Tuesday, February 19, 2019 12:03 AM Local Time
Zachary Donovan has earned his second career Circuit ring by winning the Main Event at Seminole Casino Coconut Creek, Event #11, $1,700 No-Limit Hold'em. Donovan's win in this event is worth $243,916, and it came after nearly nine hours of Day 3 action. The win marked Donovan's second career Circuit ring and was his largest poker victory to date, as well as being the second-largest cash of his poker career.
Donovan, 31, a Boston-area native, came to the final table with the largest stack and held that lead through most of the final table. His final opponent was Memphis pro Sokchheka "Chico" Pho, who faced a 3:1 deficit when the pair began heads-up play. Pho made it interesting, taking a lead at one point before Donovan reestablished control.
Pho earned $150,374 for second. Delray Beach, FL pro Jason Young took third for $110,859, while Marietta, GA's Hamid Izadi collected $82,626 for fourth. Like Donovan, Pho and Izadi were also prior Circuit ringwinners.
Donovan started in second place among 15 returning Day 3 players, not too far behind Young, but he was hot from the start. He more than doubled his 3.1 million starting stack by the time the field reached an unofficial 10-player final, he'd topped eight million in chips. The rush continued through a couple of final-table knockouts; finally, after Izadi took a medium pot off of him, Donovan joked, "It's about time I lost a pot." He wasn't being snarky, he later admitted; he was just surprised how well he'd run.
Later, though, it wasn't as easy a ride. Donovan maintained his lead down to four-handed play, only to see over three hours of battle between the last four players. Donovan was never far out of the lead, but each of his other three remaining foes enjoyed the chip lead for at least a few hands. Donovan jumped back ahead when he knocked out Izadi in a major pot, and soon after, Pho eliminated a short-stacked Young to set up the final duel.
Pho played back aggressively and moved ahead of Donovan, but then what Donovan called "something of a cooler hand" played out. Pre-flop, Donovan raised to 550,000, and Pho called. The flop came . Pho checked, Donovan bet 600,000, Pho check-raised to 1.6 million, and Donovan called. The turn was the , Pho moved all-in, and Donovan called for less. Pho had for a flopped two pair, but Donovan had and had flopped a straight. The river was no good for Pho, and he was down to barely two million.
It was over soon after. Pho moved all in pre-flop with . Donovan asked for a count, and when it was announced as 1.7 million, he said, "I call, I call," and flipped over his . The runout was all to Donovan's hand - -- giving him a full house and the Coco main-event title.
Yet it was still a bittersweet moment for Donovan, as he lost his grandfather on Friday, which was Day 1A of the Main Event. As he shared with the WSOP, "I flew down here, originally just planning on visiting my grandfather, and then maybe coming to play here, because he was in the hospital. He wasn't doing too well. Then he got really sick, really fast, and a few days later was in hospice.
"Then on Friday, Day 1, he passed. He passed in the morning. It was nice I got to say my goodbyes to him. Our whole family got to say our goodbyes to him. I was going to stay with my mom and my grandfather's girlfriend and my uncle, but they said my grandfather would be mad at me if I didn't go play this tournament. Because he was a huge fan of my poker.
"I guess he was with me the whole time. We won."
1st – Zachary Donovan ($243,916)
2nd – Sokchheka Pho ($150,374)
3rd – Jason Young ($110,859)
4th – Hamid Izadi ($82,626)
5th – Warren Sheaves ($62,406)
6th – Chad Eveslage ($47,746)
7th – Jack Shea ($36,990)
8th – Jessica Dawley ($29,014)
9th – Mike Azzaro ($23,038)
Monday, February 18, 2019 10:08 PM Local Time
Sokchheka Pho moves all in from the small blind for his last 1,700,000. Zach Donovan calls, and the cards are tabled.
The board runs and Donovan makes a full house to win the tournament, eliminating Pho in 2nd place.
Zach Donovan - Seminole Coconut Creek Main Event Champion ($243,916)
Sokchheka Pho - Eliminated in 2nd place ($150,374)
A full recap of the event will be posted shortly.
Monday, February 18, 2019 9:58 PM Local Time
Zach Donovan raises to 550,000 and Sokchheka Pho calls, leading them to a flop of . Pho checks, Donovan bets 600,000 and Pho raises to 1,600,000. Donovan calls.
The turn is the and Pho shoves all in. Donovan snap-calls for 8,665,000. "F*ck!" exclaims Pho. "Nine-seven" says Donovan.
Pho reveals two pair but needs to improve against Donovan's straight. "One time!" says Pho. Unfortunately for him, the river is the and Donovan now sits on a massive lead.
Zach Donovan - 21,710,000 (90 bb)
Sokchheka Pho - 2,440,000 (10 bb)
Monday, February 18, 2019 9:52 PM Local Time
Zach Donovan limps from the small blind. Sokchheka Pho checks.
Players see a flop of that is checked around to the turn. Pho checks. Donovan bets 300,000. Pho check-raises to 600,000. Donovan calls.
The fills up the board. Pho throws in a bet of 900,000. Donovan calls.
Pho shows but that isn't good enough as Donovan reveals to win the pot.
Zach Donovan - 8,900,000 (37 bb)
Sokchheka Pho - 15,250,000 (63 bb)
Monday, February 18, 2019 9:46 PM Local Time
Zach Donovan raises to 550,000 and Sokchheka Pho three-bets to 1,500,000. Donovan thinks for a moment and then four-bets to 3,500,000. Pho counts out his stack and five-bet shoves. Donovan quickly folds.
Sokchheka Pho - 15,650,000 (65 bb)
Zach Donovan - 8,500,000 (35 bb)
Monday, February 18, 2019 9:39 PM Local Time
Sokchheka Pho opens to 400,000 from the small blind. Zach Donovan, in the big blind, calls.
A flop reading is dealt. Donovan checks. Pho bets 520,000. Donovan check-calls.
The turn is the . Donovan checks again. Pho bets 1,300,000. Donovan check-calls again.
The fills up the river. Both players opt to check.
Zach Donovan turns over but that isn't good enough as Pho revealds for a higher flush to take down the pot.
Sokchheka Pho - 12,950,000 (53 bb)
Zach Donovan - 11,200,000 (46 bb)
Monday, February 18, 2019 9:30 PM Local Time
Zach Donovan raises to 550,000 and Sokchheka Pho calls. The dealer puts out a flop of , Pho checks, Donovan bets 600,000 and Pho snap-calls.
The turn is the and both players see the on the river. Pho fires out a bet of 1,600,000 and Donovan folds.
Sokchheka Pho - 9,350,000 (38 bb)
Zach Donovan - 14,800,000 (61 bb)
Monday, February 18, 2019 9:23 PM Local Time
On a flop of , Zach Donovan checks. Sokchheka Pho bets 500,000. Donovan check-calls.
The turn comes the and is checked around to the river. Donovan checks for a third time. Pho bets 800,000. Donovan quickly calls. Pho shows and Donovan reveals to win the pot.
Zach Donovan - 19,100,000 (79 bb)
Sokchheka Pho - 5,050,000 (21 bb)
Monday, February 18, 2019 9:17 PM Local Time
Monday, February 18, 2019 9:15 PM Local Time
Zach Donovan opens to 450,000 and Sokchheka Pho calls.
The dealer puts out a flop of and Pho checks. Donovan puts out a bet of 450,000 and Pho calls.
The turn is the and both players check to the on the river. Pho bets 750,000 and Donovan puts in a raise to 2,000,000. Pho flashes the and mucks.
Donovan flashes to show a straight flush before raking in the pot.
Zach Donovan - 18,350,000 (91 bb)
Sokchheka Pho - 5,800,000 (29 bb)
Monday, February 18, 2019 9:07 PM Local Time
Zach Donovan opens to 450,000 from the small blind. Sokchheka Pho three-bets to 1,100,000 from the big blind. Donovan calls.
A flop of is dealt and checked through to the turn. Pho fires 1,500,000. Donovan tank-calls.
The river completes the board. Pho continues with another bet of 2,300,000. Donovan responds by raising all-in and Pho gives up his hand.
Zach Donovan - 16,350,000 (81 bb)
Sokchheka Pho - 7,800,000 (39 bb)
Monday, February 18, 2019 9:00 PM Local Time
Sokchheka Pho raises to 500,000 and Zach Donovan calls.
The flop comes , Donovan checks, Pho bets 880,000 and Donovan calls.
The turn is the and Donovan checks again. Pho bets a hefty 2,300,000 this time. Donovan calls again.
The river is the and both players quickly check. Donovan tables for a pair of queens but it's no good against Pho's for two pair queens and fives.
Sokchheka Pho - 11,950,000 (59 bb)
Zach Donovan - 12,200,000 (61 bb)
Monday, February 18, 2019 8:56 PM Local Time
Sokchheka Pho opens to 450,000 from the small blind. Zach Donovan calls.
The flop comes and is checked around to the turn. Zach checks again. Pho bets 350,000. Zach check-calls.
The river completes the board. Zach checks for a third time.
''I surrender,'' comments Pho, while checking back. Zach tables and Pho sends his hand to the muck.
Zach Donovan - 17,350,000 (86 bb)
Sokchheka Pho - 6,800,000 (34 bb)
Monday, February 18, 2019 8:48 PM Local Time
Zach Donovan makes it 450,000 to go and Sokchheka Pho calls. The flop comes , Pho checks, Donovan bets 500,000 and Pho calls.
The turn is the and both players check to the on the river. Pho makes it 1,000,000 to go and Donovan mucks.
Sokchheka Pho - 8,610,000 (43 bb)
Zach Donovan - 15,540,000 (77 bb)
Monday, February 18, 2019 8:41 PM Local Time
Zach Donovan opens to 450,000 from the small blind. Sokchheka Pho, in the big blind, calls.
The flop is . Pho checks. Donovan bets 675,000. Pho calls.
The turn brings the and is checked through to the river. This time, Pho bets 880,000. Donovan calls.
''Queen-high,'' comments Pho. Donovan turns over and Pho mucks.
Sokchheka Pho - 5,900,000 (29 bb)
Zach Donovan - 18,250,000 (91 bb)
Monday, February 18, 2019 8:22 PM Local Time
Zach Donovan and Sokchheka Pho are on a brief break before heads-up play begins.
Zach Donovan - 17,675,000 (88 bb)
Sokchheka Pho - 6,475,000 (32 bb)
Monday, February 18, 2019 8:21 PM Local Time
Jason Young moves all in on the button for 4,100,000 and Zach Donovan calls from the small blind.
Young is the player at risk and behind with , up against Donovan's .
The dealer spreads a board reading and Donovan holds to send Young to the rail in 3rd place.
Zach Donovan - 17,675,000 (88 bb)
Sokchheka Pho - 6,475,000 (32 bb)
Jason Young - Eliminated
Monday, February 18, 2019 8:14 PM Local Time
Monday, February 18, 2019 8:11 PM Local Time
On a flop of , Zach Donovan, in the small blind, bets 650,000. Sokchheka Pho, in the big blind, calls.
The turn brings the . Donovan continues with a bet of 1,400,000. Pho tank-calls.
The fills up the river and is checked around. Donovan tables and Pho shows before sending his hand to the muck.
Zach Donovan - 11,700,000 (73 bb)
Sokchheka Pho - 5,050,000 (31 bb)
Monday, February 18, 2019 8:07 PM Local Time
Jason Young opens to 325,000 from under the gun and Hamid Izadi calls on the button.
The flop comes and Young open-shoves, putting Izadi to the test for his stack of 2,750,000. Izadi goes into the tank for a couple of minutes and eventually calls.
Izadi is at risk with for a flush draw and two over-cards, up against Young's for ace-high and a straight draw. The turn is the and the river is the to send Izadi home in 4th place.
Jason Young - 6,500,000 (40 bb)
Hamid Izadi - Eliminated