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Let’s Give Anthony Zinno Some Props

I don’t know what it is, exactly, but the World Poker Tour really gets very little attention in relation to its significance in the live poker tournament arena. As such, Anthony Zinno’s accomplishment over the weekend has gone largely unnoticed. Yes, he got a couple headlines on poker news sites that relay tournament news, but that’s about it. As such, I wanted to take this space to give Mr. Zinno his propers for becoming just the third poker player in World Poker Tour history to win two consecutive WPT Main Events.

Now, I suppose the accomplishment loses a little bit of its luster because he was not the first person to do it, similar to how Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, and Barry Bonds eclipsing the 60 home runs plateau in 1999 and 2001 just wasn’t as amazing as it was when Sosa and McGwire did it in 1998 (and their accomplishments have since been diminished because of performance enhancing drug use). It is still one hell of a feat, though. It is hard enough to win one major poker tournament; winning two is phenomenal. That those two were back-to-back is even cooler.

And on top of that, let’s not forget that this was Anthony Zinno’s third World Poker Tour title, tying him for the all-time lead with Gus Hansen and Carlos Mortensen. It might not have the same pizzazz as thirteen World Series of Poker bracelets, but when you have the most World Poker Tour trophies of all time, you are somebody.

Anthony Zinno Image credit: @AntZinno

Anthony Zinno
Image credit: @AntZinno

The first leg of Zinno’s recent daily double came when he won the WPT Fallsview Poker Classic in February. Next up was the WPT L.A. Poker Classic, which just finished up this past weekend. In that one, it did not look like Zinno had much of a chance for another championship, which makes his win that much more impressive. Sure, he did one hell of a job to make it to the six-handed final table, but he was way behind to start. Igor Yaroshevskyy was the chip leader going into the last day of the tournament, having amassed 5.315 million chips to that point. Mike Leah was in second with 4.715 and down in fifth was Anthony Zinno with just 1.48 million. He was unlikely to even make it to heads-up, let alone win the damn thing.

It took Zinno a while to get going – his chip stack even fell under a million chips at one point – but he doubled up to over 2 million not long after he hit his low point and then knocked Peter Neff out in fifth to get up to 2.8 million. That’s about as high as Zinno got for a while, though, as he fell back down below 2 million. He was back in business just before the 100th hand, doubling up to over 4 million chips. He even climbed to over 5 million, but it wasn’t to last, as he again dropped under a million chips.

Going into three-handed play, Zinno was once again way behind with just 1.64 million chips compared to Leah’s 9.08 million and Chris Klodnicki’s 5.415 million. But Zinno is a champion for a reason and kept on, eventually taking over and going into heads-up play against Leah with more than a 2-to-1 chip lead. And as much of an uphill battle it was for Anthony Zinno at the final table, he ended the match in just a dozen hands. Helped that he had pocket Aces in the final hand.

Unfortunately (or fortunately for the other players), Zinno will not be the first player to go back-to-back-to-back on the World Poker Tour, as he has been eliminated at the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star.

As already mentioned, Anthony Zinno was the third player to win two consecutive World Poker Tour events. The first one to stamp his name in the WPT history books was Marvin Rettenmaier, who won the season-ending WPT World Championship in May 2012 and then the season-opening WPT Merit Cyprus Classic in August of that year.

You had to figure someone would match that someday, but you also had to figure that it would be a long, long time before that happened. It wasn’t. Just this past September, Darren Elias won the WPT Borgata Open and followed it up the next month by winning the WPT Caribbean. He was the second player to win back-to-back titles, but he was the very first to do so in a single World Poker Tour season. I suppose the distinction means something.

We don’t normally do tournament recaps here on Flushdraw, but I thought Anthony Zinno’s accomplishment was worth noting. Congratulations, Mr. Zinno. Keep winning all those monies.

*Tournament information courtesy WPT.com.

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