Monday, September 28, 2015 3:24 PM Local Time
On Monday, the 2015/16 World Series of Poker Circuit at the Palm Beach Kennel Club wound down toward its conclusion with the final day of the $1,675 Main Event. Just seven players returned for Day 3 and in the end it was Peter Vitantonio who rose above the competition to win the $129,685 first-place prize, the gold Circuit ring, and a seat to the season-ending WSOP Global Casino Championship.
Vitantonio came into the day in the second overall chip position. He was merely trailing his eventual heads up opponent, Javier Zarco, who held a commanding chip lead coming into the day.
“I came in second [overall], but kind of just sat there for the first hour and didn’t do much,” reflected Vitantonio after his win. “Then I got aces and doubled. Two hands later I got kings and doubled up and that was pretty much it.”
The hands that Vitantonio was referencing represented the largest shift in momentum at the final table. During four-handed play, Zarco opened with a raise only to have Vitantonio come over the top with a three-bet from the button. Zarco shipped all in and Vitantonio snapped him off for his tournament life with two aces. Zarco meekly tabled ace-jack and was unable to improve. A mere two hands later, Vitantonio checked pocket kings on a jack-high flop against eventual fourth-place finisher Mike Kelleher. Kelleher moved all in for about 53 big blinds and Vitantonio instantly called. Kelleher showed a gutshot straight draw and was unable to improve. From that moment on, Vitantonio seized a massive chip lead that he never relinquished.
This marks Vitantonio’s third final table appearance on the Circuit and his first gold ring win. Vitantonio, a native of Wickliffe, Ohio, considers himself a full time professional player. He has attended the Palm Beach Kennel Club Circuit stop for the last three winters, and plans to move to the area next month. Prior to poker success, Vitantonio attended Kent State and worked at a family restaurant for a year or two.
While Vitantonio boasts the top prize, six other players had successful deep runs in the Main Event. The first casualty of Day 3 came during the third hand of the day when John Palace was unable to win a race against Robert LeBeau. Palace was eliminated in seventh place and collected $19,489 for his efforts. Following Palace to the rail was Ellen Lambeth, who also held the title of last woman standing. Lambeth got the last of her money in while holding top pair on the flop against Kelleher. Unfortunately for Lambeth, Kelleher held top pair with top kicker and she was sent packing in sixth place.
A.J. Kelsall and Kelleher were the next two players eliminated, falling in fifth and fourth place, respectively. LeBeau failed to win a race against Vitantonio during a preflop all in, and his elimination sent the final two into heads up play. Vitantonio held a substantial lead over Zarco, who was unable to gain momentum throughout the match. In the end, Vitantonio flopped two pair to clinch the match and the title.
Unfortunately for Zarco, this marks the fourth time he has come close to earning a WSOP title only to fall as the runner-up. During the 2014/15 Circuit season, Zarco racked up a breakthrough WSOP cash with a second place finish in the $1,675 Harrah's St. Louis Main Event. Following that, Zarco was once again denied a title during the 2015 WSOP when he finished runner-up to Adrian Buckley in the $1,500 Millionaire Maker event. Despite these close calls, today's finish has officially moved Zarco over $1 million in earnings at the WSOP.
This prestigious PBKC Main Event boasted a grand total of 393 entries over two starting flights. This number bested last year's attendance of this very event with an increase in attendance of nearly 30 percent. Day 1A accounted for 172 of those total entries while Day 1B pulled a total of 221 entries. This led to a total prize pool of $589,500 and allowed for the top 45 players to make the money.
Some of the notable names to make the money include three-time ring winner John Holley (32nd, $3,272), ring winners Russ Head (29th, $3,690) and Neal Harding (20th, $5,712), Chad Eveslage (19th, $5,712), bracelet winner David Diaz (18th, $6,779), and 2010 November Niner John Dolan (15th, $8,417). Additionally, Steven Duncker (ninth, $12,272) and Ralph Massey (eight, $15,351) graced the final table before they went bust.
Here's a look at the final table results:
1st: Peter Vitantonio - $129,685
2nd: Javier Zarco - $80,143
3rd: Rob LeBeau - $58,561
4th: Michael Kelleher - $43,482
5th: A.J. Kelsall - $32,788
6th: Ellen Lambeth - $25,095
7th: Johnny Palace - $19,489
8th: Ralph Massey - $15,351
9th: Steve Duncker - $12,262
Full results available on WSOP.com.
Monday, September 28, 2015 2:18 PM Local Time
Javier Zarco (pictured) opens the button to 90,000 and Peter Vitantonio calls.
The flop comes down and Vitantonio checks. Zarco continues for 80,000 only to have Vitantonio come over the top for 205,000 total. Zarco calls.
Fourth street is the and Vitantonio cuts out a bet of 275,000. Zarco once again moves forward calling chips. The hits the river and Vitantonio moves all in. Zarco peers at his hand one last time as he ponders calling off his last roughly 1.1 million. In the end, in flings out a single chip, signifying a call.
"Two pair," remarks Vitantonio, showing for kings up.
Zarco shows for a pair of eights before his hand is pulled into the muck. He's eliminated as the runner-up and collects $80,143 in prize money.
Peter Vitantonio - 7,860,000
Javier Zarco - Eliminated
Monday, September 28, 2015 2:02 PM Local Time
Peter Vitantonio is on the button and raises to 80,000. Javier Zarco calls.
The flop is . Zarco checks. Vitantonio bets 80,000. Zarco calls.
Both players check the turn.
The board completes with the . Zarco checks again. Vitantonio bets an unknown amount and Zarco quickly plops a lone red 5,000 chip in the pot for a call. Vitantonio announces, "Straight,"and tables for a rivered gutshot. Zarco grimaces and the dealer breaks down Vitantonio's river bet. Zarco owes 160,000 to his opponent.
Peter Vitantonio - 6,185,000 (154 bb)
Javier Zarco - 1,675,000 (41 bb)
Monday, September 28, 2015 1:55 PM Local Time
Javier Zarco opens to 90,000 from his button and Peter Vitantonio calls from the big blind.
The flop comes and both players check to see the hit the turn. Vitantonio reaches for chips and moves out 110,000. Zarco calls.
The river is the , putting two pair on the board. Vitantonio tosses out a bet of just 75,000. Zarco comes over the top for 425,000, sending Vitantonio into the tank. After about a minute, Vitantonio announces a three-bet to one million. Zarco quickly folds and Vitantonio takes it down.
Peter Vitantonio - 5,960,000 (149 bb)
Javier Zarco - 1,900,000 (47 bb)
Monday, September 28, 2015 1:37 PM Local Time
Peter Vitantonio opens the button for 80,000. Javier Zarco calls.
They see a flop of . Zarco checks. Vitantonio bets 80,000. Zarco check-raises, making it 230,000 to go. Vitantonio calls.
The turn is the . Zarco leads for 365,000. Vitantonio calls.
Both players check the river. Zarco flips over for a flush. Vitantonio folds and Zarco wins the pot.
Javier Zarco - 2,350,000 (58 bb)
Peter Vitantonio - 5,510,000 (137 bb)
Monday, September 28, 2015 1:29 PM Local Time
Peter Vitantonio - 6,420,000 (160 bb)
Javier Zarco - 1,440,000 (36 bb)
Monday, September 28, 2015 1:28 PM Local Time
Robert LeBeau (pictured) opens the button for 100,000. It's on Peter Vitantonio in the big blind and he moves all in. LeBeau calls off and is at risk.
The flop smacks Vitantonio falling improving him to a set. LeBeau verbally concedes the pot before the turn and river even hit the felt. He busts third earning $58,561.
Vitantonio and Javier Zarco are now taking a short break before heads-up play resumes.
Peter Vitantonio - 6,420,000 (160 bb)
Robert LeBeau - Eliminated
Monday, September 28, 2015 1:24 PM Local Time
Robert LeBeau opens the button for 100,000. Javier Zarco folds the small blind. It's on Peter Vitantonio in the big blind he three-bets to 250,000. LeBeau flats and they see a flop.
Both players check the flop and turn.
The river is the . Vitantonio leads for 325,000. LeBeau calls and Vitantonio tables for a pair of queens. LeBeau mucks and the chip leader grows his stack.
Peter Vitantonio - 5,700,000 (142 bb)
Robert LeBeau - 850,000 (21bb)
Monday, September 28, 2015 1:19 PM Local Time
Mike Kelleher limps from under the gun and Robert LeBeau follows suit on the button. It folds to Peter Vitantonio in the big blind and he slides out a raise to 145,000. Kelleher immediately announces a raise over the top, making it 340,000 to go. LeBeau folds and Vitantonio calls to see a flop.
The dealer fans on the felt and Vitantonio checks to the raiser. Kelleher announces that he's all in for 2.155 million and Vitantonio immediately calls.
Vitantonio is in a commanding position and looks to dodge runnings cards or a ten to fill Kelleher's gutshot. Unfortunately for Kelleher, he fails to best Vitantonio's kings with the on the turn and the on the river. He falls in 4th place and collects $43,482 in winnings.
Peter Vitantonio - 4,950,000 (123 bb)
Mike Kelleher - Eliminated
Monday, September 28, 2015 1:13 PM Local Time
Monday, September 28, 2015 1:13 PM Local Time
Javier Zarco opens to 75,000 from under the gun only to have Peter Vitantonio three-bet to 175,000 from the button. The blinds fold and Zarco wastes no time four-betting all in. Vitantonio immediately calls for his tournament life, turning up pocket aces.
"That's bad," laments Zarco. "That's bad, that's bad."
The board runs out clean with , allowing Vitantonio to double into the chip lead.
Peter Vitantonio - 2,605,000 (86 bb)
Javier Zarco - 1,550,000 (51 bb)
Monday, September 28, 2015 1:02 PM Local Time
Mike Kelleher limps under the gun and it folds to A.J. Kelsall (pictured) in the small blind. He jams his last 500,000. Peter Vitantonio folds the big blind and it's back on Kelleher. He calls putting Kelsall at risk.
An flop nails Kelleher improving him to two pair. Kelsall stands as the board completes with the and . Kelsall busts fifth earning $32,788.
Mike Kelleher - 2,600,000 (86 bb)
A.J. Kelsall - Eliminated
Monday, September 28, 2015 12:56 PM Local Time
Mike Kelleher limps from the cutoff, Javier Zarco completes his small blind, and A.J. Kelsall checks from the big blind. The three players watch on as the flop comes . All three check and the falls on the turn. Action checks around to Kelleher and he fires out 85,000. Zarco calls and Kelsall thinks for a moment before doing the same.
The river is the , putting two pair on the board. Zarco comes out swinging for 230,000, prompting a fold from Kelsall. Kelleher calls and shows for jacks full of kings. Zarco mucks and Kelleher wins the pot.
Mike Kelleher - 2,200,000 (73 bb)
Javier Zarco - 2,590,000 (86 bb)
A.J. Kelsall - 590,000 (19 bb)
Monday, September 28, 2015 12:51 PM Local Time
Robert LeBeau opens the small blind for 75,000 and Javier Zarco ships it over the top from the big blind. LeBeau calls off his last 595,000 and is at risk.
The runout falls and LeBeau doubles through the chip leader.
Robert LeBeau - 1,235,000 (41 bb)
Javier Zarco - 2,870,000 (95 bb)
Monday, September 28, 2015 12:45 PM Local Time
Mike Kelleher limps under the gun as does Ellen Lambeth from the button. A.J. Kelsall folds his small blind and Peter Vitantonio checks his option from the big blind. They are three-handed.
Action checks to Lambeth on the button. She bets 75,000. Vitantonio folds. It's on Kelleher and he raises to 165,000. Lambeth takes a second or two to herself, then announces, "All of these," waving her hands over her chips. Kelleher snap-calls and tables . He has the of Lambeth at risk.
The turn and river fall the and . Lambeth never improves and busts sixth earning $25,095. Kelleher now sits with over 2,000,000 chips.
Mike Kelleher - 2,010,000 (67 bb)
Labeth - Eliminated
Monday, September 28, 2015 12:28 PM Local Time
Peter Vitantonio is under the gun and opens to 60,000. Mike Kelleher calls from the next seat over and action folds through the big blind. The two take a flop of and Vitantonio opts not to continue. Kelleher takes this opportunity o bet 95,000 and Vitantonio calls.
Fourth street pairs the board with the and Vitantonio checks once again. Kelleher bets 140,000 and Vitantonio calls. The hits the river and both players check. Kelleher rolls over and wins the pot.
Mike Kelleher - 1,240,000 (41 bb)
Peter Vitantonio - 1,160,000 (38 bb)
Monday, September 28, 2015 12:19 PM Local Time
A.J. Kelsall opens jams the small blind for his last 330,000. It's on Peter Vitantonio in the big blind and he instantly calls the shortstack flipping over . Kelsall is in great shape with as they head to the flop.
The board comes earning Kelsall the double.
"330," he says tipping off his stack to Vitantonio.
The dealer breaks it down and Vitantonio ships the double Kelsall's way.
A.J. Kelsall - 723,000 (24 bb)
Peter Vitantonio - 1,325,000 (44 bb)
Monday, September 28, 2015 12:14 PM Local Time
Mike Kelleher raises to 80,000 from the button and finds a single call from chip leader Javier Zarco in the big blind. The two take a flop of and Zarco check-calls a continuation bet of 140,000.
Fourth street brings the to the felt. Zarco checks again and this time Kelleher does the same. The falls on the river, prompting Zarco to bet 380,000. Kelleher lets it go and Zarco wins the pot.
Javier Zarco - 2,980,000 (99 bb)
Mike Kelleher - 1,065,000 (35 bb)
Monday, September 28, 2015 12:08 PM Local Time
John Palace (pictured) moves all in for his last 365,000 from early position. Robert LeBeau ships all in over the top from the next seat over and the rest of the table folds.
The board runs out , pairing LeBeau's king to eliminate Palace in seventh place.
Robert LeBeau - 900,000 (30 bb)
John Palace - Eliminated
Monday, September 28, 2015 12:05 PM Local Time