Anthony Spinella won the Main Event at the WSOP Circuit at Harrah’s Las Vegas Sunday night, earning $192,199 and his second career WSOP Circuit ring.
Spinella’s previous Circuit ring was in an online event. He also has a WSOP bracelet, also in an online event. In fact, it was the historic first-ever online bracelet event in 2015. Today’s win marks his first win in a WSOP or Circuit event in a live tournament. “It feels really good,” he said of the live win. “I’ve been waiting awhile.”
Getting the big win right before Christmas is an added bonus. “[My son’s] getting a new dinosaur,” he said with a smile after the event.
To get to the winner’s circle, Spinella bested a tough final table lineup that included Nipun Java (runner-up), Tim Reilly (5th place), and Adam Owen (6th). Stan Jablonski (10th) and Matt Afflect (13th) also made it to the final day.
Despite the high-caliber lineup, Spinella largely dominated the final day. He jumped out to a big lead early in the day. When it was down to three-handed, his opponents both came close to evening out the stacks, but Spinella was never short-stacked. “It was pretty smooth,” he said. “I ran really good. Caught some cards. Lost one flip, but other than that it was pretty smooth-sailing.”
His opponents didn’t make it easy, though, especially Nipun Java, who finished in second place. “I had to grind it out a little,” Spinella recalled. “It came down to a flip and it went my way.”
The final day started with 13 players remaining out of the starting field of 665 entries. Matt Affleck was the first player eliminated, and James Hundt and Rene Lazaro soon followed. About half an hour after the start of Day 3, they were already down to the unofficial final table of 10 players.
The eliminations slowed after that, and it took about 90 minutes before Stan Jablonski was eliminated in 10th place. ($14,197), and it was about 45 minutes later when Benjamin Craig busted out in ninth place ($17,739). That sparked a flurry of bustouts, within another half hour, three more players hit the rail: Stephen Graner in eighth ($22,442), Kfir Nahum in seventh ($28,746), and Adam Owen in sixth ($37,275). After Tim Reilly was eliminated in fifth place ($24,923), Anthony Spinella, Nipun Java, Jimmy Lee, and Raul Martinez began a marathon four-handed battle.
Spinella had taken a big lead throughout the first part of the day, and with five players left he had about 60% of the chips in play. After Reilly’s elimination, the four remaining players battled for about two and half hours. During that time, Spinella came back to the pack. At one point, Jimmy Lee almost drew even, and Java came close to drawing even. Martinez, however, was running on fumes almost the entire time, and he ended up being the next player out, earning $64,983 for his fourth-place finish.
Soon after Martinez’s exit, the three remaining players took a short dinner break. When they returned, the stacks evened out a bit, and midway through the level the three players were almost exactly event. Over the next half hour, Jimmy Lee steadily dropped, and about an hour after dinner he was eliminated by Spinella in third place ($87,339).
That left Spinella and Java heads up for the title. Java made it tough for Spinella to take his chips, but Spinella eventually wore him down for the title.
Other players finishing in the money include Bryan Piccioli (98th place), Ben Yu (93rd), Jake Schwartz (92nd), Eric Baldwin (90th), Nick Jivkov (85th), Jordan Cristos (68th), Ben Keeline (67th), Gordon Vayo (64th), Peter Hengsakul (63rd), Katie Lindsay (61st), Antoine Saout (59th), Chris Ferguson (57th), Vinny Pahuja (50th), Joe McKeehen (49th), Sean Jazayeri (46th), Dylan Wilkerson (43rd), Dylan Linde (41st), Jared Jaffee (39th), Kevin Gerhart (37th), Asher Conniff (34th), Mike Leah (32nd), Javier Zarco (29th), Aaron Massey (27th), and Robert Mizrachi (24th).
The tournament attracted 665 entries, generating a prizepool worth $1,007,475. The top 100 players made the money.