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Poker Player Honors His Late Grandfather With Tournament Win

Zachary Donovan Took Down The 2019 WSOP Circuit Seminole Casino Coconut Creek Main Event Just Days After His Grandfather's Passing


Zachary Donovan has won the 2019 World Series of Poker Circuit Seminole Casino Coconut Creek $1,700 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event. The 31-year-old poker pro from Franklin, Massachusetts outlasted a field of 805 total entries to capture his second career WSOPC gold ring and the first-place prize of $243,916.

Donovan was also awarded 912 Card Player Player of the Year points for the win, enough to see him climb into 44th place in the overall POY race standings for 2019.

Unfortunately for Donovan and his family, the circumstances that led to his playing in this event are quite sad. Donovan made the trip to South Florida in order to spend time with his ailing grandfather, keeping open the possibility of playing in this tournament if his grandfather’s health improved.

However, his grandfather’s condition deteriorated rapidly and he ultimately passed away on Friday, Feb. 15. Donovan had intended to stay with his relatives in their time of mourning, but they convinced him to participate the event, saying that his grandfather was a big supporter of his poker career and would have wanted him to play.

“It was nice I got to say my goodbyes to him. Our whole family got to say our goodbyes to him,” Donovan told WSOP reporters after coming out on top. “I guess he was with me the whole time. We won.”

Donovan made the final day of this event in second chip position with 15 players remaining. He continued to thrive as the field was steadily narrowed down to a final table of nine, with 2018 WSOP ladies event champion Jessica Dawley sitting at the bottom of the leaderboard. She went on to finish in eighth place for $29,014.

Donovan didn’t score his first knockout at the final table until he picked up pocket kings and moved all-in over the top of Warren Sheaves’ raise. Sheaves called with the AClub SuitQHeart Suit. He failed to improve and was eliminated in fifth place ($62,406).

Donovan next knocked out 2008 WSOP $1,500 no-limit hold’em shootout champion Jason Young, calling his shove from the button with ASpade SuitQDiamond Suit. He was in a dominant position against Young’s AClub Suit10Diamond Suit, and sent him to the rail with $110,859 as the third-place finisher when neither player improved.

Donovan took a neary 3:1 chip lead into heads-up play against Sokchheka Pho, who Pho managed to fight his way back into contention. Pho even took the lead at one point, but made two pair against Donovan’s straight to lose a big pot and relinquish the advantage.

In the final hand, Pho got his last seven big blinds in preflop with the ADiamond SuitKSpade Suit. Donovan called with the JHeart Suit7Heart Suit. The board ran out JClub Suit8Heart Suit5Heart Suit7Spade SuitJDiamond Suit to give Donovan a full house and the pot. Pho took home $150,374 as the runner-up finisher.

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

Place Player Earnings (USD) POY Points
1 Zachary Donovan $243,916 912
2 Sokchheka Pho $150,374 760
3 Jason Young $110,859 608
4 Hamid Izadi $82,626 456
5 Warren Sheaves $62,406 380
6 Chad Eveslage $47,746 304
7 Jack Shea $36,990 228
8 Jessica Dawley $29,014 152
9 Mike Azzaro $23,038 76

Photo couretsy of WSOP.