LAS VEGAS (4 June 2017) – The first Omaha bracelet of the 2017 World Series of Poker went to Benjamin Zamani in the early hours of Sunday morning. Zamani's's triumph in Event $4, $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better, was worth $238,620, but came only after a grueling 11-hour Day 3 session.
The bracelet win was Zamani's second. His prior triumph came in a $1,500 no-limit hold'em tourney in 2015.
Twenty-nine players began the day with chips in the first limit event on the 2017 WSOP's tourney slate, assuring a tough test for whomever walked away with the triumph. Zamani, runner-up Jared Hemingway, and third-place finisher Alex Ferrari entered three-handed play roughly equal in chips, but Ferrari's cards turned cold there, with the bulk of his chips going to Zamani.
Zamani, a German-born US citizen now living in Florida, entered heads-up play with a nearly 3:1 lead over Hemingway. However, the battle wasn't done, despite hefty blinds that caused wild swings in the two men's chip stacks. Before being knocked out, Hemingway doubled up twice on all-ins and chopped several other all-in hands as well.
The end came after the day's official final level, Level 30, had concluded. Zamani and Hemingway agreed to play one extra level, and after a brief break, the chips went in quickly. By this juncture Zamani had built more than a 10:1 edge, and after scooping a hi-only hand with a jack-high straight to Hemingway's trip fours, Zamani had Hemingway down to 20,000 chips, less than a single small blind.
After one chopped hand, Zamani closed out the action with a six-low, playing a five and a four from his hand, and a modest pair of tens. Hemingway, though, couldn't beat either half, and the win was Zamani's. The $238,620 payday pushed Zamani over $1.1 million in career WSOP winnings.
Zamani spoke briefly to the WSOP after his win. "I was running pretty good starting three-handed, so it didn't take too long," as Zamani put it, "to finish it off." That three-handed duel wound up with relative speed only after a couple of levels of five-handed play passed with no players being bounced from the table.
Zamani also had good words for his heads-up opponent, Hemingway, whose $147,428 second-place cash was a career best by a large margin. "He played well," said Zamani. "He was aggressive enough to be dangerous."
Event #4 winner Zamani is the only one of this event's finalists to previously win a WSOP bracelet. Zamani's prior win came in the 2015 WSOP, when he captured one of that year's $1,500 no-limit hold'em events. Zamani's career-best WSOP cash of $460,640 came in that win.
Numerous well-known players were among the 136 who cashed in Event #4 but fell short of the final table. Among those collecting a payday in this event were Jim Collopy, Marco Johnson, James Van Alstyne, Humberto Brenes, Tuan Le, Michael Gross, Bruno Fitoussi, Brett Jungblut, Rex Clinkscales, James Woods, Valentin Vornicu, David Levi, Brandon Shack-Harris, Dan Heimiller, and Benny Glaser. Brenes' 36th-place showing ($5,574) was his 87th WSOP cash, ninth on the all-time list.
The two winners in live bracelet events that concluded on Saturday, Zamani and Upeshka De Silva, both claimed their first WSOP bracelets in the 2015 series. Adding to the coincidence: Both Zamani and De Silva won their first bracelets in $1,500 no-limit events.
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Final Table Payouts (earned POY points in parentheses):
1st: Benjamin Zamani, $238,620 (183.3)
2nd: Jared Hemingway, $147,428 (156.1)
3rd: Alex Ferrari, $103,471 (138.8)
4th: Ryan Paluf, $73,647 (123.9)
5th: Gary Vick, $53,171 (111.1)
6th: Forrest Auel, $38,946 (100.2)
7th: Scott Buller, $28,948 (90.8)
8th: Martin Corpuz, $21,839 (82.6)
9th: Dustin Sitar, $16,726 (75.6)