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Andrew Rodgers Triumphs In Card Player Poker Tour Venetian Main Event

by Erik Fast |  Published: Mar 20, 2024

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The DeepStack Extravaganza I ran from Jan. 29-Feb. 18 at The Venetian® Resort Las Vegas, featuring nearly $1.5 million in guarantees, with the largest guaranteed prize pool belonging to the Card Player Poker Tour Venetian $1,600 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event.

The tournament, which marked the 14th CPPT Venetian main event, attracted a field of 458 entries, blowing away the $400,000 guarantee to create a final prize pool of $650,360.

After three starting flights and one day of combined-field action, it was Andrew Rodgers who emerged victorious with the title and the top prize of $103,936. He struck a heads-up deal with 2021 CPPT Venetian champion Ankush Mandavia to lock up the win.

“It was a chop, so I didn’t exactly get to close it out, but yeah, it feels good,” said Rodgers.

The 40-year-old poker player based out of Henderson, Nevada moved to the lower 48 from his home state of Alaska to pursue the game.

This was his largest live tournament payday, topping the $62,319 he earned for a runner-up showing in a DeepStack Extravaganza $600 buy-in event at The Venetian in 2022. He now has $598,000 in career lifetime tournament earnings.

In addition to the title and the money, Rodgers was also awarded 720 Card Player Player of the Year points for the win. This was his first POY-qualified score of the year, but this alone was enough to catapult him into 86th place in the 2024 POY standings presented by Global Poker.

This event played down to the money on each of its three starting flights, which ran from Feb. 15-17. A total of 59 players advanced to day 2, all having locked up at least $3,391.

Plenty of big names fell as day 2 marched on, including Farah Galfond (41st), bracelet winner Ryan Laplante (39th), WPT champion James Romero (35th), bracelet winner Mitch Halverson (31st), 2019 CPPT Venetian champion Valentyn Shabelnyk (29th), WPT champion Lee Markholt (19th), two-time bracelet winner Scott Ball (17th), 2022 CPPT Venetian champion and two-time bracelet winner John Riordan (16th), 2021 CPPT Venetian runner-up Anselmo Villareal (13th), bracelet winner Evan Sandberg (12th), and Aaron Massey (11th).

The final table began with reigning WPT World Championship winner Dan Sepiol in the lead, and Rodgers in seventh chip position. Edward Holstein and Dan Ciltan were the first to fall, with Rodgers scoring the knockout against Ciltan to kickstart his climb up the leaderboard.

Rodgers then made a big hero call with pocket eights on a board with two overcards facing a huge river bet from Zichuan Huang, who was one of the largest stacks at the time. That hand shot Rodgers up the leaderboard even further (and was why he ultimately chose pocket eights for his winner photo.)

Zachary Donovan was the next to hit the rail, with his A-3 suited being unable to hold up against the K-9 of Richard Collins, who began day 2 as the chip leader. Donovan earned $19,046 as the seventh-place finisher.

Jeremy Becker’s run in this event came to an end in sixth place for $24,788. He ran 10Spade Suit 8Spade Suit into the pocket jacks of Sepiol and failed to connect with a king-high runout.

The frequent Las Vegas daily tournament winner made this final table just five days after taking down a $400 buy-in event at this DeepStack Extravaganza I festival for $8,379. Three days prior to that victory, he placed fifth in the MSPT Venetian main event.

Becker is now the 13th-ranked player in the 2024 POY standings with six final-table finishes and the one POY-qualified title won already this year. He now has more than $1.1 million in recorded earnings after this latest score.

A standard race situation spelled the end of Zichuan Huang’s quest for the title. He was awarded $32,766 as the fifth-place finisher when his A-10 was unable to outrun the pocket eights of a surging Collins.

Rodgers halted that momentum a bit when he won a big pot off Collins with a rivered set of deuces to overtake the chip lead, and then pulled even further ahead when his pocket kings held up against the ADiamond Suit KClub Suit of Sepiol in a massive preflop clash.

Sepiol was soon all in with AHeart Suit 3Diamond Suit facing the pocket queens of Collins. He hit a pair of threes, but it wasn’t enough and he was eliminated in fourth place for a payout worth $43,976. Sepiol now has more than $6.9 million in lifetime earnings, with a huge chunk of that coming from his $5,282,954 win in the WPT World Championship in December of 2023.

The next big confrontation saw all the chips get in the middle after an ASpade Suit 9Heart Suit 2Spade Suit flop. Collins got all in with pocket deuces in the hole and found himself up against the 9Spade Suit 6Spade Suit of Rodgers. The 3Spade Suit gave Rodgers a flush, and the 4Club Suit river kept him ahead to send Collins to the rail with a career-best payday of $59,914.

The final two players paused the action to discuss a deal, with Rodgers holding 11,580,000 to Ankush Mandavia’s 6,755,000.

They ultimately came to an agreement that saw Rodgers secure the win and the aforementioned payout of $103,936. Mandavia earned $95,149 as the runner-up. The bracelet winner and former champion of this event now has more than $6.6 million in lifetime scores to his name. ♠

Final Table Results

Place Player Payout (POY)
1 Andrew Rodgers $103,936 (720)
2 Ankush Mandavia $95,149 (600)
3 Richard Collins $59,914 (480)
4 Daniel Sepiol $43,976 (360)
5 Zichuan Huang $32,766 (300)
6 Jeremy Becker $24,788 (240)
7 Zachary Donovan $19,046 (180)
8 Dan Ciltan $14,865 (120)
9 Edward Holstein $11,790 (60)