Russian Rinat Bogdanov has taken down the €4,950 main event at the World Poker Tour (WPT) Venice Grand Prix in the world’s oldest casino for the biggest cash prize of his career.
The financial trader picked up $302,065 for his success at the Casino di Venezia Ca Vendramin Calergi to easily surpass his previous biggest cash of $10,984 when finishing fourth in the $220 No-Limit Hold’em Rebuy event at last August’s Merit Cyprus Classic in Kyrenia.
Bogdonov’s prize from the five-day event also includes a $25,000 WPT World Championship seat at The Bellagio in Las Vegas come late May.
Having seen off four other final-table opponents, Bogdanov then overcame Italian Alessandro Longobardi in their heads-up clash to incredibly emerge victorious from his very first WPT tournament.
Alessandro Longobardi Takes Runner-Up Spot
Longobardi, of Naples, left the casino with $146,826 for his runner-up spot in a 155-player field, while another Italian, Andrea Dato, took $95,003 for third, Dane Simon Ravnsbaek exited in fourth for $69,095 and a third home player, Gianluca Trebbi, cashed for $56,134 in fifth place.
A fourth local, Andrea Carini, secured sixth place for $42,319, while the top 10 was rounded out by Californian Jason Wheeler (seventh for $33,683), Frenchman Jérémie Sochet (eighth for $25,047), the fifth Italian inside the top 10, Massimo Mosele (ninth for $18,133), and Russian Andrey Gulyy (10th for $12,954).
The exit of Dato left Longobardi and Bogdanov to fight it out for title, with the latter securing his crown after what was a rather short head-to head.
Having won a small pot from their first hand, the Russian then picked up Longobardi’s remaining chips on the very next hand when the blinds were at 40,000 and 80,000.
Bogdanov Reels Italian In with Full House
The Italian raised it to 200,000 chips to go with K♥ Q♦, only for Bogdanov to make the call while holding 6♣ 4♣. The dealer provided a Q♥ 7♦ 4♦ flop and Bogdanov check-called Longobardi’s 60,000.
The 6♠ came on the river and the Russian check-called once more when Longobardi made a bet of 240,000.
Incredibly, the 4♠ arrived on the river to give Bogdanov a full house – and he craftily checked again to prompt a 300,000 bet from Longobardi.
The Russian then made his move by chucking in the remainder of his chips, leaving Longobardi to consider his cards and chip stack before he called with two pair, queens and fours.
The Italian was certainly shocked to see Bogdanov reveal his huge hand – and that was that for Longobardi, who rose from his seat to warmly shake the hand of the latest WPT champion.
Andrea Dato Starts Final Table with Chip Lead
Dato – in his second successive WPT final table – started in pole position on almost 1.6 million chips, while Ravnsbaek held second spot on 922,000.
However, Bogdanov was an immediate danger to them both as he held 907,000 chips on the final day of the main event.
Carini started the last day fifth in chips on 343,000, but couldn’t make any real progress at his first major final table appearance and was out in sixth for $42,319 when he ran his A♦ 3♠ into Dato’s 8♣ 8♦ pre-flop.
Another Italian, Trebbi, was next out in fifth place for $56,134 when he moved all-in once too often at the final table during level 25 to see his 10♥ 7♥ dominated by the J♦ J♥ held by opponent Longobardi.
Local Gianluca Trebbi Loses Out to Longobardi
Longobardi showed his pocket jacks ahead of a Q♠ 10♣ 2♣ flop that gave Trebbi some hope with his pair of tens. However, following a nothing card of 3♠, Trebbi was gone when the 8♦ arrived on the river.
Eventual champion Bogdanov had been fairly quiet early in the final table, but then doubled-up through Dato in what was a hugely significant hand.
On the button and with the blinds at 15,000 and 30,000, chip leader Dato raised it up to 60,000, only for big blind Bogdanov to go all-in for 515,000.
The Italian thought about his next move for a short while before choosing to make the call with 2♦ 2♣. Bogdanov, who was covered by Dato, showed Q♣ 9♦ to be behind, although not that far.
Eventual Champion Doubles-Up with Queens
The flop of A♥ 5♦ 3♠ kept Dato in front, while the 3♣ changed nothing. However, Bogdanov stayed in the tournament when the Q♥ arrived on the river to take his stack to 1,065,000 while at the same time chopping Dato down to 1,470,000, although he still had the edge on second-placed Longobardi.
Immediately after that explosive hand, short stack Ravnsbaek, of Aarhus, was hitting the rail in fourth place when eliminated by Bogdanov.
The Dane, while holding 2♥ 2♦, moved all-in for approximately 15 big blinds – or about 600,000 – and was quickly called by Bogdanov, who showed 10♦ 10♠ to be way out in front.
The flop revealed A♠ 7♠ 6♦ to keep the Russian ahead, while the Q♥ on the turn and 8♠ on the river handed Bogdanov an ace-high flush that took him on to 1.8 million chips and sent Ravnsbaek crashing out.
Longobardi Takes Chip Lead
Longobardi took over as chip leader when Dato made some poor decisions with three-bets, before Bogdanov finally sent Dato to the rail in third place during level 29, when the blinds were at 40,000 and 80,000, with a 10,000 ante.
Dato, with K♠ 4♦, was the short stack when he moved all-in pre-flop and was called by Bogdanov, who revealed the dominating A♣ K♦.
Dato required an incredibly favourable flop to stay in contention for the top prize, but the A♥ Q♥ 8♠ was not it.
Now down to just a few outs, Dato – who had finished in fourth place at the WPT Venice €3,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em main event last December for $57,872 – was gone when the turn was the 3♥ and the J♠ arrived on the river.
Incredibly, Bogdanov was now the chip leader on 3,320,000 as he faced up to Longobardi, who held 1,350,000.
Of course, the Russian won their heads-up encounter in this leg of season 10 to join the likes of Gus Hansen and Phil Ivey as a WPT champion.
Marcel Bjerkmann Exits in 12th
Among the other notable in-the-cash finishers were Marcel Bjerkmann – Norway’s 2010 Amsterdam Master Classics of Poker champ and last October’s PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) winner – who took 12th place for $12,954, and 2009 November Niner and recent PokerStars Sunday Million winner James Akenhead, with the Londoner picking up $11,226 for taking 14th spot.
Lionel Tran was the unfortunate money bubble boy on Day 3, just falling short in 19th – behind Italy’s Gianluca Speranza, who picked up $9,497 for his 18th-place finish – while German Marko Neumann was sent to the rail in 13th for €8,540 and Norwegian Marcel Bjerkmann exited in 12th for €9,855.
Canadian Team Party Poker Pro Kara Scott failed to make the money down in 27th place after exiting on Day 3 – and also couldn’t claim the last woman seated spot as Italian Carla Solinas stayed alive just a short while longer to exit in 26th.
Tony G and Mike Sexton Out on Day 2
Earlier, a 2010 November Niner, Italian Filippo Candio, couldn’t maintain his good start after leading Day 1 to exit the following day, while other notable Day 2 eliminations included Benjamin Pollak, Team Party Poker Pros Tony G and Mike Sexton, Nesrine Kourdourli, Sergey Valisyev and Lock Poker Pro Elite member Melanie Weisner.
Day 1 had seen the likes of Team PokerStars Pro Arnaud Mattern, Scott Montgomery, Alessio Isaia, James Dempsey, David Nicholson and Chazz Chattha hit the rail, while other big-name pros to exit sooner than they would have hoped included Max Pescatori, John Eames, Roberto Romanello, Padraig Parkinson and Team Everest Poker Pro Fabrice Soulier.
Top 10 payouts WPT Venice Grand Prix Main Event
1. Rinat Bogdanov (Russia) – $302,065
2. Alessandro Longobardi (Italy) – $146,826
3. Andrea Dato (Italy) – $95,003
4. Simon Ravnsbaek (Denmark) – $69,095
5. Gianluca Trebbi (Italy) – $56,134
6. Andrea Carini (Italy) – $42,319
7. Jason Wheeler (USA) – $33,683
8. Jérémie Sochet (France) – $25,047
9. Massimo Mosele (Italy) – $18,133
10. Andrey Gulyy (Russia) – $12,954