The Battle of the Benjamins. It sounds like a minor subplot in one of the Game of Thrones books, like the time a young Ned Stark proved his prowess during the Battle of the Benjamins, which settled a long running feud between clashing factions in the North. Ah, this wasn't a George R. R. Martin fantasy. Then again, the poker world can be as dreamlike and medieval as anything I've ever witnessed in my surreal life.
The Battle of the Benjamins occurred on the Strip at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas. Which of the Benjamins would become the World Series of Poker Circuit champion at Planet Ho? The main event started with 610 runners and only two were left remaining. Both were named Benjamin. On one corner of the battlefield stood Benjamin Palmer. On the other, was bracelet winner Benjamin Zamani. Unfortunately for Palmer, he was severely outchipped 20 to 1. When the dust settled after a single hand, Zamani emerged as the victor. He got to fondle the stacks of cash and hoist a new piece of bling over his head for the poker paparazzi to see.
This year's WSOP Circuit at Planet Ho attracted 610 runners. The prize pool was $915,000 for this $500K guaranteed event. Only the Top 63 players were paid out. Dylan Wilkerson bubbled the final table in tenth place.
The final table at Planet Ho featured November Niner Joe Cheong. Also advancing to the final nine were Stephen Nussrallah, Hanl Mlekoday, Jesse Yaginuma, Aaron McEvoy, Scott Powrie, Barry Hutter, Ben Palmer, and of course... Ben Zamani.
Stephen Nussrallah was the first player to exit the final table. The ringer headed to the rail in eighth place. Joe Cheong banked nearly $22.5K for his efforts. Bracelet winner Barry Hutter busted in third place, which set up the heads-up bout between the two Benjamins.
There was a huge pay jump between first and second place, so almost $74K was on the line in this heads-up affair. Both the top spots would walk away with at least six figures in winnings.
Not the ideal spot for Palmer trailing 20-1 in chips. Who knows what could have happened if he had more ammo. Palmer was no slouch himself and the Florida cardslinger was closing in on $2 million in career earnings. His two biggest cashes and only other six-figure scores occurred in Vegas. He won a $5K event at the Bellagio for nearly $200K back in 2008 and came close to winning his first bracelet at the WSOP in 2013 with a third-place finish in a $2,500 NL event.
Zamani won the Battle of the Benjamins. Palmer banked nearly $119K for a runner-up finish. Not too shabby, eh?
Zamani won $192K and added another six-figure score to his growing list of accolades. The Planet Ho score was his tenth score that was at least $100,000 or more. Zamani now has approximately $4.75 million in career earnings with his largest cash to date occurring in the Bahamas when he final tabled the 2010 PCA and took fourth place for a cool $1 million.
Among the others who cashed in this event at Planet Ho... Matt Berkey, Eddy Sabbat, Valentin Cornicu, Tony Marquez, Thu Nguyen, Tim Reilly, Sang Lee, Jared Jaffe, Brett Murray, Ness Reilly, James Hoeppner, Eric Baldwin, Ben Jones, and Nathan Pfluger.
2018 WSOP Circuit Planet Hollywood
Prize Pool: $915,000
Final Table Results:
1. Benjamin Zamani $192,152
2. Ben Palmer $118,849
3. Barry Hutter $86,907
4. Scott Powrie $64,489
5. Aaron McEvoy $48,522
6. Jesse Yaginuma $37,012
7. Hank Mlekoday $28,621
8. Joe Cheong $22,436
9. Stephen Nussrallah $17,824