By the end of the MSPT’s 151st Main Event – a $1,600 buy-in, $3,000,000 GTD tournament held at The Venetian in Las Vegas that attracted 2,472 entries, it was Linglin Zeng of China that took home the lion’s share of the prize pool after a three-way deal netted her $393,506. She becomes the second female MSPT Main Event champion ever, along with Angelina Rich, who also netted her title via a three-way chop at a MSPT Main Event at The Venetian.
Earlier in the tournament and just before the deal was made, Zeng said, “I made a huge fold against Mike Shin; he check-raised me then shoved the river.” This hand proved to be a pivotal one, as it allowed Shin, who jumped into first-place in the MSPT Hayvin Poker POY race with his third-place finish, to climb out of the danger zone just before the chop happened. Zeng said she’d get it out of Shin on what he held that hand; “I’ll find out, I need to go ask him. I think he had it.”
Not one to rest on her laurels, Zeng, a former nurse turned poker player, said she’s “ready for the WSOP Monster Stack tomorrow!” She’s already had some success this summer as well, saying, “I went deep in the $1,500 six-max, fourteenth-place, then I almost didn’t play this one. I played the WSOP Double Stack, in Day 3 I was chip leader. I lost a few hands, for some reason I just got so mad and dumped all my chips in one level. I was so mad at myself, and someone told me about this tournament at Venetian, and I was just so fired up to redeem myself. I wasn’t even going to play at all.” Describing her style, she said “I’m very aggressive, loose and aggressive. I’m super loose, I usually play cash; tournaments aren’t really my thing.” Finally, she acknowledged her rail which included her boyfriend, saying, “I have a lot of friends supporting me, I was very grateful.”
Starting in Day 2, a number of players walked away with a cash, including Day 1a chip leader Ben Diebold (39th - $10,251), MSPT Hall of Famer Rich Alsup (56th - $7,777), two-time WSOP bracelet winner Elio Fox (68th - $7,070), former MSPT Venetian champ Thomas Boivin (74th - $6,363), CSOP founder Matt Stout (81st - $6,363), former WSOP November Niner Dan Ott (105th - $5,302), Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier (123rd - $5,302), Felipe Davila (138th - $4,949), “Mad” Marvin Rettenmaier (221st - $3,888), three-time MSPT champ Matt Kirby (242nd - $3,888) and 2014 WSOP Main Event champ Martin Jacobson (249th - $3,888).
Unfortunately for 22 of the 32 players that returned for Day 3 action, they would not be a part of one of the biggest final tables in MSPT history, behind only two events from last year’s MSPT The Venetian series in terms of total prize pool. Some of those falling short included Day 1c chip leader Oleg Eltsov (11th - $42,420), Jack O’Neill (13th - $33,582), Rudy Sawa (17th - $31,461), Lokesh Garg (18th - $31,461), 2018 WSOPE champ Jack Sinclair (21st - $26,159), Harry Arutyunyan (23rd - $21,397), and Dominick Sarle (29th - $12,726).
Final Table Action
Coming into the final table, it was an international affair, as six different countries had representation, including three from China, two each from the United States and Italy, and Sweden, Spain and the United Kingdom were all represented as well. First to fall was Jiawei Liu, who lost a flip with ace-jack suited against the overwhelming chip leader coming into the final table, Linglin Zeng and her pocket tens. Liu settled for $42,420 for his tenth-place finish.
Knowing he had already laddered once, Brady Osterman called off his last twelve big blinds after Oliver Price jammed, and when his ace-jack failed to catch up to Price’s ace-queen, Osterman was out the door in ninth-place. The $54,792 in prize money will represent more than four-fifths of his lifetime tournament earnings, according to Hendon Mob.
Suddenly, the bustouts at the final table came to a screeching halt, as eighth-place wouldn’t fall for another ninety minutes. It was Donis Agnelli that would be out next, grinding down to two big blinds before Mike Shin’s ace-queen bested Agnelli’s ace-four. The native Italian took home $68,932 for his efforts.
Leaving just a few hands later would be Spain’s Javier Zarco, who tried to steal Oliver Price’s big blind with queen-three, only for Price to wake up with Big Slick and felt Zarco in seventh for $88,374. The 2015 WSOP Millionaire Maker runner-up and 2017 The Venetian DeepStack Extravaganza $3,500 event champ padded his $2.2 million in lifetime tournament earnings with this score.
Out the door next was Yilong Wang, who fell victim to three straight all-in defeats, including having Shin dead to three outs after the turn in one hand, before Shin pinged his king on the river to crack Wang’s tens. Wang then couldn’t get his ace-eight to overcome Alessio Sabatini’s kings, and he was left with sixth-place and $113,119.
Less than an orbit later, Price got his last thirteen bigs in with sevens against the pocket sixes of Zeng. Zeng proved how hot she was running when she flopped a set and turn quads to leave the UK product with fifth-place and $143,519 to add to an established career that includes over $1.7 million in career earnings.
Sweden’s Michael Tureneic was the next to go, when his ace-jack was dominated by the ace-queen of Sabatini. Tureneic was dead by the turn, and the fourth-place finisher adds $187,353 to his whopping $4.4 million in lifetime tournament earnings.
Three-handed play lasted for a few levels before the trio looked at the numbers for a deal. In the end, they decided on the payouts listed below.