them. But the WPT is special, especially Borgata. When you think of poker on the East Coast, the first thing you think of is Borgata. Winning something like this.”

Prior to the win, Zakarian had $496,610 in live lifetime earnings according to The Hendon Mob. His previous best cash was $63,340 for winning the 2018 MSPT Seneca Niagara Main Event.

WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Final Table Results

1Veerab Zakarian$674,840
2James Anderson$449,904
3Brian Altman$333,012
4Nathan Russler$248,913
5Bin Weng$187,900
6Andrew Hanna$143,264

Brian Altman, who recently won the Season XVIII Hublot WPT Player of the Year, was looking to claim a WPT title, but his run fell short in third place. According to updates from the event, three players remain in Level 33 (100,000/200,000/200,000) on Hand #58 of the final table.

Altman raised the button to 400,000 and Zakarian called before both players checked the {q-Diamonds}{5-Hearts}{3-Hearts} flop. On the {a-Spades} turn, Zakarian check-called a bet of 1 million and the {9-Diamonds} completed the board on the river. Zakarian checked, Altman bet 2.8 million, and Zakarian check-jammed. Altman called off his last 1.25 million with the {a-Clubs}{3-Clubs} for two pair but it was no good as Zakarian rolled over the {4-Hearts}{2-Clubs} for a winning wheel.

To close things out, Zakarian had to contend with James Anderson in heads-up play. Anderson had finished runner-up in the same tournament back in Season XI (2013), and unfortunately for him, he had to once again settle for second place.

The duo began heads-up play nearly even in chips, and their match would last more than 80 hands in which both players took turns holding the chip lead.

James Anderson
James Anderson

In what would be the final hand of the tournament, which took place in Level 38 (300,000/600,000/600,000), Zakarian moved all in from the button holding the {10-Clubs}{5-Diamonds} and Anderson, who had lost most of his stack with king-five against pocket sixes all in preflop, called off his last 2 million with the {j-Hearts}{4-Diamonds}. Anderson flopped a pair to take the lead, but the turn hit Zakarian by giving him an eight-high straight. Anderson earned $449,904 for his second-place finish.

“With the money, poker is starting to pick up so many more tournaments and cash games around Vegas for the next month or two,” Zakarian said. “Maybe the WPT here in July at Venetian or Tampa. I hope the WPT will go back to Borgata or Fallsview since I’m close to Canada. I’ll try my luck again and see what happens.”

Two more delayed WPT final tables are set to play out in the coming days including the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown and LAPC. PokerNews will publish recaps from both once winners are determined.

Images courtesy of WPT.

  • After a year-long delay, Veerab Zakarian won the @WPT @BorgataPoker Winter Open for $674,840.

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Executive Editor U.S.

Executive Editor US, PokerNews Podcast co-host & 2013 WSOP Bracelet Winner.

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