Benjamin Juhasz, Zhen Cai Ride Final Table Chip Leads to PGT PLO Series II Victory

The PokerGO Tour’s PLO Series II is nearing its final events, but only after capping off some dominant performances on Saturday and Sunday. In both Event #7, a $10,000 PLO tournament, and Event #8, the $10,000 PLO Hi/Lo tournament, the player who arrived at the final table with the chip lead won the event. It also pushed Event #7 champion Benjamin Juhasz and Event #8 winner Zhen Cai deep into contention for the Player of the Series trophy and $25,000 bonus.

Finish what you started…

Benjamin Juhasz had already won money twice in the PLO Series II schedule, but he had not yet tasted the nectar of victory. He was well prepared to do just that in Event No. 7, holding a slight lead over Finland’s Joni Jounkimainen at the start of Saturday’s final table. Juhasz had a mission from the start and, after gathering some ammo, was able to defeat the other members of the final table.

Juhasz got things started by eliminating Matthew Wantman in sixth place after Wantman failed to catch a flush against Juhasz’s flopped two pair. From there, Juhasz eliminated fifth-place Zhen Cai, fourth-place PLO Series II champion Joao Simao and third-place Jounkimainen to go into heads-up play with a nearly 10-1 lead over Jim Collopy. With such a huge lead, it wouldn’t take long for Juhasz to get the job done – and he only needed one hand to do it.

Immediately after Jounkimainen’s departure, Collopy bet 300K and Juhasz called to see a 10-7-5 flop. Juhasz immediately applied pressure with a pot bet that required Collopy to call all-in, and the cards were revealed:

Collopy: KJ-9-8 (open straight draw with two overcards)
Juhasz: Q-10-2-2 (flopped pair)

There were a lot of cards that Juhasz needed to hide, and that’s exactly what he did. A three of a kind on the turn and an ace on the river did nothing to improve Collopy’s holding, giving Juhasz the check mark and the championship:

1. Benjamin Juhasz (Hungary), $206,400 (206 points)
2. Jim Collopy (USA), $141,900 (142)
3. Joni Jounkimainen (Finland), $107,500 (108)
4. Joao Simao (Brazil), $86,000 (86)
5. Zhen Cai (USA), $68,800 (69)
6. Matthew Wantman (USA), $51,600 (52)

At Event #8, the $10,000 PLO Hi/Lo tournament, Cai took his observation of Juhasz’s efforts during the final table run and put it to good use. Cai was the player who brought the chip lead into the final table and he was a dominant player. Cai’s four opponents – Ryan Rapaski (1.325 million), Jesse Lonis (1.24 million), Nick Schulman (1.16 million) and Adam Hendrix (1.02 million) – were placed behind Cai’s 2.135 million stack. Just like Juhasz, Cai was a one-man team on the way to the title.

Cai would edge out Hendrix in fifth and Lonis in third, leaving Rapaski to defeat Schulman in fourth to enter heads-up play with a chip lead of 5.425 million to 1.45 million. From there, Cai took TWO hands to eliminate Rapaski, making a full house with his 8-8-5-3 against Rapaski’s A-10-9-2 on a Q-9-3-3-5 board, which secured him the championship of Event #8:

1. Zhen Cai (USA), $176,000 (176 points)
2. Ryan Rapaski (USA), $115,500 (116)
3. Jesse Lonis (USA), $77,000 (77)
4. Nick Schulman (USA), $55,000 (55)
5. Adam Hendrix (USA), 44,000 (44)

Simao stays ahead of the overall championship and heads to the championship event

In the race for the PGT PLO Series II overall championship, Joao Simao used a championship win and multiple prize money to build up a nice points tally in the race. Heading into the Event #9 $25,000 Championship Event, Simao has amassed 341 points, but he’s not running away from the race. Yockey’s money in Event #8, just ahead of Simao, allowed him to post another 33 points, bringing his total to 283 points, placing him in second place just behind Jim Collopy’s 287 points. Here’s how the top five line up at the start of the championship event:

1. Joao Simao, 341 points
2. Jim Collopy, 287
3. Bryce Yockey, 283
4. Benjamin Juhasz, 275
5. Adam Hendrix, 270

The first day of the $25,000 PLO Championship event is currently underway and it’s shaping up to be a massive event. At the time of going to press, there are 72 entries in the books and subsequent registration is still ongoing. Before we find out who the overall winner of PGT PLO Series II will be, it depends on how many players receive a payday from the Event #9 Bounty – and which players earn that money.

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