The 2018 Card Player Poker Tour Venetian DeepStack Showdown $3,500 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event drew a field of 341 entries, up from 235 in 2017. The strong turnout blew past the $500,000 guarantee to build a final prize pool of $1,074,150. After three full days of poker action, the largest share of that money was awarded to none other than 2016 CPPT Venetian summer main event champion Jon Turner, who emerged victorious to win his second CPPT title and $201,000 after striking a deal with heads-up opponent Joe Kuether.
Turner, a 36-year-old poker pro based in Las Vegas, topped a field of 537 players to win the $5,000 buy-in CPPT Venetian main event two and a half years ago for the largest score of his career: $536,858. With his win in this event the former online tournament star, known by many as ‘PearlJammer’, increased his lifetime live tournament earnings to more than $3.2 million.
“Both of the tournaments I won here at Venetian were very tough fields, partly due to the timing with the event in 2016 taking place right after the World Series of Poker main event and this event being right after the World Poker Tour main event at Bellagio. They were both very tough fields, but in this event I was fortunate that some very tough players made the money but ended up busting out before the final table. That being said everybody at the final table was good, especially Joe Kuether. I’m happy to have made a deal with him and not have to play him heads-up because I played with him a lot throughout the tournament and I don’t think I saw him make a mistake. He just crushed it for the most part, but I got the right cards towards the end and was able to take the chip lead going into heads-up.”
The third and final day of this event began with Turner sitting in eighth chip position with 33 players remaining, all of whom were guaranteed at least $7,519 with the money bubble having burst late on day 2. Action was fast and furious early in the day, and as Turner noted, there were plenty of big names to hit the rail.
Some of the notable players who busted before the final table included Ian O’Hara (32nd – $7,519), Harrison Gimbel (25th – $7,841), Manig Loeser (20th – $11,279), 2018 CPPT Venetian summer main event champion Anthony Zinno (19th – $11,279), Griffin Benger (18th – $12,353), Dylan Wilkerson (17th – $12,353), Mike Leah (16th – $12,353), Eric Blair (14th – $14,501), Scott Clements (12th – $14,501) and Eddy Sabat (10th – $18,153).
By the time the final table of nine was set Ryan Hohner had claimed the chip lead, with Kuether sitting in second place and Turner in third. Kuether got off to a strong start at the final table, eliminating Corey Hochmann is ninth place. Kuether called the short-stacked Hocmhann’s shove with pocket tens and was in great shape against his opponent’s pocket fours. Both players ended up making sets by the river, and Kuether’s set of tens were enough to send Hochmann to the rail with $22,450.
Trung Pham began day 3 as the chip leader, but was one of the shorter stacks remaining by the time the final table was set. Pham got all-in with AK up against the AQ of Hohner. The flop brought a queen and Hohner held up from there to eliminate Pham in eighth place.
Kuether and Hohner continued to take turns busting players. Kuether’s pocket jacks bested Rob Salaburu’s A5 in a preflop showdown to knock the 2012 World Series of Pokermain event eighth-place finisher out of this event in seventh place ($36,521). The very next hand Hohner picked up KQ and called the shove of day 1 chip leader Raul Manzanares,who had moved all-in with the A5. Hohner made two pair to send Manzanares home in sixth place ($47,263).
Julian Parmann got all-in in a dominant position, with his AK in great shape against Sulabh Choudhury’s AQ. Choudhury flopped trip queens and made a full house by the river to eliminate Parmann in fifth place ($61,227). Despite having scored that knockout, Choudhury was still the next player to be eliminated. Like the previous hand, all of the chips went in preflop with Choudhury holding A-Q to an opponent’s A-K. This time Hohner’s lead in the hand held up through the river and his ace-king secured the pot. Choudhury earned $81,635 for his fourth-place showing, the biggest score of his live tournament career.
Ryan Hohner had spent much of the final day as the chip leader, but during three-handed play he began to slip down the leaderboard. In the end he ran pocket fours into the pocket tens of Turner and failed to come from behind. Hohner took home $110,637 for his deep run.
With that Turner took the chip lead into heads-up play, sitting with 7,375,000
to Kuether’s 6,275,000. The final two players paused the clock to discuss a deal. They eventually agreed to a chop that saw Turner earn $201,000 and the title while Kuether took home $198,584. Kuether also walked away with the CPPT main event trophy as part of their agreement.
Kuether already has seven Venetian titles to his name, including a win earlier this series for $58,938 in a $1,100 buy-in DoubleStack event. With this latest score he increased his career earnings to more than $6.6 million.
“I was in for three entries, and I didn’t plan on firing the third bullet. The second entry only lasted two hands, though, so I decided to take one more shot. I never got all-in while behind throughout the whole tournament and the same thing happened when I won here in 2016,” said Turner after coming out on top for one of the largest paydays of his live tournament career.
In addition to the title and the money, Turner also earned 720 Card Player Player of the Year points as the champion of this event. This was his second title and 11th final table of the year, and it was enough to see him climb into 95th place in the overall POY standings.
Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table:
|Place||Player||Earnings (USD)||POY Points|