Greek veteran Panayote ‘Pete’ Vilandos picked up $952,694 for winning the $5,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em event #50 at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.
The Houston-based 72-year-old was also collecting his third gold bracelet – following wins in 1995 and 2009 – after defeating Illinois’ Kyle Julius heads-up for the title that left the 25-year-old runner-up with a $589,687 consolation prize following something of a marathon tournament.
The three-day event actually carried over into a fourth day – taking in 32 60-minute levels – before Vilandos emerged victorious from a 1,001-player field at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino.
Dan Smith Out in Third Place
Three players started Day 4, with Vegas-based Dan Smith the chip leader, although he was the first to exit in third place for $368,943 after struggling to get anything going.
Smith’s final hand saw him all-in as the short stack while holding A♠ K♠ against Vilandos’ A♣ 10♥, with the former staying ahead on the 8♣ 6♥ 3♣ flop. However, Vilandos took the lead when the 10♠ came on the turn for top pair, while the 6♦ river changed nothing so saw Smith exit.
Vilandos took a healthy chip lead of 8.8 million to the 5.3 million of Julius into heads-up play and immediately put pressure on his younger opponent. In fact, the veteran quickly increased his lead through level 32 before scoring the final knockout of the event early in level 33.
20 Years, Three Titles for Champ
The final hand saw Vilandos limp in from the button, big blind Julius move all-in for about 2.1 million, and Vilandos make the call. Vilandos showed A♣ J♠ while Julius revealed A♠ 5♠ to see a flop of K♣ Q♥ 4♦. The turn provided the rivals with the 3♠ to give Julius a few more outs, but the 10♠ sealed the deal to give Vilandos his third bracelet from his 20 years of playing the WSOP.
Day 3 saw 48 players still in contention, but that was quickly reduced as the likes of Dominykas Karmazinas (48th for $17,360), Galen Hall (40th for $20,324), Brendon Rubie (36th for $24,041), Andrew Weisner (33rd for $24,041), Randy Lew (32nd for $24,041) and Alex Kravchenko (31st for $24,041) exited early on.
The middle levels also witnessed some big-name exits, including Cary Katz (29th for $24,041), Eric Cloutier (28th for $24,041), Sam Chartier (26th for $28,793), Micah Raskin (24th for $28,793), Andrew Lichtenberger (23rd for $28,793), Jeremy Ausmus (21st for $28,793), Thiago Nishijima (18th for $35,003) and Jason Wheeler (17th for $35,003).
Matt Giannetti Exits in Seventh
Later in the day, Joseph Cheong exited in 15th place for $43,095, while he was soon joined at the rail by Konstantin Puchkov (14th for $43,095), Andrea Dato (12th for $53,728), Amir Lehavot (ninth for $67,889), Tommy Vedes (eighth for $86,896), Matt Giannetti (seventh for $112,725) and Thomas Conway (sixth for $148,198).
Day 2 saw the money bubble burst, with the 303 Day 1 survivors battling it out to make at least $8,939 in 177th place. Numerous big-name pros, however, crashed out of the tournament before pocketing any dollars, including main event champs Pius Heinz (2011) and Peter Eastgate (2008), as well as Jonathan Duhamel, Jeff Lisandro, Andy Frankenberger, Jennifer Harman, Terrence Chan, Phil Hellmuth and Jackie Glazier.
Alex Gomes is Bubble Boy
The most disappointed, though, will be Brazilian star Alex Gomes, who claimed the unwanted tag of ‘bubble boy’ when exiting in 118th.
But, of course, other well-known pros did cash before hitting the rail on Day 2, including the likes of Dutch Boyd (109th for $8,939), Nam Le (103rd for $8,939), Allen Kessler (99th for $9,692), Neil Channing (97th for $9,692), Jon Aguiar (90th for $10,539), Matt Matros (79th for $11,715), Matt Brady (74th for $11,715), Brock Parker (73rd for $11,715), Will ‘The Thrill’ Failla (66th for $13,173), Ana Marquez (59th for $15,008) and JP Kelly (50th for $17,360).
WSOP 2012 Event #50 Top 10 Payouts
- Pete Vilandos (Greece) – $952,694
- Kyle Julius (USA) – $589,687
- Dan Smith (USA) – $368,943
- Kevin Schulz (USA) – $267,792
- Derek Gregory (USA) – $197,691
- Thomas Conway (USA) – $148,198
- Matt Giannetti (USA) – $112,725
- Tommy Vedes (Cyprus) – $86,896
- Amir Lehavot (Israel) – $67,889
- Erik Aude (USA) – $53,728