Ankush Mandavia has won the 2021 Card Player Poker Tour Venetian $ 2,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold 'em Main Event. The 33-year-old pro poker player from Kalamazoo, Michigan beat a field of 652 entries to secure the title and top payout of $ 260,000 after hitting an heads-up deal with Anselmo Villarreal. This was the fifth highest score in Mandavia's career, bringing his life earnings to just under $ 5.4 million.
In addition to the trophies and the money, Mandavia was named Champion of this event with 1,260 points as Card Player of the Year. This win alone was enough to catapult him into fourth place POY Race ranking.
"It's wonderful. This is actually my first tournament back," Mandavia said after he was ahead of the game. "When I registered and got a player card, they told me it was exactly a year since I did last time played here. It's a little crazy, but it feels good. "
With 652 attendees attending this event, the $ 500,000 guarantee has almost tripled. The final prize pool of $ 1,467,000 was paid out among the top 72 finishers. Only 27 players made it to the final day of the event, with Mandavia sitting in 18th place when the action resumed.
The action was quick and furious in the first few levels, with 17 eliminations in the first four hours of the day. Lots of big names hit the rails as the field was quickly narrowed down to a final table, including Justin Lapka ($ 25- $ 9,682), Scott Stewart ($ 24- $ 11,589), Frank Marasco ($ 23-11,589) and Jordan Cristos (19 – 11,589 USD)), TK Miles (17 – 11,589 USD), Stanley Lee (13 – 16,137 USD) and chip leader James Anderson (11 – 19,071 USD).
By the time the official eight-hand final table was set, Tim Capretta had worked his way into the chip lead position and Mandavia was on the next highest stack. Three-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Kristen Bicknell and World Poker Tour Main Event winner Alex Foxen, both a couple, both made the final table. This wasn't the first time the couple had accomplished this feat here at Venetian. In 2018, the two poker pros reached the final table of a $ 5,000 buy-in Mid-States Poker Tour event together, finishing first and second for a total of $ 439,000.
Qing Liu was the first to be eliminated at the final table. His pocket aces were cracked by Bicknell's pocket jacks. Liu made $ 24,939 while Bicknell climbed into the middle of the field. The seven-hand action lasted quite a while, with several short-stack double-ups along the way. Mandavia took the lead during this stretch, winning a massive pot with a flop straight against the twisted set of Capretta.
Yosif Nawabi's run in this event ended when his A.9 ran into Alex Foxen's pocket queens just moments after Foxen took a gutshot to double through Nawabi. The pair of pockets held and Nawabi was beaten in seventh place ($ 35,208).
Alex Foxen was the short stack when the next key hand showed up. With blinds of 80,000-160,000 and a big blind bet of 160,000, Foxen was the first to raise to 680,000. Capretta called from the hijack and the flop came 108th2. Foxen checked for 550,000 and Caprett called with A.J.. Foxen rolled over the J.8th for a leading pair of aft. The 10 on the turn kep him ahead, but A. on the river Capretta gave the winning hand. Foxen earned $ 45,477 for finishing sixth. The score increased his career profit to $ 17,395,831.
A preflop race determined the next player to be eliminated. Derek Gregory called all in from the big blind with a push from Kristin Bicknell from the small blind. Gregory held the Q.J.while Bicknell had 33. Gregory failed to improve and was beaten in fifth place ($ 60,147).
Kristen Bicknell climbed into the chip lead position early with four hands, while Mandavia had fallen to the bottom of the rankings. He found a pocket eights double-up against Bicknell's A-7 offsuit to get some breathing space. Bicknell, however, continued to watch her stack dwindle as the shorthanded action continued. In the end she moved all in for 55 Race against the A.K. by Anselmo Villarreal. The board came down K.637th10 and Villarreal's royal couple sent Bicknell home with $ 90,954 for their final deep run, bringing their career tournament win to $ 5,525,426.
Mandavia picked up a multi-street bluff from Villarreal to regain the lead in three-handed actions. Villarreal stayed pretty short, but was doubled through Capretta to gain a foothold again. Not long after that hand, the two clashed again. With the flop, A.ON9Capretta bet 1,000.00. Villarreal called and the turn was 3. Capretta moved all in for 3,400,000. Villarreal called and had his opponent covered by a single 25,000 tournament chip. Villareal showed Q.9 for aces and nines. Capretta had moved with K.10. The river brought the 3rd and Capretta was knocked out in third place for $ 132,030.
Villarreal went into the heads-up game with 13,855,000 to 12,225,000 from Mandavia. The two paused to discuss a deal. They eventually agreed to reallocate the remaining prize pool, with Mandavia taking home $ 260,000 while Villarrael would make $ 253,441. The two agreed to do a flip for the title, and Mandavia's 108th Knock out Villarrealls A.3. The board came down Q.7th38th10 Giving Mandavia two pairs for the win.
Here's a look at the payouts and POY Awarding points at the final table:
|1||Ankush Mandavia||$ 260,000||1,260|
|2||Anselmo Villarreal||253,441 USD||1,050|
|3||Timothy Capretta||$ 132,030||840|
|4th||Kristen Bicknell||$ 90,954||630|
|5||Derek Gregory||$ 60,147||525|
|6||Alex Foxen||$ 45,477||420|
|7th||Yosif Nawabi||$ 35,208||315|
|8th||Qing Liu||$ 24,939||210|