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Valentyn Shabelnyk Wins 2019 Card Player Poker Tour Venetian Main Event

Ukrainian Poker Pro Tops Field of 160 Entries To Earn $136,080


Valentyn Shabelnyk has won the 2019 Card Player Poker Tour Venetian DeepStack Extravaganza Poker Series $3,500 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event. The 29-year-old poker pro from Kiev, Ukraine earned $136,080 after topping a field of 160 entries in this $500,000 guaranteed event. This was his second title at Venetian Las Vegas this month, having won a $100,000 guaranteed $400 buy-in tournament on December 1.

This was the largest live tournament cash in Shabelnyk’s ten years playing the game, although he has cashed for a similar amount in a major online event. In addition to the title and the money, Shabelnyk was also awarded 468 Card Player Player of the Year points as the champion of this event. The 2019 POY race is sponsored by Global Poker.

Steve SungThe third and final day of this event began with 13 players remaining and two-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Steve Sung in the chip lead. World Poker Tour Venetian champion Ben Palmer was the first player to hit the rail when his pocket fives failed to outrun the pocket sevens of Leo Song-Carrillo. Sung cracked the pocket aces of Nitis Udornpim (12th place – ($9,576) with pocket kings to extend his lead.

Shabelnyk began the day among the shorter stacks, but managed to double up early on with 10Diamond Suit9Diamond Suit beating out the ace-king of Ekrem Bozkurt. With the eliminations of World Poker Tour champion Dylan Wilkerson (11th – $9,576) and Damjan Radanov (10th – $9,576), the final table was set. Sung remained the leader, with George Wolff sitting on the second-largest stack when nine-handed action began.

Mike Shin got his last chips in with an open-ended straight draw ($12,096) up against the top set of Wolff and failed to improve, taking home $12,096 for his deep run in this event. Tanya Kirk followed him out the door after she ran top two pair into the flopped set of Bozkurt. Kirk was unable to hit the higher full house and was eliminated in eighth place ($15,120).

Leo Song-Carrillo was knocked out when his AHeart Suit8Club Suit failed to beat out the pocket tens of Jack Duong. Song-Carrillo secured $19,656 as the seventh-place finisher. Hiroaki Harada got his last chips in with pocket nines against the pocket jacks of Wolff. Harada flopped a set, but Wolff turned a higher one and held from there to send Harada home with $25,704.

Five-handed action lasted for several hours. Wolff earned his second straight knockout with pocket jacks when he picked up the big pair against the AClub SuitKClub Suit of Ekrem Bozkurt. The board brought no help for Bozkurt and he was eliminated in fifth place ($32,760).

Shabelnyk first took the chip lead during four-handed action, He won a race with ace-jack against the pocket eights of Wolff to double up and then took down a sizable pot against Sung without showdown to overtake the top spot on the leaderboard. He furthered his advantage by knocking out WSOP bracelet winner Jack Duong in fourth place ($42,840). Shabelnyk limped in from the small blind with pocket kings and quickly called the shove from Duong in the big blind. Duong’s ASpade Suit7Heart Suit couldn’t come from behind and his run in this event came to an end.

George WolffGeorge Wolff got his last chips in with pocket sixes against the pocket nines of Shabelnyk. The board was no help and Wolff was sent packing in third place. The $60,480 he earned in this event brought his year-to-date live earnings for 2019 to over $1.4 million. The 312 POY points he earned for his strong showing in this event were enough to move him into 67th place in the rankings.

With that Shabelnyk took 5,065,000 into heads-up play against Steve Sung, who sat with 1,335,000. Shabelnyk complimented the games of both of his opponents from three-handed action. He told Card Player that he offered to chop with Sung after Wolff was knocked out.

“Once we got heads-up, I asked him if he wanted to chop,” Shabelnyk said after the event was all over. “We were very deep stacked and I didn’t want to waste a lot of time. He said he would look at the [ICM] numbers, but that he would want more. As you can tell, I said, ‘no thanks.’”

Sung was able to close the gap somewhat in the early going, but Shabelnyk still held a solid advantage when the final cards were dealt. The last hand saw Shabelnyk limp in from the button. Sung raised to 200,000 and Shabelnyk called. The flop brought the ADiamond SuitJHeart Suit8Diamond Suit and Sung bet 200,000. Shabelnyk raised it to 525,000 and Sung called. The 6Heart Suit on the turn prompted Sung to move all-in. Shabelnyk snap-called with AClub SuitJClub Suit for top two pair. Sung Sung held KHeart SuitKDiamond Suit. The QClub Suit was no help for Sung, who had to settle for $85,176 as the runner-up finisher. The score brought Sung’s lifetime live earnings to more than $6.1 million.

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

Place Player Payout POY Points
1 Valentyn Shabelnyk $136,080 468
2 Steve Sung $85,176 390
3 George Wolff $60,480 312
4 Jack Duong $42,840 234
5 Ekrem Bozkurt $32,760 195
6 Hiroaki Harada $25,704 156
7 Leo Song-Carrillo $19,656 117
9 Tanya Kirk $15,120 78
9 Mike Shin $12,096 39