It has been a busy summer for poker players with a host of huge live poker tournaments running in and around Las Vegas. The 2021 WPTDeepStacks Venetian $2 Million GTD Main Event was the latest event to crown a champion. Running as part of the DeepStack Championship Poker Series at the Venetian, the $2,400 entry buy-in event drew 1,512 entries across three starting flights, collecting a guarantee-smashing $3.288 Million prize pool. In the end, walking away with the lion’s share of the prize pool was Albert Knafo who defeated Steven Sarmiento heads-up to win a hefty $532,395 top prize and a $3,000 WPTDeepStacks Championship package that was added for the winner.
The final day began with 29 players remaining and Shawn Daniels in the lead. Now living in Los Angeles, Netanya, Israel-born Knafo began seventh in chips but survived a roller-coaster ride to enter the FT fourth in chips. He outlasted the likes of the start-of-day chip leader Daniels and four-time bracelet winner Elezra and finally ran past Sarmiento in the heads-up to win the title.
This was his first major live title and his career best score. His previous best cash came in the recent Mid-States Poker Tour Venetian $1,100 buy-in event in June where he finished third for $177,695.
Final Table Action
Belgium’s Thomas Boivin was the first player to be eliminated from the final table, with Marc Bernal (eighth), Shawn Daniels (seventh) and Eli Elezra (sixth) following him to the rail. It was during the five-handed play that the eventual champion Knafo became active and scored a much-needed double-up before busting James Gilbert in the fifth place.
Later, Steven Sarmiento bested Doug Lada’s pocket sevens after his ace-queen improved to trip aces on the river. Lada exited in fourth place. Following him was Austin Srur who was left with only seven big blinds and got it in with king-jack. Knafo made the call with king-queen and hit a flush, ending Srur’s run in third place.
Finally, it came to heads-up with Sarmiento holding 28,050,000 vs. Knafo’s 17,350,000. The two traded the lead a few times before it eventually ended with the latter winning the coveted title.
The final hand saw Sarmiento holding Qh Qc against Jc 10c. The board ran out Qs 9h 6d 2s 8s. Sarmiento flopped a set but Knafo got a queen-high straight to win the tournament.
Final Table Payouts (USD)
- Albert Knafo – $532,395*
- Steven Sarmiento – $383,595
- Austin Srur – $249,375
- Doug Lada – $185,275
- James Gilbert – $139,180
- Eli Elezra – $112,235
- Shawn R. Daniels – $91,865
- Marc Bernal – $72,350
- Thomas Boivin – $54,280