Anthony Zinno had two World Series of Poker gold bracelets and three World Poker Tour main event titles to his name heading into this year. The 2015 Card Player Player of the Year award winner balanced out those two numbers by taking down the 2021 WSOP $10,000 buy-in seven card stud championship event, topping a tough final table to earn $182,872 and his third gold bracelet.
While Zinno’s victories on the WPT all took place in no-limit hold’em, his three bracelets have all come in other games. He first took down an event at the series in 2015, winning the $25,000 buy-in pot-limit Omaha event for more than $1.1 million. In 2019 he came out on top in the $1,500 pot-limit Omaha eight-or-better event for another $279,920.
“Honestly, it’s unreal, because stud is one of the games that I’ve only been recently working on, so I wouldn’t have expected it to be this game,” Zinno told PokerGO reporters when asked about winning his this seven-card stud championship event. “Some of the best stud players in the world were in the field.”
“I might play poker my whole life and not win another stud bracelet,” said Zinno. “These guys are so good at stud, and honestly, I’m not on the level of the top stud players by any stretch. There’s a lot of luck there, so that’s awesome.”
In addition to the bracelet and the money, Zinno was also awarded 360 Card Player Player of the Year points and 183 PokerGO Tour rankings points as the winner of this event.
The final table began with seven players remaining and 15-time bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth in the lead. Hellmuth was looking to extend his lead on the all-time bracelet winner list with a record 16th title at the series. This was his third final table so far at the 2021 WSOP, having finished sixth in the $25,000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. and fifth in the $10,000
Omaha eight-or-better championship.
Jason Gola was the first to fall, with his split threes losing out to the split aces of James Chen. Both players improved to two pair on fifth street, but Chen’s aces up remained ahead through seventh street and Gola was eliminated in seventh place ($24,601).
Bracelet winner and 2019 Player of the Year award winner Stephen Chidwick was the next to hit the rail. He lost a huge chunk of his stack with fours full of aces losing to the sevens full of tens held by Zinno. Chidwick got the last of his chips in on fifth street with buried queens and both an ace and king on his board. James Chen called with split nines and improved to kings and nines on seventh street to take down the pot and narrow the field to five. Chidwick earned $30,842 and 120 POY points for his tenth final-table finish of the year. He now sits in 29th place in the 2021 POY race, which is sponsored by Global Poker. Chidwick also earned 31 PokerGO Tour rankings points. With more than $2.1 million in qualifying cashes, Chidwick currently occupies the 12th-place spot on the PokerGO Tour leaderboard.
Poker Hall of Fame member Jack McClelland’s run in this event came to an end in fifth place ($40,284). The longtime poker manager at Bellagio and Tournament Director for the WSOP in the 1980s was looking for his first bracelet. He came into the day quite short and was never able to rebuild much, despite hanging on to outlast a few opponents. McClelland got the last of his stack in with split deuces on fourth street. He was up against two higher pairs. He improved to trips deuces on seventh street, but Jose Paz-Gutierrez hit trip sixes to win the pot.
Phil Hellmuth had lost a key pot during six-handed action that knocked him from near the top of the chip counts towards the bottom. His split queens got beaten by a rivered flush for Zinno, prompting a profanity-laden outburst from Hellmuth that lasted several minutes. Hellmuth got the last of his very short stack in on fourth street with (KQ)5A. He was ahead of the (A7)102 of Paz-Gutierrez at the moment, but Paz-Gutierrez improved to a pair of deuces on fifth street and held from there to send Hellmuth home in fourth place. He earned $54,730 for his latest deep run at the WSOP.
Zinno was the clear chip leader heading into three-handed play. Despite busting Hellmuth, Paz-Gutierrez and remained the shortest stack at the table, although James Chen barely had him covered. The three battled it out for a while before the next elimination took place. Paz-Gutierrez got the last of his stack in on fourth street with an open-ended straight flush draw against James Chen’s king-high flush draw. The final boards ended up as follows:
Chen made a flush on sixth street and Paz-Gutierrez failed to hit his straight flush. He was awarded $77,227 for his third-place showing, while Chen entered heads-up play against Zinno at more than a 3:1 chip disadvatage. Chen was able to mount an early comeback, and even overtook the lead briefly, but Zinno regained control of the match in time for the final hand of the event. Chen was left with just a few big bets after Zinno won a big pot with an ace-high straight. He got the last of his stack in on fifth street with (96)A107 facing the (J3)A310 of Zinno. Chen hit a 5 on sixth street, while Zinno picked up the 7. Zinno’s pair of threes remained in the lead with one card to come. Chen pulled the J, missing all of his possible outs to take the lead. Zinno’s pair of threes did not improve any further, with the 2 on the end completing his board, but the small pair was enough to lock up the pot and the title. Chen earned $113,024 as the runner-up finisher.
Here is a look at the payouts and rankings points awarded at the final table:
Winner photo provided by PokerGO.