Ben Zamani Wins WinStar River Poker Series Main Event

Ben Zamani added another impressive win to his poker resume earlier this week by taking down the main event at the River Poker Series at the WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Oklahoma.

Zamani, the reigning World Poker Tour Player of the Year, outlasted a 926-player field in the $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em tournament. The win earned him $347,134 from the $2,173,333 prize pool. If that first-place prize total seems a bit off, you’re right, but we’ll get to that in a moment.

Zamani displayed his poker acumen throughout the tournament, especially on the final day leading into the final table. At one point Zamani looked like he was headed for the rail down to only 10 big blinds. He went on a miraculous run to move into third in chips at the final table and eventually conquer the entire tournament.

When there were only two players left standing it came down to China’s Chengce Jiang and Zamani heads-up for the tournament title. Before the first hand of heads-up play was dealt out the two agreed on a deal to split the pot. Jiang, who began heads-up play with a slight lead in chips, was guaranteed $297,760, while Zamani was guaranteed at least $287,134. They left $60,000 out of the split which would eventually go to the winner.

Zamani wrestled the chip lead away from Jiang before finishing him off on the final hand with the blinds at 100,000/200,000. In the final hand both players limped in pre-flop. The flop delivered 9-Spades, 6-Spades, 7-Clubs and both players checked.

The turn was the 2-Diamonds and Zamani bet 350,000. Jiang pushed all-in and Zamani called. Jiang showed 8-Clubs, 2-Spades giving him a pair of twos and an open-ended straight draw. Zamani had 10-Diamonds, 9-Hearts, good enough for top pair and a gut-shot straight draw.

With the river to come Jiang had only nine outs, needing a 2, 5 or 10 to win. The river did not hit and instead showed the Ace-Spades, giving Zamani the hand, the tournament title and the extra $60,000.

The cash bumped Zamani’s live poker earnings to just over $4.1 million. Included in that is a pair of World Series of Poker bracelets.