Wait Is Worth It For New WPT Champion Zakarian

Veerab Zakarian is the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Main Event champion

Veerab Zakarian reached the final table of the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Main Event in January 2020. The final table was scheduled to take place in Las Vegas on April 1, 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic put paid to those plans.

The delayed final table finally took place this week, and the wait was worth it for Zakarian because he came out on top to secure a $674,840 payday. Zakarian not only won the tournament but did so in style, busting four of his five opponents.

Play began at 16:00 PDT on May 16, with Zakarian holding the chip lead. He started the final table with 11,990,000 chips and quickly added to his stack.

The 24th hand of the evening saw Andrew Hanna move all-in from the cutoff for 2,325,000 or 15.5 big blinds. Zakarian called from the small blind with Ts-Th and was delighted to see Hanna roll over 2d-2c. A ten on the Jc-Tc-3h flop left Hanna drawing thin. A full house on the turn, thanks to the Js, left him drawing dead.

Bin Weng busted ten hands later, doing so at the hands of WSOP bracelet winner James Anderson. Nathan Russler min-raised to 300,000 under the gun, Anderson three-bet to 875,000, only for Weng to four-bet jam for 5,550,000. Russler ducked out of the way, but Anderson called. It was 9s-9c for Weng and Kc-Kh for Anderson. The board ran Ks-Jd-8d-8h-9d to send Weng home in fifth.

Zakarian the Executioner

Anderson sending Weng to the showers was the final time anyone except Zakarian eliminated an opponent.

Hand 48 saw the demise of Russler. Zakarian min-raised to 400,000 with Qh-Qc, and quickly called when Russler three-bet all-in for 3,675,000 with what turned out to be Kc-Jc. Russler paired his king on the flop, but his opponent flopped a set. The board read Kh-Qs-6s-2h-As by the river, which reduced the player count by one.

Another ten hands played out before WPT Player of the Year, Brian Altman, fell by the wayside. Altman’s exit hand started innocuously enough; he min-raised to 400,000 on the button, and Zakarian called in the big blind. Both players checked the Qd-5h-3h flop before Zkarian checked the As turn. Altman took the bait and bet 1,000,000. Zakarian thought for a while before calling.

The river was the 9d, Zakarian checked again, Altman bet 2,800,000, only for Zakarian to check-raise all-in. Altman went into the tank, used two of his timebank cards before emerging with a call for his remaining 1,250,000 chips. Altman showed Ac-3c, but Zakarian flipped over 4h-2c for a five-high straight.

More Than 200 Big Blinds In Play When Heads-Up

Zakarian held a 28,375,000 to 23,125,000 chip lead over Anderson going into heads-up. Both players’ stacks contained more than 100 big blinds, so the one-on-one section was destined to take a while.

The players needed exactly 80 hands to conclude the tournament. The champion elect had Anderson on the ropes in the latter stages, although Anderson started making a comeback. That comeback ended on the 138th hand of the final table.

Zakarian set Anderson all-in for his last 4.3 big blinds, and Anderson called. It was Tc-5d for Zakarian and Jh-4d for Anderson. The five community cards fell 8c-6h-4c-7s-3s to hand Zakarian the title of champion and $674,840 in prize money.

WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Main Event Final Table Results

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

The $674,840 prize pushed the champion’s lifetime winnings through the $1 million mark. His previous largest score weighed in at $63,340, so this one blows it out of the water. The latest WPT champion may not be a household name in the poker world, but there is no doubt he will crop up again in another major tournament sooner rather than later.

Lead image courtesy of the World Poker Tour

Matthew Pitt

If it’s something you can play online for real money, chances are Matthew knows a bit about it. He’s been writing about slots, craps and poker for the better part of the last decade. He’s written for PokerNews, PartyPoker and many other respected online gambling websites during the last nine years.


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