WPT: Sam Panzica Wins bestbet Bounty Scramble for $354,335


Sam Panzica won WPT bestbet Bounty Scramble for his third live win of 2016 (WPT photo / Joe Giron)

Sam Panzica might not be allowed to play World Series of Poker events anymore, but he can now call himself a World Poker Tour champion. Panzica beat Richard Malone Jr. heads-up and survived a final table that included former WPT winners Noah Schwartz and Tyler Patterson to win the WPT bestbet Bounty Scramble and $354,335.

Panzica was banned from all Caesars properties in 2013 after being removed from the rail by security during the 2013 November Nine. He has appealed the lifetime ban and been denied making it impossible for him to play WSOP or WSOP Circuit events at any Caesars property.

Things got chaotic on the very first hand of the final table. Malone raised to 150,000 from the button and Paul Balzano re-raised from the small blind to 380,000 and Malone called. After the Js6s4h flop, Malone called Balzano’s 300,000 bet. The turn was the Tc and Balzano moved all in for 1,180,000 and Malone deliberated before calling. Balzano showed KcKh while Malone turned over KsQc for an open-ended straight draw. The river was the 9h to give Malone his straight and send Balzano packing. That hand moved Malone, who started the day second in chips behind Panzica, into the chip lead.

Just nine hands later he picked up another big stack after eliminating the most accomplished player at the table. Action folded to Schwartz on the button and he moved all in for 870,000. Panzica folded his small blind but Malone called and tabled AhKh which had Schwartz’s KsQh dominated. The board ran out 6h5s5d2s5c to eliminate the two-time WPT champion Schwartz in fifth place and extend Malone’s chip lead.

It took a little bit longer for the next elimination, but it still came at the hands of Malone. After Malone raised to 155,000 from the button, Patterson, the defending champion and last remaining bounty in the tournament, moved all in for 860,000 from the small blind. Ankush Mandavia then came over the top for his last 2,025,000. Malone took some time to consider his action before calling. Patterson showed KhKd, Mandavia showed ThTh and Malone needed help with AsQs. The 8s4h2h flop left Patterson ahead, but the Ac turn put Malone ahead with a pair of his aces. The 5s river changed nothing and Malone eliminated two players on one hand to get heads up with Panzica.

With just two players remaining, Malone had a nearly 2-1 chip lead but over the course of 145 hands Panzica’s experience shined through and allowed him to take a commanding chip lead and eventually eliminate Malone. On the final hand of the night Panzica moved all in from the big blind and Malone called all in for 2,575,000 and tabled Ac3d. Panzica was behind with Kh9c and got no help from the 8s7d5s flop. The 9s turn changed that though and when the Kc river didn’t put Malone back out in front, Panzica had eliminated Malone to win his first WPT title and $354,335.

This win is just part of what some might describe as a breakout year for Panzica. In February he won the European Poker Tour Dublin High Roller for $418,704. He then won the Florida State Poker Championship at Pompano Beach in July for $117,282. The three victories are the only three live victories for the 24 year old poker pro.

Final Table Payouts

  1. Sam Panzica – $354,335
  2. Richard Malone Jr. – $237,616
  3. Ankush Mandavia – $152,766
  4. Tyler Patterson – $100,643
  5. Noah Schwartz – $77,499
  6. Paul Balzano – $64,183