Eli Elezra makes a deep run at WPT Deepstacks Venetian final table

Jon Pill
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Posted on: July 14, 2021 10:06 pm EDT

The WPTDeepStacks Venetian broke records for the series. The $2,400 buy-in event saw a turnout of 1,512 entries over its three Day 1s. 

This made for a prize pool of $532,395 after the rake. This sets a new record for the WPTDeepStacks series. It also saw poker-legend Eli Elezra make the final table. His second deep run in a major tournament in the last few weeks.

Albert Knafo won the event, taking home $532,395 for his win.

“Congrats to Albert Knafo for winning the largest WPTDeepStacks event in history,” wrote the WPTDeepStacks twitter account. “At #WPTDSVenetian for the $532,395 at @VenetianPoker.”

The road to the final table

Day 1A saw Benjamin “Spraggy” Spragg and Upeshka De Silva near the top of the chip count leaderboard. By the time days 1B and 1C played out, the landscape had changed significantly, with Javier Zarco leading the field by a significant margin.

Day 2 saw the field whittled down from 298 remaining players to 29. Zarco was still in, but the new chip leader was Sean Daniels.

Payouts started at 189 players, so everyone on day three was well into the money. The min-cash for 29th place was $12,190 and ultimately went to Jason Brin.

By the time the field was down to two tables, there were only two previous WPT winners left in the field. They were Eli Elezra, who has been having a nice comeback year after the pandemic, and Keven Stammen.

“16 remain at #WPTDSVenetian and WPT Champions Club members @elielezra1 and Keven Stammen headline the remaining field playing for $532,395 at @VenetianPoker.”

Elezra ultimately made the final table, but busted out in 6th.

Heads-up play

The heads-up portion of the final table took a full 74 hands to play out. Knafo and Sarmiento circled each other carefully, playing small ball. At no point was Knafo all-in or at risk.

The final hand saw Samariento four-bet to 10 million in chips. He had Q♣Q♥ in the hole.

Knafo called, leaving Samariento with just 9 million behind, and just over 20 million in the pot with the antes.

The flop came Q♠9♥6♦. Knafo put Samariento all in, and Samariento called with top set. Knafo turned over the J♣T♣ for an open-ended straight draw.

The river was the 2♠, and things were looking good for Samartieno, but the 8♠ filled up Knafo’s straight and gave him the title.

“First place. That is what I wanted,” Knafo said in his post-game interview. “It’s super exciting. I got the right cards and I’m super happy.”

What’s Knafo going to do with his winnings? The answer is disappointingly responsible.

“I’m going to put a down payment for a house to help my family,” he says.

The WPT tweeted about his win. “Albert Knafo wins #WPTDSVenetian after shoving the flop with a straight draw into Steven Sarmiento’s set of queens—Knafo rivered his straight to win $532,395. Steven Sarmiento earns $383,595 as runner-up.”

WPT Deep Stacks Venetian final table results

PositionPlayer NamePrize Money
1stAlbert Knafo$532,395
2ndSteven Sarmiento$383,595
3rdAustin Srur$249,375
4thDoug Lada$185,275
5thJim Gilbert$139,180
6thEli Elezra$112,235
7thShawn Daniels$91,865
8thMarc Bernal$72,350
9thThomas Boivin$54,280

Featured image source: Twitter