Panzica Sweeps to $1.3m Bay 101 Title, 2nd WPT Win of Season
With his win Panzica is now in serious contention for Season XV Player of the Year.
Second WPT Title of Season
Sam Panzica has become the first player to win multiple titles during Season XV of the World Poker Tour. Panzica won the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star Main Event on Saturday for $1.37 million and his second WPT title of the season.
The Bay 101 Shooting Star event is one of the most popular on the World Poker Tour thanks to the celebrity bounties scattered throughout the field. Knock out a celebrity and you receive their bounty and an autographed t-shirt.
A field of 806 took to the felt in this event, creating a prize pool of $5.72 million. The event awarded one of the richest prizes of the Season XV at $1.37 million.
Storied Final Table Will Make For Interesting TV
The final table of this event presented many interesting story lines for television. Chino Rheem started the final table as chip leader and was looking to become the first player in history to win four World Poker Tour titles.
Two-time WSOP bracelet winner Paul Volpe made the final and was looking for his first career WPT title. Panzica won the bestbet Bounty Scramble in October and was looking to become the first player to win two events this season.
WSOP bracelet winner Anthony Spinella made his second career WPT final and was hoping to take the gold. 2016 Super High Roller Bowl Champion Rainer Kempe made a rare non-High Roller final table, hoping to earn his first major poker title.
Early on, Rheem had the momentum and grew his chip lead by eliminating Kempe in 6th and Dennis Stevermer in 5th. Spinella started chipping away at Rheem's lead, though, and by the time Volpe fell in fourth, he was in striking distance.
Panzica Comes Back From Short Stack for Victory
At this point Panzica was the short stack but he started to mount a comeback. Eventually he was able to get his stack in good with pocket aces against Q-J suited for Rheem.
The aces held and Panzica doubled into the chip lead. Rheem lost all momentum at that point and ultimately was crippled when Spinella doubled through him.
Rheem fell in third place to send Panzica and Spinella into a heads-up showdown. Panzica started the match with a 3:1 chip advantage. The heads-up match was over in five hands as Spinella shoved with Ac-8c and ran into the Ah-10s of Panzica.
The board missed both players and Panzica's kicker was good enough to make him a poker millionaire. Panzica wins his second WPT title of the season, also the second of his career. The $1.37 million score is the largest of his live poker career.
With the win Panzica is now only 50 points behind Benjamin Zamani in the WPT Player of the year race. Zamani has four cashes and three WPT final tables this season while Panzica has three cashes, two final tables and two victories.
Poker Hall of Famer and voice of the World Poker Tour Mike Sexton is third.