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Craig Varnell Wins 2018 World Series of Poker $565 Pot-Limit Omaha

Poker Pro Overcomes 2,419-Entry Field To Win His First Bracelet


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Craig Varnell has won the 2018 World Series of Poker $565 pot-limit Omaha event, defeating a massive field of 2,419 entries to win his first gold bracelet and the top prize of $181,790. This was the 35-year-old poker pro’s third final-table finish at the WSOP.

“It felt good to finally close one out,” Varnell told WSOP reporters after coming out on top. “I almost didn’t play this event. But when I did, and I got a stack, I had a big advantage over the other players.”

Varnell was awarded 540 Card Player Player of the Year points as the winner of this tournament. This was just his first POY-qualified score of the year, so it was only enough to see him move into 535th place in the overall Player of the Year standings, which are presented in 2018 by Global Poker.

Jonathan DuhamelVarnell came into the final table in second chip position behind Maxime Heroux, with 2010 WSOP main event winner Jonathan Duhamel close on his heels. Varnell ended up eliminating Duhamel in sixth place ($33,477) to secure the chip lead. He took a dominant lead after eliminating Heroux in fourth place ($60,190), entering three-handed action with just over 75 percent of the chips in play.

Varnell knocked out Omar Mehmood in third place ($81,852) to take more than a 6-to-1 lead into heads-up play against Seth Zimmerman. The amateur player from New York fought back into the match, winning a few key pots and finding a big double to take the lead. His ascendancy was short-lived, though, as Varnell won a huge all-in pot with a straight up against Zimmerman’s flopped set. With that Varnell took more than a 9-to-1 advantage.

In the final hand Varnell raised to 480,000 from the button, Zimmerman made a pot-sized three-bet to 1,440,000 and Varnell four-bet enough to put his opponent all-in. Zimmerman called with ADiamond SuitKHeart SuitQDiamond Suit4Heart Suit and found himself up against Varnell’s KDiamond SuitJClub Suit9Spade Suit5Spade Suit. The board ran out QSpade SuitJHeart Suit3Diamond Suit6Spade Suit9Diamond Suit to give Varnell two pair for the win. Zimmerman was sent home with $112,347 as the second-place finisher.

Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table:

Place Player Earnings (USD) POY Points
1 Craig Varnell $181,790 540
2 Seth Zimmerman $112,347 450
3 Omar Mehmood $81,852 360
4 Maxime Heroux $60,190 270
5 Christopher Trang $44,677 225
6 Jonathan Duhamel $33,477 180
7 Shaome Yang $25,325 135
8 Jason Lipiner $19,344 90
9 Ilian Li $14,920 45

For more coverage from the summer series, visit the 2018 WSOP landing page complete with a full schedule, news, player interviews and event recaps.